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This species is accepted, and its native range is Ethiopia to S. Africa, Madagascar.
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium

[FTEA]

Cyperaceae, K Hoenselaar, B. Verdcourt & H. Beentje. Hypolytrum, D Simpson. Fuirena, M Muasya. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2010

Type
Type: Malawi, Mt Zomba, Dec. 1846, Whyte s.n. (K!, syn.)
Morphology General Habit
Fairly robust perennial up to 85 cm high, often tussocky, stoloniferous.
Morphology Culms
Culms 38–82 cm long, 0.9–1.1 mm wide, trigonous to rounded, smooth
Morphology Leaves
Leaves up to 49 cm long. Leaf sheath (reddish-) brown, 3.2–7 cm long. Leaf blade linear, plicate to sometimes crescentic, often folded, 15.5–42 cm long, 2.1–3 mm wide, acuminate to acute, apex ± scabrid
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Involucral bracts leaf-like, erect or spreading, 2–3, the lowermost 6.5–11 cm long, 1.1–2.6 mm wide
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence simple, open, primary branches 1–5, 1.5–5 cm long, with a red to dark purple tubular prophyll at the base.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets 3–10 per cluster, ellipsoid-ovoid to ellipsoid-oblong, 8.5–18.5 mm long, elongating up to 27 mm when in fruit, 3.3–3.6 mm wide, axis straight. Spikelets in loose digitate clusters, sessile and at the end of primary branches.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes brown, sometimes yellowish- to golden brown, elliptic-ovate, 2.5–3.7 mm long, 1.3–2.4 mm wide, keel somewhat acute, 3-veined, apex obtuse
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 3.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Filaments
Filaments 2.5–3.2 mm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Anthers
Anthers 1.2–1.6 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Stigma
Stigma 2-branched
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlet brown with whitish wrinkles, obovoid, with prominent apiculus, 0.8–1 mm long, 0.5–0.8 mm wide, strongly muricate-zonate
Ecology
In boggy grassland, lake shores, stream-sides; 450–1850 m
Conservation
Least Concern (LC) due to distribution and habitat.
Note
" P. muricatus is easily recognizable by its strongly muricate-zonate nutlet. It shares this character with P. macranthus but these 2 species are easily distinguished. P. muricatus has a simple, more open inflorescence, while the inflorescence of P. macranthus is capitate; the glumes of P. macranthus are also much darker reddish brown than those of P. muricatus, and the latter only occurs in the south of Tanzania.
Distribution
Flora districts: T4 T7 T8 Range: Zambia, Malawi, South Africa

[FTEA]

Cyperaceae, K Hoenselaar, B. Verdcourt & H. Beentje. Hypolytrum, D Simpson. Fuirena, M Muasya. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2010

Type
Typus: Tanzania, Ufipa District: Sumbawanga, Richards 3452A (K!, holo.)
Morphology General Habit
Perennial up to 35 cm high, densely tufted, the base of the culms surrounded by many thick black fibres from old leaf-sheaths.
Morphology Culms
Culms tufted, 10–34 cm long, 0.4–1 mm wide, rounded to somewhat trigonous, smooth
Morphology Leaves
Leaf blade linear, folded or canaliculate, 6–11 cm long, 0.5–1.5 mm wide, acute to acuminate, often the tips burned and black, glabrous Leaves up to 18 cm long. Leaf sheath brownish-black, sometimes somewhat green, 2–7 cm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Involucral bract 1. Leaf-like, spreading, 2.9–7.2 cm long, 0.5–1.5 mm wide, glabrous, followed by 1 or few spikelets, than a second (and sometimes third) involucral bract
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence loosely capitate.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets in a loose digitate cluster. Spikelets 3–11 per head, ovoid, sometimes appearing squarrose due to the spreading of the glumes, 6–13 mm long, 2.5–5 mm wide, axis straight.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes red-brown to black, elliptic-ovate to elliptic-oblong, 2.5–4.3 mm long, 1.7–2.6 mm wide, keel flat and sometimes pale brown, 2–3-veined, obtuse to rounded
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 3.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Filaments
Filaments 1.8–3.2 mm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Anthers
Anthers 1.3–2.6 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Stigma
Stigma 2-branched
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlet grey to greyish-black, obovoid, sometimes obtriangular, 0.9–1.3 mm long, 0.8–0.9 mm wide, minutely papillose
Ecology
On grassland, seasonally flooded, 1500–2500 m
Conservation
Data Deficient (DD); there is no information about the status of the habitats.
Note
This species shows most similarity with P. fibrillosus, but that species is smaller, its spikelets are somewhat more narrow and the glumes vary between pale brown to red-brown, while those of P. sumbawangensis are red-brown to black. When comparing the specimens, they look quite different. P. sumbawangensis also shows some resemblance with P. permutatus, which also has a fibrous base and often dark brown to black glumes. P. sumbawangensis however is more slender than P. permutatus, and its base is much more dense and fibrous. The inflorescence of P. permutatus can be capitate or simple, and has 2 or more involucral bracts, while P. sumbawangensis always has a (loosely) capitate head with only one true involucral bract. Specimens have been placed close to P. nigricans, due to its capitate inflorescence and almost black glumes; P. nigricans however has almost always 3 style branches, while P. sumbawangensis only has 2. Again the number of involucral bracts is different, but most obvious is the thick fibrous base of P. sumbawangensis which P. nigricans lacks.
Distribution
Flora districts: T4 T7 Range: Burundi, South Africa

[FTEA]

Cyperaceae, K Hoenselaar, B. Verdcourt & H. Beentje. Hypolytrum, D Simpson. Fuirena, M Muasya. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2010

Type
Type: South Africa, Durban [Port Natal], Drège 4394 (B, holo.; B, iso.)
Morphology General Habit
Perennial up to 40 cm high, stoloniferous, growing in small tussocks.
Morphology Culms
Culm 13–39 cm long, 0.5–1 mm wide, trigonous to ± rounded, smooth
Morphology Leaves
Leaf sheath brown, 2–6 cm long, often splitting into thin fibres when older. Leaf blade narrowly linear, folded, glabrous, 6–21 cm long, 1.1–2 mm wide, acute, apex scabrid Leaves up to 25 cm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Involucral bracts 2. Leaf-like, 2–9.8 cm long, 0.8–1.7 mm wide, often scabrid
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence (sometimes loosely) capitate.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets 4–15 per head, ellipsoid-ovoid (to ± ellipsoid-oblong), 10–18.5 mm long, 2.8–4.5 mm wide, axis straight.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes dark reddish-brown, elliptic-ovate, 2.8–4 mm long, 1.2–2.2 mm wide, often becoming successively smaller above, keel somewhat acute, 3–5-veined, keel obtuse
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 3.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Filaments
Filaments 1.5–3.8 mm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Anthers
Anthers 1.1–1.9 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Stigma
Stigma 2-branched
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlet brown, obovoid, sometimes almost spherical, with a distinct apiculus, 0.8–1.1 mm long, 0.4–0.8 mm wide, muricate.
Ecology
Swamps, seasonally damp grassland; 950–2150 m
Conservation
Least concern (LC) due to its wide distribution
Note
This species can sometimes be confused with P. nigricans due to its dark brown to almost black glumes, but P. nigricans is the only Pycreus species that can have a 3-branched style; also P. nigricans is only found at altitudes above 1800 m, where as P. macranthus does not occur above 1400 m; and P. macranthus is much more slender. " P. macranthus shares its muricate nutlet with P. muricatus, however also these 2 species are easily recognized by their differences in inflorescence, headlike in P. macranthus and simple in P. muricatus; and the colour of the glumes. A number of specimens are intermediate between P. macranthus and P. muricatus regarding inflorescence structure. The glumes are very dark brown to almost black, suggesting P. macranthus; but the spikelets are not in a capitate head but in a more open simple inflorescence, as in P. muricatus. Further study on these specimens is required.
Distribution
Range: Congo-Kinshasa, Burundi, Ethiopia, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, South Africa Flora districts: U2 U3 U4 K3 T7 T8

[FTEA]

Cyperaceae, K Hoenselaar, B. Verdcourt & H. Beentje. Hypolytrum, D Simpson. Fuirena, M Muasya. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2010

Type
Type: Zambia, Kalungwisi R. Fries 1142 (UPS, holo)
Morphology General Habit
Perennial, densely tufted, the base of the culms surrounded by many thick black fibres from old leaf-sheaths, up to 16 cm high.
Morphology Culms
Culms tufted, 6–11 cm long, 0.6–0.7 mm wide, rounded to somewhat trigonous, smooth
Morphology Leaves
Leaf sheath brownish-black, sometimes somewhat green, 3 cm long. Leaf blade linear, folded or canaliculate, glabrous, 7.5 cm long, 1.1 mm wide, acute to acuminate, often the tips burned and black, glabrous Leaves up to 10.5 cm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Involucral bract 1. Leaf-like, spreading, 4.2–5.7 cm long, 0.8–0.9 mm wide, glabrous, followed by 1 or few spikelets, than a second (and sometimes third) involucral bract
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence loosely capitate.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets 4–7 per head, ovoid, appearing sometimes dentate due to the spreading of the glumes, 6.3–8.5 mm long, 2–2.5 mm wide, axis straight. Spikelets, in a loose digitate cluster.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes pale brown, red-brown to black, elliptic-ovate to ellipticoblong, 3.2 mm long, 2.7 mm wide, keel flat to rounded, sometimes pale brown, 2–3-veined, keel obtuse to rounded
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 3.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Anthers
Anthers 1.4 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Stigma
Stigma 2branched
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlet not seen.
Ecology
In rocky secondary hillside miombo; 1600 m
Conservation
Data Deficient (DD); there is still a lot of confusion in the species delimitation.
Note
Description based on only one specimen, which seems to be immature. It looks very similar to the picture of Cyperus fibrillosus Kük. in Wiss. Ergebn. Schwed. Rhod. -KongoExped. 1911–12 (1): 1 (1921).
Distribution
Flora districts: T4 Range: Zambia

[FTEA]

Cyperaceae, K Hoenselaar, B. Verdcourt & H. Beentje. Hypolytrum, D Simpson. Fuirena, M Muasya. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2010

Type
Type: South Africa, ‘Transkei District’, Drège 4398 & 4399 (B, syn.)
Morphology General Habit
Perennial up to 75 cm high, with massive base of one or more slightly swollen culm-bases.
Morphology Culms
Culms tufted, 23.5–70 cm long, 1–1.7 mm wide, trigonous to somewhat rounded, smooth; the base surrounded by stiff leaf sheaths and tough usually blackened fibres trough which the roots penetrate
Morphology Leaves
Leaf blade linear, flat or folded and stiff, 9–26(–43) cm long, 1.6–3 mm wide, acute to acuminate, apex glabrous to minutely scabrid Leaves up to 32(–49) cm long. Leaf sheath light brown to brown-black, 1–6.5 cm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Involucral bracts leaf-like, (2–)3, the lowermost 4–14.5 cm long, 1.5–2.7 mm wide, glabrous to sometimes minutely scabrid
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence capitate or simple, when simple primary branches(0–)1–4, (0–)0.5–5 cm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets arranged in digitate clusters or on an elongated axis, sessile and at the end of primary branches. Spikelets 5–15 per cluster, when in a head 20 to many, ellipsoidlanceolate, 9.2–17.5 mm long, 2–3 mm wide, axis straight.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes red-brown to brown-black, elliptic-ovate, 2.2–3 mm long, 1.4–1.9 mm wide, keel acute, 2–3-veined, pale brown to yellowish green, apex acuminate to mucronate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 3: filaments 1.8–2.7 mm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Anthers
Anthers 1–1.8 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Stigma
Stigma 2-branched
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlet brown, obovoid, sometimes ± ellipsoid-obovoid, ± biconvex, 0.6–1.2 mm long, 0.3–0.7 mm wide, almost smooth to minutely papillose to somewhat wrinkled
Ecology
Swamps, seasonally wet grassland; 950–1900 m
Conservation
Least concern (LC) due to its wide distribution.
Distribution
Range: Congo-Kinshasa, Zambia, South Africa Flora districts: U1 U2 U3 U4 K3 K4 K5T1 T4 T7

[FTEA]

Cyperaceae, K Hoenselaar, B. Verdcourt & H. Beentje. Hypolytrum, D Simpson. Fuirena, M Muasya. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2010

Type
Type: Ethiopia, Gonder Region, Enjedcap in Semien, Schimper 1373 (P, holo.; BM!, HAL, K!, UPS, iso.)
Morphology General Habit
Robust perennial, forming very dense tussocks with many crowded leaves.
Morphology Roots
Rootsystem of closely packed tough woody rhizomes and thick roots bearing persistent hard dark polished leafbases, the new shoots springing intravaginally from their axils.
Morphology Culms
Culms tufted, 35–90 cm long, 1–1.8 mm wide, trigonous to slightly triquetrous, sometimes with distinct grooves, smooth, the angles sometimes set with small spine-like teeth
Morphology Leaves
Leaf blade narrowly linear, folded, stiff, 22–74 cm long, 1.8–3.5 mm wide, acute (sometimes acuminate), apex scabrid Leaf sheath brownish-red (old ones black), 6–8 cm long. Leaves up to 82 cm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Involucral bracts, 2–3. Leaf-like, spreading, sometimes the lowermost overtopping the inflorescence, 6–17 cm long, 2–3.6 mm wide, often folded
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence capitate, with a tar-like smell.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets 5–25 per cluster, ovoid, 8–17 mm long, 2.5–5 mm wide, axis straight to sometimes slightly curved. Spikelets crowded in sessile, ovoid-globose clusters, sometimes viviparous in lowermost part of spikelets.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes closely imbricate, (reddish-) black, ovate, 3.2–4.9 mm long, 2.1–2.8 mm wide, keel yellow-brown, acute, rather broad, 2–4-veined, apex acute
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 3.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Filaments
Filaments 3.7–4.7 mm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Anthers
Anthers 1.5–2.6 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Style
Style 2–3-branched
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlets (silvery) brown-grey to brown-black, obovoid(-ellipsoid), biconvex, 1.2–1.7 mm long, 0.5–0.9 mm wide, glabrous with protruding cell-walls to wrinkled-punctate.
Ecology
Forming large tussocks on marshy ground, in swamps and bogs; 1800–3600 m
Conservation
Least concern (LC) due to its wide distribution.
Note
The inflorescence of this species is characterized by its very dark, almost black colour, and its strong tar-like smell. Although this smell can be detected in other species as well, it is not as prominent as in P. nigricans.
Distribution
Range: Ethiopia, Malawi; Madagascar Flora districts: U2 K3 K4 K 6T2 T6 T7

Native to:

Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Provinces, Ethiopia, Free State, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Northern Provinces, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

Cyperus nigricans Steud. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Bidgood, S. [5232], Tanzania Pycreus muricatus K000190460
Bidgood, S. [5968], Tanzania Pycreus muricatus K000468457
Whyte, A. [s.n.], Malawi Pycreus muricatus K000362989 syntype
Aug 21, 1905 Buchanan, J. [1454], Malawi Pycreus segmentatus K000362993
Aug 21, 1905 Whyte, A. [s.n.], Malawi Pycreus segmentatus K000362992 Unknown type material
Jun 1, 2005 Gereau, R.E., Harder, D.K., Kayomb [4998], Tanzania Pycreus fibrillosus K000195429
Witte, de [618], Congo, DRC Pycreus diloloensis K000362904
Witte, de [618], Congo, DRC Pycreus diloloensis K000362903 isotype
Feb 1, 2005 Volkens, G.L.A. [2014], Tanzania Pycreus nigricans K000960551 lectotype
Aug 21, 1905 Whyte, A. [s.n.], Malawi Pycreus nigricans K000362995
Feb 1, 1893 Schimper [1373], Ethiopia Pycreus nigricans K000363020 Unknown type material

First published in Flora 25: 584 (1842)

Not accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. & Simpson, D.A. (2007). World Checklist of Cyperaceae. Sedges: 1-765. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [Cited as Pycreus nigricans.]
  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne. [Cited as Pycreus nigricans.]

Literature

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Browning, J. & al. (2020). Flora Zambesiaca 14: 1-455. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Darbyshire, I., Kordofani, M., Farag, I., Candiga, R. & Pickering, H. (eds.) (2015). The Plants of Sudan and South Sudan: 1-400. Kew publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Hoenselaar, K., Verdcourt, B. & Beentje, H. (2010). Cyperaceae Flora of Tropical East Africa: 1-466.

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Plants and People Africa
Common Names from Plants and People Africa http://www.plantsandpeopleafrica.com/
© Plants and People Africa http://www.plantsandpeopleafrica.com http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/