Lolium perenne (English ryegrass, crested ryegrass)

description: perennial

place of origin: Eurasia

urban habitat: common on roadsides, waste places, drainage ditches, along railroad tracks.

ecological function:
disturbance-adapted colonizer, drought tolerant, tolerant of atmospheric pollution; used for soil stabilization; food for livestock and wildlife.

history: Lolium perenne was one of the first cultivated grass used as a pasture grass in Europe. It came to the North America early, with Thomas Jefferson noting its value in Virginia in 1782. It continues to be planted today for soil stabilization after fires or in heavily mined areas, and as a winter cover or forage crop in agriculture. The plant has been used in treatment of cancer, diarrhea, malaria, and hemorrhaging. It has the potential to be used as a biomass energy source. The seeds have been cooked and consumed in times of food shortages.