Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
(timothy), a genus of annual and perennial grasses of the family Gramineae. The inflorescence is a dense, cylindrical, spikelike panicle. The spikelets are small and one-flowered, and the fruit is an elongate-oval caryopsis. The plants usually form loose bushes. There are more than 15 species of timothy, distributed in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Of the 11 cosmopolitan species found in the USSR, five are annuals. Four species are cultivated as feed crops.
The most important species raised for feed is P. pratense, a winter-hardy perennial reaching 140 cm in height and having long, narrow (3–10 mm across), slightly rough leaves. The plant grows mainly on floodplains in the European USSR, the Caucasus, Kazakhstan, and Western and Eastern Siberia. It was first cultivated in Russia in the 18th century; its cultivation subsequently spread to other European countries, North America, and Australia.
P. pratense is cultivated as a hay and pasture plant in the forest zone and in forest-steppe and mountain regions. Growth begins in early spring but is slow. The grass is one of the most important components of hay and pasture mixtures. It is sown mainly with red clover. In field crop rotations, with a companion crop of grain, P. pratense is sown at a rate of 4–6 kg/ha. In meadow pastures the sowing rate is 6–8 kg/ha; in pure plantings the rate is about 12 kg/ha.
Full development is attained in the second or third year. The plant yields abundantly for four or five years on dry valleys and for ten to 15 years on floodplains; the grass is mown one or, less commonly, two times each year. The plant is harvested for hay during the heading stage; the yield of hay is 30–65 quintals/ha. One hundred kg of green mass contains 20–25 feed units and 1.5–1.7 kg of digestible protein. The grass is eaten by all farm animals.
The perennial species P. phleoides, which measures 35–45 cm in height (rarely as much as 80 cm), is distributed in the forest-steppe and steppe zones of the European USSR, in the mountain regions of the Caucasus, and in Western and Eastern Siberia and Middle Asia. The perennial P. alpinum, which is 15–20 cm tall (rarely as much as 50 cm) and has an abundance of soft radical leaves, is an indispensable component of alpine and subalpine pastures in Middle Asia, the Altai, and the northern parts of the European USSR. P. paniculatum, an annual reaching 50 cm in height, grows mainly in the Crimea, the Caucasus, and Middle Asia; it occurs on somewhat solonetzic sierozems in valleys, in wastelands, and on rocky slopes. The plant begins its vegetative period in early spring and dries up by the onset of summer. All three of the above-mentioned species are eaten by horses, cattle, and sheep; P. alpinum is also eaten by deer.
REFERENCESKormovye rasteniia senokosov i pastbishch SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950.
Travianistye rasteniia SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow, 1971.
A. P. MOVSISIANTS