A perennial hay grass, Phleum pratense, characterized by moderately leafy stems and a dense cylindrical inflorescence. Timothy (see illustration) belongs to the order Poales (Cyperales) and has long been the most important hay grass for cool, temperate, humid regions. The grass is easily established and managed, produces seed abundantly, and grows well in mixtures with alfalfa and clover. It is a short-lived perennial, makes a loose sod, and has an inflorescence that is dense, cylindrical, and spike-like. The moderately leafy stems are 0.6–1.2 m (2–4 ft) in height. When grown in fertile soils, timothy responds with high yield and nutritive content. Cutting promptly after heading improves the feed quality. Timothy–legume mixtures still predominate in hay and pasture seedings for crop rotations in the northern half of the United States; however, orchardgrass and bromegrass have increasingly replaced timothy in such mixtures in many areas. See also: Alfalfa; Bromegrass; Clover; Cyperales; Forage crops; Grass crops; Inflorescence; Legume; Poales
Sprague, Howard B. Agricultural Consultant, Washington, DC.
Last reviewed:January 2020
Related Primary Literature
- J. Lauzon et al., Alfalfa and timothy nutritive value in contrasting agroclimatic regions, Agron. J., 111:1371–1380, 2019 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2134/agronj2018.10.0634
- D. Saleh et al., Diversity, distribution and multi-functional attributes of bacterial communities associated with the rhizosphere and endosphere of timothy (Phleum pratense L.), J. Appl. Microbiol., 127(3):794–811, 2019 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jam.14334