Persian darnel is an annual grass that reproduces through seeds and is common to the Canadian Prairies. This grassy weed has become more prevalent in the past decade resulting in significant crop losses, particularly in wheat and barley, as it can be difficult to identify and can go undetected until harvest. Persian darnel is commonly miss-identified as the intended crop itself or as wild oats, which results in the inappropriate treatment or lack of treatment; therefore, its correct identification is critical for the optimal treatment of this weed.
The species Lolium persicum seedlings are often mistaken for downy brome or wild oat. The most important point in distinguishing L. persicum is the characteristic red tint at the base of the seedlings stem. Other features are dark green leaves that are extremely smooth and shiny on their lower surface and rough and narrow on its upper surface.
The stems of the mature plant are rough, erect and range from 12-60 cm in height. The leaf blades are rough on upper and smooth on lower surface, ligules are membranous and short with smooth margins.
Optimal growth conditions
Persian darnel germinates early in the spring and can flourish in relatively dry areas.