Fact Sheets


Lolium persicum Boiss. & Hohen.

Family :

Famille :


Synonym(s) :

Synonyme(s) :

Common Name(s) :

Nom(s) commun(s) :

Persian darnel
(English) (GC 2016)

Ivraie de Perse (French) (GC 2016)

Persian ryegrass (English) (USDA-ARS 2021)

Ou hei mai cao(欧黑麦草) (Chinese) (eFloras 2021)

  • Persian darnel (Lolium persicum) florets

  • Persian darnel (Lolium persicum) florets

  • Persian darnel (Lolium persicum) floret, palea view

  • Persian darnel (Lolium persicum) floret, lemma view

  • Persian darnel (Lolium persicum) floret, palea view

  • Persian darnel (Lolium persicum) floret, lemma view

  • Persian darnel (Lolium persicum) the granular surface of the floret, lemma view

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Regulation :

Remarques Réglementation:

  • CFIA Weed Seeds Order - Class 3: Secondary Noxious Weed Seeds

Regulation Notes:

Distribution :

Répartition :

Native to temperate Asia and southern tropical Asia (USDA-ARS 2021). In the United States, it is widespread in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming (Barkworth et al. 2007). In Canada, L. persicum occurs in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan (Brouillet et al. 2010+).

Habitat and Crop Association :

Habitat et Cultures Associées :

Cultivated fields (especially spring cereals), gardens, railway lines, roadsides and disturbed areas (Darbyshire 2003; Holman et al. 2004).

Economic Use, cultivation area, and Weed Association :

Utilisation économique, zone de culture et association de mauvaises herbes :

Duration of Life Cycle :

Durée du cycle vital:


Dispersal Unit Type :

Type d’unité de dispersion :


General Information


Lolium persicum was commonly misidentified as L. temulentum, L. rigidum and L. multiflorum when it was first collected in North Dakota in the early 1900’s (Dore 1950). Since then, it has spread throughout Triticum aestivum subsp. aestivum (wheat) growing areas in Canada and the United States in commercial seed and feed grain (Dore 1950).




  • Spikelet


    • Spikelet length: 9.0 – 27.0 mm long; 1.5 – 7.0 mm wide (Barkworth et al. 2007)


    • Spikelet is wedge-shaped

    Surface Texture

    • Spikelet surface is granular textured


    • Spikelet is shiny straw yellow

    Other Features

    • Spikelet has 4-9 florets (Barkworth et al. 2007)
  • Floret


    • Floret length*: 7.9 – 11.2 mm; width: 1.8 – 2.4 mm
    *Note: minimum and maximum of 10 florets in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)


    • Floret is oblong shaped, compressed in 3 dimensions

    Surface Texture

    • Floret surface is granular textured


    • Floret is shiny straw-yellow

    Other Features

    Lemma awn

    • Awn length: 8.0 -18.0 mm (Barkworth et al. 2007)
    • Awns often broken or removed during processing

    Callus and Rachilla

    • Rachilla is straight-sided, flat, and generally held close to the palea

    Other Features

    • Palea edge with numerous thin, short teeth
  • Caryopsis


    • Caryopsis length: 4.8 – 7.0 mm; width: 1.2 – 2.0 mm (Barkworth et al. 2007)


    • Caryopsis oblong shaped with a groove on the side with the hilum

    Surface Texture

    • Caryopsis surface is wrinkled with ridged grid reticulation visible under high magnification


    • Caryopsis is reddish brown, can have purple patches

    Other Features

    • Caryopsis has a long, linear, black hilum in a groove on the side of the caryopsis opposite the embryo
  • Embryo


    • Embryo is a rudimentary size compared to the caryopsis


    • Embryo is oval shaped, lateral position at one end of the caryopsis


    • Endosperm is hard and white coloured

    Other Features

    • The hilum is a black coloured line, situated in a groove on the opposite side of the embryo

Identification Tips


The oblong shape, straw yellow colour, granular texture and flat rachillas of Lolium persicum florets look similar to L. multiflorum and L. perenne, but L. persicum florets are larger, with smaller palea teeth and a longer lemma awn compared to other Lolium species.

Additional Botany Information


Similar Species


Similar species are based on a study of seed morphology of various species, and those with similar dispersal units are identified. The study is limited by physical specimen and literature availability at the time of examination, and possibly impacted by the subjectivity of the authors based on their knowledge and experience. Providing similar species information for seed identification is to make users aware of similarities that could possibly result in misidentification.

Lolium multiflorum Lam. (annual ryegrass )

L. multiflorum florets are smaller (length*: 4.0 – 8.2 mm; width: 1.0 – 2.0 mm, Barkworth et al. 2007), the lemma can be curved away from the palea, and the rachilla can bend away from the palea compared to L. persicum florets with a flat lemma and lemma pressed close to the palea. The palea teeth of L. multiforum are generally larger than L. persicum.

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Barkworth, M. E., Capels, K. M., Long, S., Anderton, L. K. and Piep, M. B., (eds.) 2007. Volume 24. Magnoliophyta: Commelinidae (in part): Poaceae, part 1. Oxford University Press, New York, New York.

Brouillet, L., Coursol, F., Meades, S.J., Favreau, M., Anions, M., Bélisle, P. and Desmet, P. 2010+. VASCAN, the database of vascular plants of Canada. http://data.canadensys.net/vascan/ Accessed April 1, 2021.

Darbyshire, S. J. 2003. Inventory of Canadian Agricultural Weeds. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Branch. Ottawa, ON.

Dore, W.G. 1950. Persian darnel in Canada. Scientific Agriculture 30: 157 – 164.

eFloras. 2021. Electronic Floras. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA., http://www.efloras.org Accessed April 1, 2021.

Flora of North America (FNA) Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico [Online]. 22+ vols. New York and Oxford.  Accessed December 29, 2022.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Secretariat. 2022. https://doi.org/10.15468/39omei Accessed via https://www.gbif.org/species/2706225 Accessed December 29, 2022.

Government of Canada (GC). 2016. Canadian Weed Seeds Order. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2016-93/page-2.html (English) https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/fra/reglements/DORS-2016-93/page-2.html (French)

Holman, J. D., Bussan, A. J., Maxwell, B. D., Miller, P. R. and Mickelson, J. A. 2004. Spring wheat, canola and sunflower response to Persian darnel (Lolium persicum) interference. Weed Technology 18: 509-520.

International Seed Morphology Association (ISMA). 2020. Method for Seed Size Measurement. Version 1.0. ISMA Publication Guide.

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Services (USDA-ARS). 2021. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx Accessed April 1, 2021.



Jennifer Neudorf, Angela Salzl, Ruojing Wang, Karen Castro, Katrina Entwistle
Canadian Food Inspection Agency