Phalaris canariensis

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Group: Monocot Family: Poaceae Duration: Annual Growth Habit: Graminoid

Common names: Canaria, Scagliola, Alpiste, Canary Grass, Bird seed.

Flowering occurs in May to Mid-June or August, often times going even later into the cold season. The large, coarse grass has erect stems, usually from .6-1.8 meters tall. Plants have a rather shallow, running root system and form an impenetrable ground cover. The gradually tapering leaf blades are 8.9-25.4cm long, .6-1.9cm wide, flat, and often harsh on both surfaces. Flower/inflorescences are green or slightly purple at first then become tan. Seeds are shiny brown, largest of any Phalaris spp. Tolerant of most conditions dry or wet, cultivated in California to Mexico and other regions in Europe and the Middle East for food generally sold on the market as 'Alpiste' or 'Canary Seed'. The seed is used as bird food, and is generally mixed with rapeseed and seeds that cheapen it. Industrially, a flour made from seed is employed in the manufacture of fine cotton goods and silk stuffs. In the Canary Islands, Italy and North Africa, it is used commonly as food. There is potential as biofuel for an environmentally sound replacement of oil, this is a similar case with Arundo Donax, Phalaris Arundinacea and Phragmites Australis. Considered the commercial variety of Phalaris Brachystachys.

Two Italian Researchers, Festi and Samorini detected N,N Dimethyltryptamine(DMT), 5-Methoxy-N,N Dimethyltryptamine(5-MeO-DMT), and 5-Hydroxy-N,N Dimethyltryptamine(5-OH-DMT or Bufotenine) in varying concentrations in this particular grass in 1994.

G. Adam and H.J. Duncan 1999. Effects of Diesel Fuel on Growth of Selected Plant Species. Env. Geochemistry and Health 21: 353-357

M. Angels Bonet and Joan Valles. Pharmaceutical Ethnobotany in the Montseny biosphere reserve(Catalonia, Iberian Peninsula) General Results and new or rarely reported medicinal plants. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 2003. 55. 259-270

F. Festi and G. Samorini. 'Ayahuasca-like' effects obtained with Italian plants. Communication presented at the 2nd international congress for study of the modified states of consciousness. 3-7 October 1994.