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This species is accepted, and its native range is Somalia to S. Africa.
Cyperus sphaerocephalus

[FTEA]

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

Type
Type: South Africa, Hesse s.n. (LE, holo.)
Morphology General Habit
Perennial, up to 58 cm tall.
Morphology Culms
Culms crowded, bases swollen and fused into a horizontal rhizome, 14–56 cm long, 1.1–1.9 mm wide, trigonous to rounded, with longitudinal grooves, glabrous
Morphology Leaves
Leaves up to 42 cm long. Leaf sheaths at the base breaking up into thin fibres. Leaf sheath almost black at the base, brown on the culm, 2.5–5 cm long. Leaf blade linear, flat, 14–37 cm long, (1.9–)2.9–4.3 mm wide, scabrid on margins and primary vein, apex acuminate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Involucral bracts leaf-like, spreading, 3–5, lowermost 4–11.5 cm long, 2.5–4.4 mm wide
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence capitate.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets in a dense head, 4–17, ovoid, 9–19 mm long, 4.8–10 mm wide, rachis straight.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes bright yellow-orange, ovate to boat-shaped, 6.4–10.3 mm long, 2.7–4.6 mm wide, keel acute, with 6–8 conspicuous striations on either side of keel, apex acute
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 3.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Filaments
Filaments 5.4–8.7 mm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens Anthers
Anthers 3.6–4.3 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlet brown to black, obovoid, trigonous, 2.2–3.3 mm long, 1.6–2.5 mm wide, smooth, shortly apiculate.
Ecology
Open woodland and grassland, on sandy soil; 1000–2000 m
Conservation
Least concern (LC)
Note
Described by Haines and Lye as variety of niveus, but the striking colour and much larger nutlets caused me to accept this as a full species. As this former variety is being accepted as species, it is questionable if we should continue to recognize var. tisserantii and var. ledermannii at varietal level; I have chosen to do so, but more fieldwork could resolve this matter differently.
Distribution
Flora districts: T4 T7 Range: Somalia, Swaziland, South Africa

Native to:

Angola, Cape Provinces, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Malawi, Mozambique, Northern Provinces, Somalia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Cyperus sphaerocephalus Vahl appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Speke [s.n.], Tanzania K000362970

First published in Enum. Pl. Obs. 2: 310 (1805)

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 Cyperus niveus var. flavissimus.]
  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne. [Cited as Cyperus niveus var. leucocephalus.]

Literature

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Browning, J. & al. (2020). Flora Zambesiaca 14: 1-455. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Figueiredo, E. & Smith, G.F. (2008). Plants of Angola Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

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

Kew Science Photographs
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/