This section is from the book "Wayside And Woodland Blossoms", by Edward Step. Also available from Amazon: Wayside And Woodland Blossoms: A Guide To British Wild-Flowers.
Timothy is one of the most valuable of our grasses, and forms an important portion of the hay crop, from the fact that it is one of the earliest and most abundant species. The inflorescence is a crowded spike, reminding one somewhat of a miniature reproduction of the Reed-mace (Typha). The spikelets are one-flowered. The outer glumes are boat-shaped, with a stout green keel, fringed with stiff hairs. The flowering glume is glassy, and entirely included within the outer ones, from which, however, the long stamens and feathery stigmas protrude. The anthers are yellow and purple. The plant is perennial, and flowers from June to September. The name Phleum is the classic Greek one for the plant. The figure represents the spike after the anthers have passed their prime; at an earlier period these stand out well from the glumes, and give a very light appearance to the spike. There are three other native species, but they are all more or less local.
Phleum pratense. Anthoxanthum odoratum.
- Gramineae. -
- Boragineae. The Sweet Vernal-grass is singular among grasses in the fact that it possesses but two stamens. The panicle is spikelike, with short branches. The spikelets are one-flowered. The outer glumes are four in number, one flowering glume, a pale, but no lodicules. In the Linnaean system plants were classified according to the number of their stamens and pistils, and the artificiality of it was strikingly shown when this plant had to be widely separated from all other grasses, because it was one stamen short, though agreeing with them in all other essentials. The species is abundant in most meadows, and were it absent one of the charms of the hay harvest would be gone also; for this is the grass that gives the characteristic odour to ripe new-mown hay. It flowers in May and June. The name is from two Greek words, signifying yellow blossoms