Secale* Sp. Pl. 84 (1753).
Derivation:. Classical Latin name for rye or spelt.
Key references (keys and floras):. C.A.Gardner, Flora of Western Australia 1 Gramineae 195–197 (1952); B.K.Simon, Key to Australian Grasses 155 (1993); S.W.L.Jacobs and K.L.McClay, Flora of New South Wales 4: 600 (1993); J.P.Jessop, Flora of South Australia 4: 1886 (1986); N.G.Walsh, Flora of Victoria 2: 519–520 (1994); D.I.Morris, Student's Flora of Tasmania 4B: 302–303 (1994); E.Edgar and H.E.Connor, Flora of New Zealand 5: 410–411 (2000); D.Sharp and B.K.Simon, AusGrass (2002); J.P.Jessop, Grasses of South Australia 273–275 (2006); S.W.L.Jacobs, R.D.B.Whalley & D.J.B.Wheeler, Grasses of New South Wales, 4th ed, 366 (2008); A.Wilson (ed.), Flora of Australia 44A: Poaceae 2: 104–105 (2009).
W.D.Clayton & S.A.Renvoize, Genera Graminum (1986), genus (240).
Naturalised. 5 species, from Mediterranean, eastern Europe to central Asia, and South Africa. 1 species in Australia, WA, SA, NSW, Vic, and Tas. Also New Zealand.
Habit. Annual (rarely perennial), tufted (or the culms solitary). Leaf blades broad or narrow. Ligule an unfringed membrane.
Inflorescence. Inflorescence a single spike (laterally compressed, distichous). Spikelet-bearing axes disarticulating at joints.
Spikelets. Spikelets laterally compressed, solitary, sessile (with broad side facing axis); with naked rachilla extension. Fertile spikelets laterally compressed, falling with glumes (and the joint) or not disarticulating (in cultivated forms).
Glumes. Glumes unequal to more or less equal, shorter than adjacent lemmas, acuminate to awned, keeled (sharply keeled to base), similar (membranous). Lower glume 1 nerved. Upper glume 1 nerved.
Florets. Fertile florets 2–3. Lemmas lanceolate, tapered to the awn, less firm than glumes to similar in texture to glumes, entire at apex, pointed, awned, 5 nerved, with nerves non-confluent, 1 keeled (the keel with rigid, pectinate cilia). Awns 1, apical, non-geniculate, hairless (scabrid), much longer than body of lemma. Palea relatively long, apically notched, 2 nerved, 2 keeled. Distal incomplete florets 1, underdeveloped. Callus very short. Lodicules 2. Ovary hairy. Stamens 3. Stigmas 2. Grain medium sized to large, ellipsoid, slightly compressed dorsiventrally to terete, with hairs confined to a terminal tuft. Hilum long-linear. Embryo large to small (to 1/3 the length of the grain). Endosperm hard.
2n = 14, 2 ploid, commonly adventive.
Habitat. Mesophytic, xerophytic. Sandy soils and dry hillsides. Species of open habitats.
Classification. Pooideae; Triticeae.
Types Species. S. cereale L.
Biogeographic Element. Clifford & Simon 1981, Simon & Jacobs 1990: Naturalised.