It is a herbaceous annual, biennial, or perennial grass that is grown for silage, and as a cover crop. It is also grown as an ornamental grass. It readily naturalizes in temperate climates, and can become a noxious weed in agricultural areas and an invasive species in native habitats.
It is sometimes considered a subspecies of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). It differs from L. perenne in its spikelet, which has a long bristle at the top, and its stem, which is round rather than folded.
Other common names in English include Australian ryegrass, short rotation ryegrass, and Westerwolds ryegrass. It is also one of several species called darnel.
In the United States, Lolium multiflorum is sometimes used as a winter cover crop to prevent erosion, build soil structure and suppress weeds. As a palatable forage crop, it can be grazed by livestock and provide food in years when alfalfa suffers from winter kill.
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