Lolium perenne L.
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
An important cool-season bunchgrass, widely used in mixtures for pasture,
lawns, hay and erosion control. Particularly important for medium to long-
grazing leys and permanent pastures. Although nutritious and palatable, hay is
only moderate in quality. Widely cultivated for perennial winter pasture. Not
recommended alone for lawngrass.
Casually used in folk remedies for cancer, diarrhea, hemorrhage (Duke and Wain,
1981), and malaria (List and Horhammer, 19691979).
The green grass contains 26.6% DM, hence 73.4% H2O, 3.0% CP, 1.3% fat, 6.7%
fiber, 13.2% NFE, 2.4% ash (Ca, 0.12%; P, 0.07%; K, 0.51%). The hay contains
12% H2O, 88% DM, 9.2% protein, 3.1% fat, 24.2% fiber, 43.4% NFE, 8.1% ash. The
seed contains 87.0% DM, 13.0% H2O, 2.1% fat, 8.9% fiber, 62.4% NFE, and 4.2%
ash. The grass is a good source of carotene (4.8 mg/100 g). It contains free
fructose, fructosan, mannitol, a complex mixture of oligosaccharides; oxalic-,
citric-, malic-, and shikimic- acids, glycerides, and a wax containing
hexacosanol (C.S.I.R., 19481976). Seeds, comparable to oats in nutritive
value, contain a prolamine and a gluten similar to wheat gluten.
Three alkaloids are reported. Peroline (C40H34O7N4). The major alkaloid is
mildly toxic to mice and may induce facial eczema in cattle which ingest it.
Perlolidine (C25H18O2N4) and a liquid base, C6H7N, are also reported (C.S.I.R.,
19481976). The grass may be quite toxic when ergotized. Perhaps
weekly estrogenic (C.S.I.R., 19481976; List and Horhammer, 19691979).
Perennial, 890 cm tall; loose to densely tufted, short-lived, glabrous,
forming dense tufts when grazed; culms erect, spreading, decumbent or rarely
prostrate, sometimes rooting at lowest nodes, slender, usually with 24 nodes
below spike; basal leaf-sheaths, green, reddish, purplish, often straw-colored
in age; upper sheaths commonly green, glabrous; leaf-blades folded in young
shoots; mature blades acute, attenuate, or somewhat rounded at apices, usually
less than 14 (-30) cm long, 16 mm broad, many-nerved (usually about 20),
glabrous and shiny below, glabrous above, margins glabrous to scaberulous;
ligules rounded to truncate or erose, up to 2.5 mm long; auricles present or
absent, minute, up to 3 mm long; spikes straight or slightly curved, 331 cm
long, bearing 537 spikelets; rachis slender, often flexuous, about 0.62.5 mm
thick at nodes; spikelets lying against concavities of rachis, 522 mm long,
17 mm broad, containing 59 fertile and none to 1 rudimentary florets;
rachilla segments somewhat flattened, usually 0.72.0 mm long; glumes
lanceolate or narrow-oblong, rounded on backs, thin or thickened, acute or
obtuse, 3- to 9- nerved, 3.515 mm long, 0.71.5 mm broad, glabrous; lemmas
oblong or ovate, rounded on backs, obtuse, acute, slightly bifid, or erose at
hyaline aspices, 3- to 5-nerved, 3.59 mm long, 0.82 mm broad, glabrous or
glabrate; awns usually absent, or 8 mm long, subterminal; paleas similar to
lemmas in size and shape, up to 1 mm shorter than to slightly longer than
lemmas, acute or obtuse; keels with minute teeth; anthers linear, 2.04.2 mm
long, 0.30.7 mm broad, yellow, whitish or purplish; mature caryopses 2.95.5
mm long, 0.71.5 mm broad. Seeds 440,000585,000/kg.
Reported from the Eurosiberian and Mediterranean Centers of Diversity,
perennial ryegrass, or cvs thereof, has been reported to tolerate aluminum,
bacteria, disease, drought, frost, fungi, grazing, herbicides, high pH, low pH,
minespoil, rust, salt, slope, SO2, smut, and viruses (Duke, 1978). Many cvs
have been developed by selection of individual plants, clones and families for
specific purposes, such as for lawns, pastures and hay. Forms with the
inflorescence branched or with proliferating spikelets sometimes occur.
Lolium perenne x L. multiflorum, a short-rotation rye-grass,
2n = 14, forms natural hybrids readily. Also it hybridizes with
Festuca pratense Huds. as Festulolium loliaceum (Huds.) P.
Fourn., a natural hybrid frequent in old pastures in England. Many cvs have
been developed; some are the following: 'Barenza', developed in Holland is very
late heading, good tillering, high-yielding, diploid, good persistence and
winter hardiness; used in many countries for pasture, athletic fields and
course turf. 'Linn', developed in Oregon, one of the best Oregon perennial
types, with good seed yield; 'Manhattan' (Reg. No. 18), developed in New
Jersey, is leafy, late-flowering, persistent, turf-type, producing good
density; 'Massa', developed in Holland, late-heading, rust-resistant,
tetraploid, erect in habit, dark green, providing abundant growth and very good
regrowth, not suitable for lawns; 'NK Experimental K9-124', 'NK-100' and
'NK-101', produced by Northrup, King & Co. in Minnesota, all improved cvs
for winter persistence and rust resistance. 'Norlea' developed in Ontario, has
good winter hardiness, considerably outyields other cvs in forage and seed
production, useful as turf grass, susceptible to leaf-rust in some areas;
'Petra', 'Reveille' and 'Taptoe', developed in Netherlands, adapted to pasture
and hay, mainly developed tetraploid types, with good rust resistance and
winter hardiness; 'S-23', 'S-24', 'S-101', developed in England, mainly used
for pastures and hay, can stand grazing. 'NZ H-1' ryegrass, persistent and
suitable for short-rotation grazing leys (23 years), very palatable,
long-growing season, makes considerable growth during winter in New Zealand,
and is also included in mixtures for permanent or long-rotation pastures to
increase production during the first two seasons. (2n = 14)
Native to temperate southern Europe, North Africa and temperate southwest Asia.
Introduced in North America, South America, New Zealand and Australia, becoming
naturalized in waste places and cultivated fields. On all continents and many
Adapted to mild, humid temperate climate. Less drought resistant than
Dactylis glomerata and less cold-resistant than Phleum pratense.
Grows best on rather heavy, rich, moist soils, but does well on
well-manured lighter soils with sufficient moisture, pH 67. Medium salt
tolerance. Reported from Boreal Moist to Wet through Subtropical Thorn to
Moist Forest Life Zone, perennial ryegrass tolerates annual precipitation of
2.117.6 dm (mean of 81 = 8.2), annual temperature of 4.323.7°C (mean of 81
= 11.4), and pH of 4.58.2 (mean of 72 = 6.3) (Duke, 1978, 1979).
Propagated by seed. For long rotation or permanent pastures, best to use
long-lived pasture strains. Short-lived strains possibly never productive in
first years and tend to die out, permitting invasion by weeds and low-producing
grasses. Seed from old permanent grassland consists mostly of long-lived leafy
types, and can be used in place of the bred pasture strains. Seeding rate
varies with the area, climate and purpose for which used. In New Zealand, rate
2030 kg/ha broadcast; in Europe, 1020 kg/ha drilled, 620 kg/ha broadcast; in
United States 2025 kg/ha broadcast. Seed rate in combination with clovers
1228 kg/ha. Optimum temperature for germination 2030°C, with prechilling
of seed at 3.510°C. Row spacing 2060 cm. Responds well to fertilizers:
in United States, 40100 kg/ha N; in Europe, 100130 kg/ha N; in New Zealand,
P2O5 and Ca added at sowing time plus 200300 kg/ha N. Plants are vigorous,
rapidly establishing grass; combines particularly well with white clover. Apt
to crowd out other more slowly developing grasses, such as meadow fescue,
before they become established.
Tolerates heavy grazing, but does not persist in meadows cut regularly for hay.
Growth starts early in spring and remains green through summer if moisture is
favorable. Pasture-hay strains start later and are heavier in tillering, more
persistent and much more leafy than commercial, producing good aftermath after
Average seed yields 400/kg/ha in New Zealand; 350600 kg/ha in England;
7001000 kg/ha in United States and Netherlands. An important pasture, hay and
turfgrass, widely used in many parts of the temperate regions of the United
States, New Zealand, and Australia.
Duke (1981b) cites biomass yields of 525 MT/ha/yr, 810 in Australia, 811 in
Belgium, 2025 in Czechoslovakia, 13 in Germany, 10 in New Zealand, 14 in
Poland, 17 in Romania, 515 in UK, and 810 in USSR. In United Kingdom, apart
from timber, whose productivity is quite well known, perennial rye grasses,
lucerne and clover may be considered as herbaceous perennial energy crops. In
the absence of definitive yield information an average yield of 17.5
MT/DM/ha/yr and an energy content of 17.5 GJ/MT and a harvesting cost of $75
per hectare are assumed (Palz and Chartier, 1980).
Fungi reported as attacking this grass include the following: Alternaria
tenuis, Ascochyta graminicola var. brachypodii, A. lolii, Chaetomium
globosum, Ch. indicum, Claviceps microcephala, C. purpurea, Colletotrichum
graminicola, Corticium fuciforme, Didymella exitialis, Diplodinia lolii,
Erysiphe graminis, Fusarium acuminatum, F. avanaceum, F. culmorum, F. equiseti,
F. roseum forma cerealis, Gibberella zeae, Gloeotinia temulenta,
Griphosphaeria nivalis, Helminthosporium sativum, H. siccans, Hendersonia
culmicola, Leptosphaeria culmorum, Ovularia lolii, Ligniera pilorum,
Mycosphaerella loliaceae, Phialea mucosa, Ph. temulenta, Puccinia coronata, P.
coronifera, P. glumarum, P. graminis and vars., P. lolina, P.
rubigo-vera, Pyrenophora lolii, Rhizoctonia solani, Rhynchosporium orthosporum,
Rh. secalis, Sclerotinia borealis, Scolecotrichum graminis, Septoria agropyri,
S. tritici var. lolii, Sorosporium lolii, Stromatinia temulenta,
Tilletia levis, T. lolii, T striaeformis, T tritici, Urocystis bolivari,
Ustilago bromivora, U. striiformis. It is also attacked by the bacterium
Pseudomonas coronafaciens var. atropurpurea and by the parasitic
flowering plant Cuscuta pentagona. Nematodes isolated from this grass
include the following: Ditylenchus radicicola, Heterodera avenae, H. major,
H. bifenestra, Meloidogyne javanica, M. naasi, Pratylenchus penetrans, P.
pratensis P. zeae, Rotylenchus goodeyi, Tylencholaimus brevicaudatus, T.
proximus and T. stecki.
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- C.S.I.R. (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research). 19481976. The wealth
of India. 11 vols. New Delhi.
- Duke, J.A. 1978. The quest for tolerant germplasm. p. 161. In: ASA Special
Symposium 32, Crop tolerance to suboptimal land conditions. Am. Soc. Agron.
- Duke, J.A. 1979. Ecosystematic data on economic plants. Quart. J. Crude Drug
- Duke, J.A. 1981b. The gene revolution. Paper 1. p. 89150. In: Office of
Technology Assessment, Background papers for innovative biological technologies
for lesser developed countries. USGPO. Washington.
- Duke, J.A. and Wain, K.K. 1981. Medicinal plants of the world. Computer index
with more than 85,000 entries. 3 vols.
- List, P.H. and Horhammer, L. 19691979. Hager's handbuch der pharmazeutischen
praxis. vols 26. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
- Palz, W. and Chartier, P. (eds.). 1980. Energy from biomass in Europe. Applied
Science Publishers Ltd., London.
Last update Wednesday, January 7, 1998 by aw