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Phalaris (grass)

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Various species of Phalaris grow on every continent except Antarctica. Found in a broad range of habitats from below sea level to thousands of feet above sea level and from wet marshy areas to dry areas. P. arundinacea and P. aquatica are sometimes invasive species in wetlands.


Some Phalaris species contain gramine, which can cause brain damage, other organ damage, central nervous system damage and death in sheep.[1]

Phalaris arundinacea and Phalaris aquatica, as well as Phalaris brachystachys, are known to contain the alkaloids N,N-DMT , 5-MeO-DMT, and 5-OH-DMT.

Some research has been done into the variability of alkaloids in the Phalaris grasses. Strains with high levels of alkaloids are best avoided in locations with grazing cattle and sheep, due to potential toxicity. Such high-alkaloid strains include Phalaris Aquatica AQ-1 and the species Phalaris brachystachys. Seasonal and weather patterns also appear to affect alkaloid concentration, as most toxicity occurs in autumn and in times of drought. Regrowth after grazing or mowing also shows a considerable increase in alkaloids.

Phalaris Species Known to Contain Alkaloids
Total Alkaloids (Dried)
Phalaris aquatica
Phalaris arundinacea
Phalaris brachystachys
Aerial parts up to 3%

None of the above alkaloids are said to have been found in P. californica, P. canariensis, P. minor and hybrids of P. arundinacea together with P. aquatica.[2]


Used in dried flower arrangements. Phalaris canariensis is commonly used for bird seed.


Species include:

  • Phalaris amethystina Trin.
  • Phalaris angusta - timothy canarygrass
  • Phalaris aquatica - bulbous canarygrass, Harding grass, Hardinggrass, =Phalaris tuberosa
  • Phalaris arundinacea - reed canary grass, reed canarygrass
  • Phalaris brachystachys - shortspike canarygrass
  • Phalaris californic'a - California canarygrass
  • Phalaris canariensis - annual canarygrass, common canary grass, common canarygrass
  • Phalaris caroliniana - Carolina canarygrass, "maygrass"
  • Phalaris coerulescens - sunolgrass
  • Phalaris commutata
  • Phalaris elongata Braun-Blanq.
  • Phalaris lemmonii - Lemmon's canarygrass
  • Phalaris mino'r - canarygrass, littleseed canarygrass
  • Phalaris paradoxa - hood canarygrass
  • Phalaris platensis Henrard ex Wacht.
  • Phalaris truncata Guss. ex Bertol.


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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Phalaris (grass). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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