Lolium temulentum (darnel)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Plant Trade
- Wood Packaging
- Impact Summary
- Environmental Impact
- Impact: Biodiversity
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Lolium temulentum L.
Preferred Common Name
International Common Names
- English: poison ryegrass
- Spanish: borrachuelo; cizana embriagante; joyo; rabillo
- French: ivraie énivrante; lyvrai
- Russian: kukol
- Portuguese: alho-bravo; joio
Local Common Names
- Denmark: heyre
- Germany: Daverende-lolch; Taumel- Lolch
- India: mochni; mostaki; ryeghas; ubban
- Italy: loglio velenoso; loglio vivace
- Japan: dokumugi
- Netherlands: dolik
- Poland: kokal
- Sweden: daarrepe
- LOLTE (Lolium temulentum)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Monocotyledonae
- Order: Cyperales
- Family: Poaceae
- Genus: Lolium
- Species: Lolium temulentum
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
DescriptionTop of page
Leaves are lanceolated, simple with a shiny surface, leaf blades narrowly linear, not contracted at the base, acute at apex, with smooth or scabrid margins, somewhat rough above, glabrous and smooth beneath, 10-30 cm long, 3-10 mm wide, young leaves with involute margins, ligule 1-2 mm long.
Inflorescence is a terminal spike, rigidly erect, 12-30 cm long with 6-30 spikelets, dorsally placed in shallow excavations along a non-articulate rachis with a zigzag shape. Spikelets 12-30 mm in length, usually with 4-10 flowers. Outer glume of the lateral spikelets usually 2.5 cm in length, as long as or longer than the entire spikelets, 7-9-nerved, thinly coriaceous with narrow membranous margins. Flowering glumes are shorter and broader, oblong, usually obtuse with an awn as long as or longer than the glume itself. Some specimens may have awnless glumes or in rare instances the whole spikelet is without awns (Bentham, 1967). The lemmas are up to 8 mm long, obtuse with awns 6-12 mm long. Palea two-keeled. Seeds elliptic-oblong in shape, grooved.
Plant TypeTop of page
Grass / sedge
DistributionTop of page
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 25 Feb 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|-Madhya Pradesh||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced|
|-Uttar Pradesh||Present, Localized||Introduced|
|-West Bengal||Present, Localized||Native and Introduced|
|Indonesia||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|Denmark||Present, Few occurrences|
|Ireland||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced|
|Serbia and Montenegro||Present, Localized||Native|
|United Kingdom||Present, Widespread||Introduced|
|-California||Present||Introduced||Original citation: Hitchchock (1950)|
|-Maine||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced||Original citation: Hitchchock (1950)|
|-Texas||Present, Few occurrences||Introduced|
|-New South Wales||Present, Widespread||Introduced|
|-South Australia||Present, Widespread||Introduced|
|-Western Australia||Present, Widespread||Introduced|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
HabitatTop of page
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production)||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Disturbed areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
Biology and EcologyTop of page
L. temulentum has the diploid chromosome number 2n=14 (Naylor and Rees, 1958; Hovin et al., 1963). Electrophoretic studies have enabled clear differentiation between the inbreeding L. temulentum and the three outcrossing species, L. perenne, L. rigidum and L. multiflorum (Bennett et al., 2002). A similar study identified clear morphological differences between L. temulentum and the three outcrossing species (Bennett et al., 2000).
Physiology and Phenology
L. temulentum is a competitive C3 (Lush, 1976) and long day (Perilleux et al., 1997) grass weed of winter crops under temperate climates, reproducing mainly by seed. It requires low temperature and high soil moisture for its germination and growth. Steiner and Ruckenbauer (1995) observed that temperatures of 10-15°C and moisture levels of 3-12% for 110 years did not reduce the viability of the seed. Little dormancy is apparent, although vernalization may accelerate flowering. Overall growth of L. temulentum is more sensitive to chilling than carbon dioxide fixation (Pollock et al., 1995). The rate of net photosynthesis in L. temulentum leaves decreased with age when exposed to bright sunlight, but increased when exposed to severe shading (Woledge, 1972).
For long day induction, the critical photoperiod was between 12 and 14 hours, and >16 hours were needed for a maximal flowering responce (Perilleux et al., 1994). Flower induction was found to be optimum when phytochrome was mostly in the Pr (red light) form early in the night and in the Pfr (far red light) form later (Evans, 1976). Water stress during long day conditions can inhibit flowering by raising the concentration of abscisic acid at the shoot apex during floral evocation (King and Evans, 1977). Pharis et al. (1987) found that gibberellic acid (GA5) induced flowering, but GA1 had the opposite effect. The vernalization response in L. temulentum is similar to that of annual winter cereals, and can be transmitted from shoot apical meristem to new axillary meristems (Arumuganathan et al., 1991).
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||15||25|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Mean annual rainfall||400||1200||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes||weeds/seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually invisible|
|Growing medium accompanying plants||weeds/seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually invisible|
|Roots||weeds/seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually invisible|
|Seedlings/Micropropagated plants||weeds/seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually invisible|
|True seeds (inc. grain)||weeds/seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Fruits (inc. pods)|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches|
Wood PackagingTop of page
|Wood Packaging not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Loose wood packing material|
|Processed or treated wood|
|Solid wood packing material with bark|
|Solid wood packing material without bark|
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||None|
ImpactTop of page
The seeds of L. temulentum have poisonous effects on man and animals when consumed in conjunction with wheat and other cereals (Forsyth, 1979; Ambasta, 1994). They are remarkably similar in size and weight to the grains of wheat and other small grain crops, which makes their separation difficult. When milled with wheat, it causes the flour to become grey and bitter. Toxic effects on livestock have been reported in Argentina (Ratera, 1983). The poisonous compounds are considered to be two alkaloids, temulin and loline, which are present in the seed (Bor, 1960; Smith and Bernhard, 1988), and perloline in the stem (Dannhardt and Steindl, 1985). One theory is that L. temulentum seed is only poisonous when infected by the fungus Endocladium temulentum (Bor, 1960) as it produces the narcotic alkaloid temulin (Ambasta, 1994), but Steyn (1934) reported that no toxic effects were found when large quantities of fungus-infected grains of this weed were fed to animals. Similarly, bread in South Africa often contains infected grains of L. temulentum and such bread is eaten without any ill-effects.
The competitive potential of L. temulentum has rarely been measured, but it is generaly regarded as a competitive weed. Hollies (1982) revealed that grassy weeds, such as L. temulentum, caused yield losses of up to 17% in wheat and barley, whereas net profits were reduced by 25%. Wheat infested with L. temulentum can have an impaired response to N fertilization (Farnworth and Said, 1983). Laboratory studies by Bansal and Singh (1986) revealed that root extracts of L. temulentum were more inhibitory than shoot and flower extracts on the germination and growth of rice, indicating allelopathic effects.
L. temulentum can be a host to a wide range of organisms (see Natural Enemies) and is often implicated as an important alternative host of crop diseases, such as yellow rust (Puccinia striiformis) of wheat (Zhukova and Kupriyanova, 1981), yellow spike disease in wheat caused by Rathayibacter tritici (Vacke, 1975), Oat blue dwarf virus in the Czech Republic (Vacke, 1998), crown rust (Puccinia coronata), stem rust (P. graminis), brown rust (P. recondita), and karnal bunt of wheat (Tilletia indica) (Rattan and Aujla, 1989). It has also been recorded as a host for parasitic nematodes (Meloidogyne) (Ibrahim et al., 1988) and the wainscot moth (Oria musculosa) on barley in Iran (Haidari, 1975).
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact: BiodiversityTop of page
Social ImpactTop of page
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Invasive in its native range
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Highly mobile locally
- Has high reproductive potential
- Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts human health
- Negatively impacts animal health
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Pest and disease transmission
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
Seeds of L. temulentum contain 20% of an oil which can give more stability to flax oil due to its high tocopherol content (El-Gharbawi et al., 1980) and 1-pantene, 2,4- dimethyl (Abdallah et al., 1980). Extracts from the flowering spike of L. tremulentum contain gramine, an indole alkaloid which is highly toxic to the maize aphid (Rhopalosipheum maidis) and also acts as a feeding deterrent (Salem, 1991). Mander et al. (1995) reported that L. temulentum is a source of two families of gibberellic acids which have promising biological properties. It has been hybridized with meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis) (Heszky, 1971).
Uses ListTop of page
Animal feed, fodder, forage
- Fodder/animal feed
- Erosion control or dune stabilization
- Poisonous to mammals
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
L. temulentum shares the same chromosome number (2n = 14) as L. rigidum and L. remotum (Butkute, 1979).
Although all species of Lolium are similar morphologically, L. temulentum, L. persicum and L. subulatum share an annual habit and have glumes that are as long or longer than the spikelets and spikelets that are much wider than the rachis (Hitchcock, 1950).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.Cultural Control
Ferrari et al. (1984) considered that long rotations, considerable soil disturbance and high fertilizer applications reduced infestations of this weed (Ferrari et al., 1984). Preventive measures, such as sowing clean seed and preventing seed formation are important.
Handweeding twice at 30 and 60 days after sowing in wheat (Angiras and Modgal, 1981) and at 40 and 70 days after sowing in gobhi sarson (Brassica campestris var. sarson) was found effective to control grassy weeds including L. temulentum (Angiras and Rana, 1990). Small scale farmers use this practice as they can then use the weed for fodder purposes. However, handweeding can be difficult in the vegetative stages as cereals and the weed closely resemble each other. Bidirectional sowing at a row to row spacing of 15 cm has also been found effective to reduce populations of this weed (Angiras and Vinod Sharma, 1996). A stale seed bed in wheat can reduce L. temulentum populations (Deep Kumar, 1998).
Burning resulted in a a reduction of viable seeds of L. temulentum by 99.7 and 97.7% when practised in December and January, respectively (Pearce and Holmes, 1976).
Effective treatments in wheat include: a post-emergence application of methabenzthiazuron; isoproturon with and without a surfactant (Thakur and Singh, 1990; Angiras and Vinod Sharma, 1995); pre-planting application of triallate (Adams, 1985; Deep Kumar, 1998); post-emergence application of diclofop methyl (Angiras and Modgal, 1981); diclofop plus a surfactant (Angiras and Deep Kumar, 1998); metribuzin pre-emergence (Retzinger and Richard, 1983); pendimethalin pre-emergence (Cairns et al., 1979); metoxuron post-emergence (Stevens and Meyes, 1976); diclofop methyl followed by ioxynil 10 days later (Anon., 1984); quizalofop; and chlorazifop (Norris and Lardelli, 1984).
L. temulentum can effectively be controlled in barley with pre-sowing applicaion of triallate (Adams, 1985) or metoxuron (Stevens and Meyes, 1976).
In flax, applications of bromoxynil 25-28 days after sowing (El-Kassaby and El-Kalia, 1985), MCPA 30 days after sowing (El-Kassaby, 1985), isoproturon, haloxyfop methyl, and fluazifop butyl post-emergence, and oxyfluorfen or pendimathalin pre-emergence have all been found effective (Angiras et al., 1991).
Pre emergence appliction of linuron and prometryn may be used to control L. temulentum in cumin (Arslan et al., 1988).
In broccoli, trifluralin or nitrofen pre-transplanting gave effective control of L. temmulentum, whereas control of this and other grassy weeds in spinach may be obtained with a pre-planting treatment of cycloate, pre-emergence chlorbufam + cycluron (Magnifico et al., 1993).
In sunflower, effective control of L. temulentum was obtained with pre-emergence treatments of fluchloralin + metolachlor, metobromuron + prometryn and metribuzin (Sarno et al., 1986).
Fayed et al. (1989) in laboratory studies found that whereas EPTC, vernolate, pendimethalin and trifluralin resulted in the lowest germination rate, radicle and plumule length, fresh and dry weight of L. tementulum, fluometuron was more effective in reducing plumule and radicle length, as well as the fresh and dry weight of weed seedlings.
Because of the importance of L. temulentum and related species as forage grasses, there has been no serious consideration of biological control methods.
ReferencesTop of page
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