Darnel, or Lolium, L. a native genus of plants producing four species, namely :
1. The perenne, or Red Darnel, or Ray-grass, which grows on road sides and dry pastures •, it attains the height of two feet, and flowers in June. As it makes good hay upon dry, chalky, or sandy soils, it deserves to be cultivated, especially with clover : It springs earlier than the other grasses; thus supplying food for cattle, at a season when it is most difficult to be obtained. Rut, though it is eagerly eaten when young, it is too dry and hard when converted into hay, by itself. Mr. Swayne hints in his "Gramma Pascua" (a most valuable publication for practical farmers, who wish to obtain a complete knowledge of the different pasture-grasses); that the common cultivated ray-grass had probably, by frequent sowing, degenerated from its natural qualities, and that it was in many respects inferior to that growing naturally in our best meadows and pastures. Mr. Pacey, an enlightened agriculturist, has lately raised a variety of ray-grass from seeds collected in old pastures, and has now multiplied it to such extent, as to sell annually a considerable quantity at the price of 10s. 6d. per bushel. It has, by the most competent judges, been proved to be infinitely superior to the cultivated ray-grass, and he has sufficient demand for his whole produce. - The red darnel is eaten by cows, horses, and sheep; but goats do not relish it.
2. The temulentum, or Bearded Daniel, a poisonous plant, which grows in ploughed lands among wheat, rye, oats, but chiefly among barley and flax. It flowers in July and August. - LinnAEus observes, that the seeds of this plant, when mixed with bread-corn, produce but little effect, unless the bread be eaten hot; but if malted with barley, the beer becomes more intoxicating ; and we may add, the drinking of it is attended with temporary blindness. According to the corresponding account of va-rious authors, the bread made of corn abounding with these seeds, and eaten frequently, produces giddiness, anxiety, vomiting, purging, violent colics, convulsions, palsy, delirium, and death. Hence this plant ought to be carefully extirpated, by weeding", before it runs to seed. - Sheep are not fond of it.
3. The arvense, or White Darnel, or annual Beardless Darnel, which flowers in July, and is not frequent in fields. It is, however, sometimes very injurious to a wheat-crop, but may be easily avoided, by previously separating it from the seed.
4. The bromoides, or Drank; wild Oat-grass ; or Sea Darnel. It grows on loose sands, near the sea coasts, and flowers in Mayor June. - Both the last mentioned species are not possessed of any peculiar properties.