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a genus of perennial grasses of the family Gramineae. The leaves consist of stenolinear blades with closed sheaths, and the inflorescence is a loose or spicate panicle. The spikelets are two- to five-flowered and include one to three bisexual flowers and a clavate appendage of underdeveloped flowers.
There are 90 species, distributed primarily in the temperate zones of both hemispheres (except for Australia) and in the mountains of tropical regions. In the USSR more than 20 species grow in forests, in thickets, along forest edges, and on mountain slopes. Particularly widespread is the mountain, or nodding, melick (M. nutans), which grows in shaded, primarily evergreen, forests. The species M. picta is common in the central and southern parts of the European USSR and in the Caucasus; it grows mainly in deciduous forests and thickets. M. transsilvanica, which grows chiefly in the southern USSR on steppe slopes and in thickets, is a good fodder for horses.
REFERENCEKormovye rasteniia senokosov i pastbishch SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950.
T. V. EGOROVA