Phalaris aquatica

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General Plant Info

Phalaris aquatica, syn. P. tuberosa, known by the common names Bulbous canarygrass and Harding grass, is a species of grass in the genus Phalaris of the Poaceae Family.

It is slow to develop from seed, but can form large bunches after several years. Phalaris arundinacea ('Reed canary grass') differs from Harding grass in having more distinct rhizomes and an inflorescence that is compact at first but later becomes more open as the branches spread. Hybrids of Harding grass and reed canary grass have been produced. Varieties include 'AQ1', 'Uneta', and 'Australis'. Toxicity

Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked): Angiosperms (unranked): Monocots (unranked): Commelinids Order: Poales Family: Poaceae Genus: Phalaris Species: P. aquatica Binomial name Phalaris aquatica L.

Geographic Distribution


It is an erect, waist-high, stout perennial bunch grass with grayish to bluish green leaves. Flowering heads are dense, spike-like, and usually two to five inches long. Spikelets homogamous borne singly, all fertile. Plants perennial. Panicle spiciform 5-15cm long, not expanding at anthesis; basal internodes sub-bulbous; glumes winged.

species not to be confused for Phalaris Aquatica: Anthoxanthum Odaratum(Sweet Vernal Grass), Holcus Lanatus(Yorkshire Fog Grass), H. Mollis(Creeping Fog), H. Setiger, Setaria Apiculata(Pigeon Grass), S. Apiculata(Italian Millet), S. Verticillata(Bristly Foxtail), S. Viridis(Green Pigeon Grass).

Alkaloid content

Some Phalaris species contain gramine, which can cause brain damage, other organ damage, central nervous system damage and death in sheep. Leaves and seedlings contain the tryptamine hallucinogens DMT, 5-MeO-DMT and related compounds.[4] A raw, dried plant Phalaris aquatica contains approximately 0.1% DMT, 0.022% 5-MeO-DMT, and 0.005% bufotenin.A particular strain of P. aquatica from Italy, labeled 'AQ-1', was reported to contain in excess of 1.0% alkaloid concentration.


Other uses





Invasive species Harding Grass is an invasive species in grassland, oak woodland, and chaparral, and riparian habitats. The California native grasses in rangelands and native grasslands are affected.