Mouse tail Phleum pratense L. - Forage crops - Herbaceous crops

Mouse tail Phleum pratense L. - Forage crops - Herbaceous crops

Family: Poaceae or Gramineae or Graminaceae
Species: Phleum pratense L.
Other vulgar names: Codina, Fleolo, Erba timotea

French: Fléole des prés; English: Timothy, Cats-tail; Spanish: Cola de topo; German: Timothe, Wiesenlieschgras.

Origin and diffusion

Phleum pratense L. (Mouse tail) is a spontaneous species in almost all of Europe and now widespread all over the world.

Mouse Tail - Phleum pratense L.

Botanical characters

Phleum pratense is a perennial, tall (80-140 cm) plant characterized by a superficial root system and by little tightened tufts with short rhizomes, with erect stems equipped with a basal bulb, elongated and slightly spiraled leaves, glaucous in color , with little marked ribs, with white ligula and without ears. The inflorescence is a spiciform, cylindrical panniculus, composed of numerous uniflore spikelets, with very small globose seeds (1,000 seeds = 0.4 g).

Environmental needs and cultivation technique

Phleum pratense plays a very important role for fodder production in cold and mountain areas, especially alpine ones. Very resistant to low temperatures and acidity, it prefers damp and cold environments, without excessive thermal changes and soils from neutral to acid, not too sandy or dry, while it cannot survive in conditions of prolonged aridity. Among the fodder of Prato it is the most late, even if the range of earliness of the different cultivars covers three weeks.

Variety and use

Long-lasting grass (5-8 years), tends to concentrate production on the first shoot, putting it to rest later in the season. The transition from the vegetative to the reproductive phase is gradual, so there are no major problems in use. Productivity is comparable to that of mallet grass. The forage leaves a little to be desired in terms of protein content, but palatability is excellent. It can be used in pure culture to ensure late production; in association, given its modest aggression, it is more indicated with the window and the white and hybrid clover, than with the alfalfa that tends to suffocate it.
There are numerous varieties that differ in earliness, pace of vegetation and type of use (mowing and grazing). Almost all cultivars come from Northern and Central Europe, Canada and the United States. The Italian Register includes 7 varieties, of which 3 national and 3 Polish; the most common is “Toro”, early and with a bivalent use (grazing and mowing). Among the foreign cultivars used in Europe, we mention the English "S48", the Canadian "Climax", the Belgian "Comer" and the German "Odenwalder".

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