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TIMOTHY (Phleum pratense L.). Plate 3; Seed, Plate 26, Fig. 7.


Other English names: Meadow Cat's Tail, Herd's Grass.


Botanical description: Timothy is a perennial grass which has a very short rootstock and therefore grows in more or less compact tufts. The stems, which reach a height of from one to four feet or more, are smooth and generally erect. Especially on dry and hard soil the base of the stems is thickened into a kind of bulb, which contains a supply of nutritive matter of a peculiar kind. The leaves, which when in bud are rolled inward from one side, are generally short compared with the height of the plant. The spikelets are arranged in a dense, cylindrical, spikelike inflorescence, each spikelet containing but one flower enclosed in a pair of acutely keeled glumes, which are not fastened together as in Meadow Foxtail. In shape and size the spikes of Timothy and Meadow Foxtail are somewhat similar, but that of Timothy feels rough when touched, whereas the spike of Meadow Foxtail is very soft. When in flower the arrangement of the male and female organs is conducive to cross-fertilization, which is effected by air currents.


Geographical distribution: Timothy is indigenous to Europe with the exception of Turkey. It is also a native of northern Africa and large portions of western Asia and Siberia. It was introduced into North America with the early settlers, and is now generally cultivated throughout the northern United States and the eastern provinces of Canada.


History: Although a native of Europe, the value of Timothy was first recognized in North America. It was brought to Maryland about 1720 by Timothy Hanson, after whom it was named. The name Herd's Grass, which is used in New England, is said to be derived from a Mr. Herd, who found it in New Hampshire and introduced it into cultivation.


Cultural conditions: For cold, moist or wet lands, particularly for heavy clay soils, Timothy is superior to any other grass for hay. It succeeds best on moist loams and clays. It does not thrive on sour lands or on soils liable to become parched during drought, such as impoverished sandy soils or shallow soils over rocks.

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