American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An annual Mediterranean grass (Phalaris canariensis) having grains used as food for caged birds, such as canaries.
- n. Any of several related grasses, such as reed canary grass.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Phalaris Canariensis, natural order Gramineæ, a native of the Canary islands. Its seed is used as food in the Canaries, Barbary, and Italy, and is extensively cultivated elsewhere for canary-birds. The reed canary-grass, P. arundinacea, is a common species, a variegated form of which is the ribbon-grass of gardens.
- n. The reed canary-grass (also called reed-grass) is widely diffused in wet places over the northern hemisphere. In the northwestern United States it is called crazy-grass, on account of its supposed effect on horses, which, however, is probably due to ergot with which it is infested. The Southern or American canary-grass, Phalaris Caroliniana, ranging through the Southern States to California, is regarded in the Eastern States as valuable for winter and spring pasture. This, or a form with an inflorescence appearing much like Phleum, is called Southern or Apache timothy. The blue or purple canary-grass is Phalaris amcthystina, a native Californian species of moderate value. P. minor and P. paradoxa are Mediterranean species introduced into California.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. a grass of the genus Phalaris (Phalaris Canariensis), producing the seed used as food for canary birds.
- n. Canary Islands grass; seeds used as feed for caged birds
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