This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
Cockspur Grass is found in fields and waste places in S. England, on damp and waste cultivated ground. The plant has the grass habit. The stems are stout and ascending. The leaves are flat, smooth, the edges rough, wavy. There is no ligule. The flowers are in a panicle, with the branches more or less all on one side. The rachis is 3-angled, downy. The flower-stalk is hairy. The spikes are i-flowered, alternate or opposite, the spikelets close, dark-purplish. They are plano-convex, greenish, the upper empty glume is hairy, pointed, or with a rigid awn. The flowering glume is polished. The plant is 9-24 in. high, flowering' from July to September, and is a herbaceous annual.
In the British Isles this plant is only a casual, found in waste places. The plant has the grass habit. The stems are more or less erect, roughish above. The leaves are flat, smooth, rough at the border. The sheaths are smooth, the margin fringed with hairs, with a ring of hairs at the mouth. The panicle is spike-like, green, with branches in whorls, hairy, 3-sided. The bristles are wavy, purplish, clustered, rough, the teeth directed forwards. The spikelets are blunt, elliptic. The empty glumes are membranous, the flowering glumes shining, furrowed, dotted. The plant is 9-18 in. high, flowering from June to September, and is a herbaceous annual.
This plant is a weed of cultivated and waste ground. The panicles are spike-like, the involucral bristles have ascending teeth, and the palea is transversely rough. The plant is 9-18 in. high, flowering- from June to September, and is a herbaceous annual.
This species is found in cultivated fields. The habit is as in 5. viridis. The panicle is narrower, spike-like. The bristles are barbed, single or paired, the teeth turned down. The lower palea is smooth. The plant is 9-18 in. high, flowering from June to September, and is a herbaceous annual.
Canary grass is found in fields and waste places. The stem is erect, roughish, with a compound terminal panicle. The leaves are flat, the upper sheaths enlarged. The ligule is large. The flowers are in an ovoid or more or less cylindrical spikelike panicle, which is pale-green. The spikelets are rounded. The empty glumes are membranous, acute, with broad, entire wings, a green keel, 2 nerves, and are stout, pale-yellow, variegated with green lines. The flowering glumes are shorter, silky, with obscure nerves. There are 2 rudimentary florets or scales, lance-shaped, acute, half as long as the fertile flowers. The plant is 1-2 ft., flowering from June to September, and is a herbaceous annual.
This plant is a casual introduced with Turkish barley. The stem bears a single head. The plant is more slender than the common Canary Grass. The panicle is longer, narrower, with smaller, more numerous florets, and with a narrower, toothed keel to the glume. The panicle is cylindrical to oblong, spike-like. The glumes have the keel winged above, the wing toothed near the tip. There is 1 rudimentary floret, narrow, downy, one-third as long as the fertile florets. The lower palea is downy, enclosing the upper, which is narrower and shorter, with a fringe of hairs on the keel. The plant is 1-3 ft. high, flowering in June and July, and is a herbaceous annual.