Economic Botany

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 114–120

Nutritive value of maygrass,Phalaris caroliniana


  • Gary D. Crites
    • Ethnobotany Laboratory, Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Tennessee
  • R. Dale Terry
    • Department of Food Science and NutritionIowa State University

DOI: 10.1007/BF02904421

Cite this article as:
Crites, G.D. & Terry, R.D. Econ Bot (1984) 38: 114. doi:10.1007/BF02904421


Maygrass, Phalaris caroliniana,a native annual grass used as a food resource by prehistoric Indians of the eastern United States, was analyzed for nutritive value. Protein nutrient density of maygrass grains is higher than that for other starchy seeds, oily seeds, and nuts commonly found in paleoethnobotanical samples from the region. Maygrass grains are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, especially thiamin and dietary iron. The amino acid in shortest supply is lysine. Nutritional quality of the grains may have served as an inducement for its protection or cultivation.

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© The New York Botanical Garden 1984