Phalaris is a genus of grasses. Various species of Phalaris grow on every continent except Antarctica. They can be found in a broad range of habitats from below sea level to thousands of feet above sea level and from wet marshy areas to dry places. P. arundinacea and P. aquatica are sometimes invasive species in wetlands.
15-22 species (see text)
Phalaris arundinacea, Phalaris aquatica, and Phalaris brachystachys are known to contain the alkaloids N,N-DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, and 5-OH-DMT (bufotenin). Some research has been done into the variability of alkaloids in the Phalaris grasses. Strains with high levels of alkaloids are best avoided in locations with grazing cattle and sheep, due to potential toxicity. Such high-alkaloid strains include Phalaris aquatica AQ-1 and the species P. brachystachys. Seasonal and weather patterns also appear to affect alkaloid concentration, as most toxicity occurs in autumn and in times of drought. Regrowth after grazing or mowing also shows a considerable increase in alkaloids.
In June 2018, mobs of wild kangaroos were observed suffering from "phalaris staggers" which causes head tremors, a loss of co-ordination and collapse. When phalaris is used to feed livestock, farmers can administer cobalt to their animals or spray it on their pastures, to protect animals against the effects of phalaris. However, this treatment is not available to wild kangaroos and they suffer from the alkaloid poisoning. The staggers syndrome is more common in livestock in areas with limestone soils, which contained less cobalt than basalt soils.
None of the above alkaloids is said to have been found in P. californica, P. canariensis, P. minor and hybrids of P. arundinacea together with P. aquatica.
Some species are used in dried flower arrangements. Phalaris canariensis is commonly used for birdseed.
Phalaris arundinacea is also being trialled as a potential bioenergy crop in Ireland.
- Phalaris amethystina Trin.
- Phalaris angusta - timothy canarygrass
- Phalaris aquatica - bulbous canarygrass, Harding grass, Hardinggrass (syn. Phalaris tuberosa)
- Phalaris arundinacea - reed canary grass, reed canarygrass
- Phalaris brachystachys - shortspike canarygrass
- Phalaris californica - California canarygrass
- Phalaris canariensis - annual canarygrass, common canary grass, common canarygrass
- Phalaris caroliniana - Carolina canarygrass, maygrass, see Eastern Agricultural Complex
- Phalaris coerulescens - sunolgrass
- Phalaris commutata
- Phalaris elongata Braun-Blanq.
- Phalaris lemmonii - Lemmon's canarygrass
- Phalaris minor - canarygrass, littleseed canarygrass
- Phalaris paradoxa - hood canarygrass
- Phalaris platensis Henrard ex Wacht.
- Phalaris truncata Guss. ex Bertol.
- Toxicants of Plant Origin - Google Book Search. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
- phalaris pdf - AU Dept. of Agriculture and Food
- Kangaroos under the influence: Grass to blame for staggering death of 'drunken' kangaroos, Jo Printz and Mark Kearney, ABC News Online, 2018-06-21
- Erowid Phalaris FAQ
- Reed Canary Grass. Teagasc. 2007.