14.30 LAGURUS L.
Gordon C. Tucker

Plants annual; tufted. Culms 6–80 cm, erect or ascending, pilose or villous. Leaves pilose or villous; sheaths open nearly to the base; auricles absent; ligules truncate, erose, ciliate, abaxial surfaces densely pubescent; blades flat at maturity, convolute in the bud. Inflorescences terminal panicles, dense, ovoid. Spikelets laterally compressed, with 1 floret; rachillas prolonged beyond the base of the floret, pubescent; disarticulation above the glumes, beneath the floret. Glumes 2, equal, exceeding the florets, lanceolate, membranous, pilose, hairs 2–3 mm, 1-veined, veins acuminate and awned, awns pilose; calluses blunt, pubescent; lemmas lanceolate, pilose or scabridulous, 3-veined, 3-awned, apices bifid, lateral veins extending as slender awns, not twisted below, central awn arising from the distal 1/3 of the lemma, twisted below; paleas nearly as long as the lemmas, veins scabridulous, extending as awnlike points; lodicules 2, narrowly elliptic, glabrous, apices minutely bilobed; anthers 3; ovaries glabrous; styles fused or separate. Caryopses stipitate, subterete, ellipsoid; hila 1/5–1/4 as long as the caryopses, ovate. x = 7. Name from the Greek lagos, ‘hare’, and oura, ‘tail’, in reference to the densely pilose inflorescences.

Lagurus is a unispecific genus endemic to the Mediterranean region. Lagurus ovatus has been introduced in North America, as well as South America, southern Africa, and Australia. It is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental, and the dried culms are used in floral arrangements.

SELECTED REFERENCES Messeri, A. 1942. Studio sistematico e fitogeografico di Lagurus ovatus L. Nuovo Giorn. Bot. Ital., n.s., 49:133–204; Vergagno Gambi, O. 1965. Osservazioni sullo sviluppo di Lagurus ovatus L. Giorn. Bot. Ital. 72:243–254.

1. Lagurus ovatus L. [p. 669]
Haretail Grass

Culms (6)10–50(80) cm. Sheaths (0.5)2–8 cm, inflated, ribbed; ligules 1–1.7(3) mm; blades 2–6(10) cm long, 2.5–10 mm wide. Panicles 1.5–3 cm long, 1–2 cm wide; branches softly pilose, hairs white, about 0.4 mm, awns and glume veins sometimes purplish; pedicels 0.4–1(2) mm, pilose. Glumes (5.5)7–10 mm, awns 1.5–3 mm; rachillas prolonged 0.7–1.4 mm; calluses hairy, hairs to 0.8 mm; lemmas 3.5–4.5 mm, lateral awns 1–2(6) mm, central awns (8)12–22 mm; paleas 3–4 mm; anthers 1.4–2.2 mm. Caryopses 2–2.5 mm. 2n = 14.

Lagurus ovatus grows in disturbed sites in full sun. It is a waif, or sparingly naturalized, in North Carolina and western Florida; it is established and plentiful in central California. It may not have persisted at the other sites shown. The earliest collection from the United States was made in California in 1903. It is an attractive species and is sometimes grown as an ornamental.

Natural populations of Lagurus ovatus in southern Europe contain both tall and short plants, flowering at about the same time. Protracted germination, followed by simultaneous floral induction at a 12–16 hour photoperiod, leads to the apparent “dimorphism”. Plants are quite uniform in height when grown under controlled conditions indoors (Vergagno Gambi 1965).