Common Name: ryegrass, annual (Italian ryegrass)
Species: Lolium multiflorum Lam.
Bayer Code: LOLMU

Annual ryegrass, also referred to as Italian ryegrass, is a bunch-type grass that can be used as a nurse crop for quick cover or for winter overseeding of bermudagrass on low maintenance athletic fields or golf courses. It does not possess the quality of perennial ryegrass and is not recommended for sites where high quality turf is desired. However, it is very inexpensive and can be used on low profile fields such as school, park or recreation sites where winter color is desirable. Its seedhead can be confused with that of quackgrass. Annual ryegrass does not have rhizomes, whereas quackgrass does. Annual ryegrass can be easily confused with tall fescue. However, tall fescue has rough leaf blade margins on the lower 1/3 - 1/2 of the leaf whereas annual ryegrass has smooth ones. Tall fescue has non-clasping auricles, whereas annual ryegrass has clasping auricles. The backside of the tall fescue leaf blade is less glossy than that of annual ryegrass.
annual ryegrass
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annual ryegrass seedhead
annual ryegrass seedhead
annual ryegrass seedhead
annual ryegrass seedhead
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CharacteristicTypeDescription
Seedhead / Flower spikea spike, with spikelets along the main stem
Vernation Type rolledleaves rolled in the bud
Ligule Type membranousblunt, 0.04 - 0.08 inches (1 - 2 mm) long
Growth Season / Life Cycle cool season turf OR winter annual weed 
Auricle Type claw-likepointed or blunt or claw-like, clasping
Leaf Blade Tip Shape sharp-pointedbright green, upper surface dull, deeply ridged, lower surface smooth, glossy and slightly creased, edges smooth
Leaf Blade Width medium, 0.1 - 0.2 in OR broad, greater than 0.2 in0.1 - 0.28 inches (3 - 7 mm) wide
Stolon Presence absent 
Rhizome Presence absent 
Collar Type continuousindistinct, not hairy
Sheath Margin split with overlapping margins 
Sheath Type roundpinkish at base