Phalaris paradoxa L.

Paradoxical Canary-grass

Sp. Pl., edn 2, 2: 1665 (1763) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Tufted annual, stems erect, to 90 cm high. Leaves glabrous; blade minutely scabrous, to 15 cm long and 9 mm wide; upper sheath usually inflated; ligule obtuse, membranous, 3–5 mm long. Panicle dense, cylindric, sometimes tapered toward the base, 3–10 cm long; fertile spikelets 5–8 mm long; glumes 3-nerved, equal, acuminate, the wing on the keel often ending in an acute point; sterile lemmas minute (c. 0.3 mm) and scale-like; fertile lemma lanceolate, 2.5–3.5 mm long, virtually glabrous; sterile spikelets distinctly smaller than fertile ones, occasionally reduced to mere swellings at the ends of the pedicels. Flowers Nov.–Feb.

*CVU, *GipP, *Glep, *Gold, *GGr, *HNF, *LoM, *MuF, *MuM, *MSB, *NIS, *RobP, *VRiv, *VVP, *Wim. Naturalized in all States except ACT and NT. Native to the Mediterranean region and south-western Europe, naturalised in e.g. Britain, southern Africa, the Americas. Occasionally grown for fodder, and a weed in irrigated and seasonally wet areas.

Specimens with extremely reduced or deformed club-shaped sterile spikelets are often referred to var. praemorsa Coss. & Dur., but as both deformed and normal sterile spikelets may be found in the same inflorescence and in varying proportions within the same population, this varietal name would appear to be unnecessary.

Source: Walsh, N.G. (1994). Poaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-01-24
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Poales
family Poaceae
genus Phalaris
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Phalaris paradoxa in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Phalaris paradoxa in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present naturalised
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Glenelg Plain present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Scroll Belt present naturalised
Robinvale Plains present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Greater Grampians present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present introduced

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory