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Lolium perenne - L.

Common Name Perennial Ryegrass, Italian ryegrass, Darnel, Lyme Grass, Terrell Grass, English Ryegrass, Strand Wh
Family Poaceae or Gramineae
USDA hardiness 5-7
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Meadows and weedy places[74].
Range Europe to E. Asia.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Lolium perenne Perennial Ryegrass, Italian ryegrass, Darnel, Lyme Grass, Terrell Grass, English Ryegrass, Strand Wh

Lolium perenne Perennial Ryegrass, Italian ryegrass, Darnel, Lyme Grass, Terrell Grass, English Ryegrass, Strand Wh


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Main Bloom Time: Early fall, Late fall, Mid fall. Form: Prostrate.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Lolium perenne is an evergreen Perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid, very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map




Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed
Edible Uses:

Seed - cooked. Used as a cereal[177]. The seed has a nutritional value similar to oats (Avena sativa) and contain gluten[269]. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails[177]. The seed is rather small and fiddly to use[K]. Yields of 1 tonne per hectare have been achieved, though around 500kg is a more common yield[269].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Astringent  Cancer  Malaria

The plant has occasionally been used in the treatment of cancer, diarrhoea, haemorrhages and malaria[269].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

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Other Uses


The plant has the potential to be used as a source of biomass. Yields of up to 25 tonnes per hectare have been reported from Europe. In the absence of definitive yield information an average yield of 17.5 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year and an energy content of 17.5 GJ per metric tonne are assumed[269].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Erosion control, Ground cover. Adapted to mild, humid temperate climates, this species grows best on rather heavy, rich, moist soils, but also does well on well-manured lighter soils with sufficient moisture[269]. It dislikes shade and requires a well-drained soil[200]. It prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7, though it can tolerate a range from 4.5 - 8.2[269]. Plants are moderately drought resistant, they tolerate atmspheric pollution and salt in the soil, and can also succeed when planted on minespoil[269]. They prefer an annual precipitation in the range of 21 - 176cm[269]. Many cultivars have been developed by selection of individual plants, clones and families for specific purposes, such as for lawns, pastures and hay[269]. A fast growing plant, it combines particularly well with white clover (Trifolium repens)[269]. Special Features: Not North American native, Naturalizing.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - sow in situ in the spring. It is also possible to sow the seed in situ in the autumn in most parts of Britain. This will give larger plants and heavier yields.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Lolium multiflorumItalian RyegrassBiennial0.3 4-8  LMHNM003
Lolium temulentumDarnelAnnual1.0 4-8  LMHNM110

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Birgitta m Mundy   Sat Feb 19 08:37:50 2005

Basic info and yet interesting in that the information seems to come from experiencing the facts given. I was looking for a photo. A picture tells a thousand words. A little more detail would be helpful. Your links are very interesting. Thanks

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