Phleum pratense L.
Syn.: Phleum nodosum L.
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
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Major cool-season, short-lived perennial bunchgrass, valuable in cool humid
regions for pasture, but most important for hay. Palatable and nutritious,
probably the most important hay species in the United States, being more
nutritious when cut in early bloom stage (Reed, 1976). The stem inhibits the
growth of Sphacelia segetum (C.S.I.R., 19481976). Has been grown for
the extraction of chlorophyll.
Stored sterile timothy extracts arrested the growth of Sarcoma 45 and other
Per 100 g, the young green forage is reported to contain 76.1 g H2O, 4.7 g
protein, 0.9 g fat, 11.1 g carbohydrate, 4.6 g fiber, 2.6 g ash, 140 mg Ca, 90
mg P, and 56 mg K. Timothy proteins are rich in tryptophane, lysine, and
valine. The herb contains phlein, and several organic acids, oxalic, acetic,
cactic, succinicic, malic, cumaric, and probably chelidonic. Roots and
stembases contain monosaccharides, saccharose, fructose, and starch (List and
Two allergins producing strong skin reactions and a hemaglutinating action have
been isolated from timothy pollen. The pollen contains several
flavonol-glycosides, among them dactylin (isorhamnetin-31,4-diglucoside).
Loose to densely tufted, rather short-lived perennial; culms smooth, 40150 cm
tall, stiffly erect or ascending, bent from a bulbous base to form large
clumps; basal nodes generally very short, swollen or bulbous; leaf-blades
elongate, flat, 1030 cm long, 58 mm broad, saber-shaped, tapering to a very
thin point; top leaf-blade shorter than the other leaves and extending sharply
upward, with a longer clinging leaf-sheath; seed-heads bristly, cylindrical,
very dense, large, 412.5 cm long, 0.6 cm in diameter; spikelets crowded,
flattened, covered with stiff hairs; glumes about 3.5 mm long, truncate with a
short awn 1 mm long, pectinate-ciliate on the keel; 1 or 2 lower internodes
becoming swollen into 'bulbs' or 'corms' which store some carbohydrates until
plant blooms; root system fibrous and rather shallow, not spreading laterally.
Fl. summer and fall. Seeds 2,000,000 to 2,712,150/kg (Reed, 1976).
Reported from the Eurosiberian Center of Diversity, timothy, or cvs thereof, is
reported to tolerate disease, frost, low pH, mine, mycobacteria, rust, virus,
weeds, and waterlog (Duke, 1978). It cannot tolerate drought. Timothy has
many variations based on growth habit, leaf and stem characters, head type,
earliness, longevity, winter-hardiness, glume size, and pollen fertility.
'Astra', developed in Sweden, similar to 'Climax', (in Ontario, average yields
are slightly below those of 'Climax') good resistance to disease and
winterkilling; 'Climax', developed in Ontario, tall, fine-stemmed, leafy,
aftergrowth excellent in good fertility conditions, highly resistant to rust;
'Welch', a pasture strain imported in United States from Great Britain;
'Bounty', developed in Ontario, tall, maturing 710 days later than 'Climax',
stems larger and leaves broader; 'Huron', developed in Ohio, 6 days later in
blooming and maturing seed than common; 'Itasca', developed in Minnesota, rank
growing, well-adapted to Minnesota conditions, superior in growth habit and
characteristics to common; 'Lorain', developed in Ohio, 1012 days later than
common, adapted for hay production in northern Ohio; 'Medon', developed in
Ontario, leafy, winter-hardy, well-adapted in Ontario; 'Marietta', developed in
Ohio, blooms and matures about 5 days before common, well-adapted to southern
Ohio; 'Milton', developed in Quebec, fairly rust resistant, winter-hardy, early
maturing, vigorous; 'Swallow', developed in Alberta, hay type, good rust
resistance and winter hardiness; 'Verdant' (Reg. No. 4) developed in Wisconsin,
late-maturing, hay type, moderately coarse, good tolerance to stem rust and
leaf streak, vigorous, stiff strawed. Many other cvs developed in various
countries for specific ecological conditions. Cultivars cannot be grown too
far from areas of adaptation (Reed, 1976). (2n = 42.)
A native Eurasian plant, but now widely distributed throughout the temperate
regions of the world; cultivated as far north as the Arctic Circle (Reed, 1976).
Ranging from Boreal Moist to Rain throught Subtropical Dry Forest Life Zones,
timothy is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 3.5 to 17.6 dm (mean of
64 cases = 8.3), annual temperature of 4.4 to 18.6°C (mean of 64 cases =
8.7), and pH of 4.5 to 7.8 (mean of 59 cases = 6.2) (Duke, 1978, 1979).
Adapted to cool, humid, temperate climate, growing best on rather heavy, deep
and moist or even wet soils. Yields lower on light dry soils and sands.
Optimum temperature for growing 18.3°21.6°C varying with day/night
temperatures of 15°/10°C and 21°/15°C (Reed, 1976).
Reproduces by seeds and plants do not spread vegetatively or from a sod. Seed
yields are large and establishment is rapid and easy. Average seeding rate
713 kg/ha; when planted with clovers, 614 kg/ha. In New Zealand, seed rate
35 kg/ha drilled, and in Switzerland, 20 kg/ha broadcast or 810 kg/ha
drilled. Row spacing 3040 cm. For hay it should be sown with red clover,
alsike clover, or with alfalfa in 34-year leys. Combines well with
Dactylis glomerata on drier soils and with Festuca pratensis on
more moist soils. New shoots develop from buds at base of culms below the
haplocorm and from these shoots new culms arise and develop new haplocorms as
the old ones die. Timothy gives excellent response to nitrogen and phosphate
fertilizers; 3060 kg/ha in Germany; 100200 kg/ha elsewhere; lime and P2O5
applied in New Zealand. In United States and Canada, grass/clover mixture
normally sown under spring-sown cereal (barley), gives some autumn grazing;
then it is cut annually for hay, although the aftermath (mainly clover) may be
grazed also. In United States, winter cereal is sown to timothy in autumn;
clovers are then broadcast into the stand in early spring (Reed, 1976).
Timothy is cut for hay in early flower stage (or before flowering [C.S.I.R.,
19481976]), after which the quality decreases rapidly without much increase in
yield. Early cutting increases yield of aftermath and stimulates increase in
yield. Hay meadows require heavy fertilizer dressings for maximum production.
Phosphate and potash stimulates clovers; where clovers are few, nitrogen gives
large increases in yields. First growth is frequently harvested for hay or
silage and the aftermath pastured. Growth begins early in spring and continues
throughout summer, if soil moisture is adequate. Winter-hardy, but not under
close, continuous grazing. Seeds ripe when tops of inflorescences shatter,
usually cut with binder and stacked (Reed, 1976).
Seed yields of 600 kg/ha are reported (Duke, 1978). Seed yields in New Zealand
about 250 kg/ha; in Europe, 300600 kg/ha; in Portugal, 120180 kg/ha (Reed
1976). "It gives a large yield of about 980 kg/ha WM." (C.S.I.R., 19481976).
Not very large. With 60 kg N/ha, timothy and clover mixturers have yielded 9.4
MT DM/ha in Russia (Kadziulis, 1974). Sown alone, it yielded 4.9 MT/DM/ha in
Italy (Cenci and Pagiotti, 1979). Through-out the area of its adaptation,
grown exclusively either alone or in mixtures with alfalfa and clovers. An
important crop in Scandinavia, Canada, northeastern United States, and the
Pacific Coast United States. A common constituent of pastures on moist heavy
soils (Reed, 1976).
According to the phytomass files (Duke, 1981b), annual productivity ranges from
2 to 15 MT/ha, with 1015 MT/ha resorted in Belgium, 2 in Bulgaria, 611 in
Czechoslovakia, 13 in France, 14 in Germany, 11 in Jamaica, 11 in Poland, 5 in
US, and 2 in USSR (Duke, 1981b).
Timothy is attacked by many fungi, including the following: Ascochyta
phleina, Balansia strangulans, Cercospora, graminicola, Chaetomium globosum,
Cladochytrium gerhardti, Cladosporium graminum, C. herbarum, C. phlei-pratense,
Claviceps microcephala, C. purpurea, Colletotrichum graminicola, Dematium
hispidulum, Diaporthe radicina (D. arctii), Dilophospora alopecuri, Entyloma
crastophilum, E. dactylidis, Epichloe typhina, Erysiphe graminis f.
phlei, Fusarium acuminatum, F. avenaceum, F. equiseti, F. heterosporum, F.
poae, F. solani, F. scirpi var. acuminatum, Gibberella saubinetii,
Helminthosproium dictyoides and var. phlei, H. giganteum, H. sativum,
Hendersonia crastophila, Heterosporium phlei, Gloeosporium bolleyi,
Lophodermium arundinaceum var. gramineum, L. phlei, Marssonina
graminicola, Mastigosporium album, Mycosphaerella lineolata, Pellicularia
filamentosa, Phaeosphaeria herpotrichoides, Phoma terestris, Phyllachora
graminis, Puccinia coronifera f. alopecuri, P. graminis, P.
phlei-pratensis, P. poarum, Pyrenochaeta terrestris, Pythium arrhenomanes
var. canadense, P. debaryanum, P. graminicola, Rhynchosporium secalis,
Sclerophthora macrospora, Sclerotinia borealis, S. graminicola, Scolecotrichum
graminis, Selenophoma donacis var. stomaticola, Septogloeum oxysporum,
Septoria alopecuri, S. graminum, S. oxysporum, S. phleina, Sporotrichum poae,
Stagonospora subseriata, Tilletia paradoxa, Typhula idahoensis, T. itoana,T.
trifolii, Urocystis agropyri, Uromyces phlei-michelli, U. phlei-pratensis,
Ustilago striiformis, Vermicularia culmigera. It is also attacked by the
bacteria Xanthomonas translucens f. sp. phlei-pratensis and var.
cerealis. Nematodes isolated from timothy include the following:
Anguina sp., Criconemella lobata, Ditylenchus dipsaci,
Helicotylenchus pseudorobustus, Heterodera avenae, Meloidogyne hapla,
Pratylenchus neglectus, P. penetrans, P. pratensis, Subanguina radicola,
Tylencholaimellus striatus, Tylenchorhynchus maximus, Tylenchus hordei, T.
phalaridis, and T. tritici (Golden, p.c. 1984).
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- Cenci, C.A. and Pagiotti, R. 1979. Evaluation by grazing of Phleum
pratense and Hordeum bulbosum L. ecotypes. Ann. Fac. Agr., Univ.
Degl Studi Perugia 33:707726.
- 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.
- List, P.H. and Horhammer, L. 19691979. Hager's handbuch der pharmazeutischen
praxis. vols 26. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
- Reed, C.F. 1976. Information summaries on 1000 economic plants. Typescripts
submitted to the USDA.
Last update Wednesday, January 7, 1998 by aw