Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated April 2019.

Scientific name: Phleum pratense L.

Common name(s): timothy, timothy-grass, common timothy

Link(s): USDA PLANTS Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– perennial

-grows in stools or clumps

-shallow, compact, and fibrous root system

-grows in erect culms 20 to 40 inches tall

-Leaves vary in length

  • few inches to a foot long
  • 1/4 inch wide
  • narrowing gently toward the tip.

-heads are

  • 2 to 6 inches in length
  • spike-like

-distinctive trait

  • 1 or occasionally 2 of the basal internodes of the stem swell into a bulb-like growth


-cool humid climate


-nutritious and palatable

-companion grass for alfalfa, trefoil, or clover

-found in wildlife mixtures for nesting, brood cover, and escape.


-highly responsive to fertilizers- especially nitrogen

-stands become weak under close and continuous grazing

-Make successive harvests for hay and silage when basal sprouts appear at the soil surface



Bush, Tony. “TIMOTHY Phleum Pratense L.” Plant Fact Sheet , USDA NRCS Rose Lake Plant Materials Center, East Lansing, Michigan, Feb. 2002, plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_phpr3.pdf



Eric T. Doucette, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor of Biology, MA College of Liberal Arts, North Adams, MA (updated Feb 2018)