FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Phleum pratense, Timothy

Phleum pratense; Timothy is a tall grass with spike-like panicles. As such Phleum species resemble Alopecurus species but they can easily be seperated by the shape of the glumes. Phleum species have a blunt elongated tip on the glumes giving the spikelets a two pronged appearance. Alopecurus species have vey different spikelets with awns although the spikelets of the orange foxtail does resemble it a bit. There are some other differences how to tell Timothy from the similar Meadow Foxtail . Rubbing along the pseudo-spike of the Meadow Foxtail will cause the spikelets to fall of easily where this is not the case for Timothy. Another characteristic for both Timothy and the Alpine Cat's-tail is that they have rounded flat bottoms of the inflorescence where in foxtail-species the spikes taper towards the stem.

Timothy has been introduced on Iceland and grows on grasslands and around human settlements.

Timothy is a member of the grass family (Poaceae, also known as Gramineae). The Icelandic name of the Timothy is Vallarfoxgras. The name Timothy refers to Timothy Hanson, an American farmer in the early 18th-century who propagated the use of this grass as a forage grass in the eastern USA, where it was introduced from Europe.

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A brief introduction to Iceland plants
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk - unless stated otherwise


A single spike
blowup showing the two-pronged panicles
reload original photo of Timothy vegetation

A single spike

blowup showing the two-pronged panicles

reload original photo of Timothy vegetation
 Press on photo for full size

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