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

[GB]
Morphology General Habit
Perennial. Rhizomes short; knotty. Culms decumbent; 30-120 cm long; wiry, or woody. Lateral branches suffrutescent. Leaf-sheaths glabrous on surface. Leaf-sheath oral hairs lacking. Ligule a fringe of hairs. Leaf-blades flat, or conduplicate, or involute; 2-15 cm long; 1-5 mm wide. Leaf-blade surface glabrous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a panicle. Peduncle smooth. Panicle spiciform; oblong, or ovate; 1-3(-5) cm long. Primary panicle branches accrescent to a central axis; with sessile scars on axis. Panicle axis angular; scaberulous; glabrous; bearing deciduous spikelet clusters. Spikelets subtended by an involucre. Fertile spikelets sessile; 1 in the cluster. Involucre composed of bristles; oblong; 4-10 mm long; base obconical, or bluntly stipitate (briefly). Involucral bristles deciduous with the fertile spikelets; numerous; with an outer whorl of thinner bristles; with longest bristle scarcely emergent; 4-10 mm long; terete; flexible; glabrous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets comprising 1 basal sterile florets; 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets oblong; dorsally compressed; 3-4.5 mm long; falling entire; deciduous with accessory branch structures.
Fertile
Spikelets comprising 1 basal sterile florets; 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets oblong; dorsally compressed; 3-4.5 mm long; falling entire; deciduous with accessory branch structures.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes similar; reaching apex of florets, or shorter than spikelet; thinner than fertile lemma. Lower glume ovate; 0.33-0.5 length of spikelet; membranous; without keels; 1-3 -veined. Lower glume apex acute. Upper glume elliptic; 0.66-1 length of spikelet; membranous; without keels; 5-7 -veined. Upper glume apex acute, or acuminate.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Florets
Basal sterile florets male, or barren; with palea, or without significant palea. Lemma of lower sterile floret elliptic; 1 length of spikelet; membranous; 5 -veined; acute, or acuminate. Fertile lemma elliptic; 3-4.5 mm long; membranous; without keel; 5 -veined. Lemma margins flat. Lemma apex acuminate; mucronate. Palea membranous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Lodicules absent. Anthers 3; 1.5-2 mm long; anther tip smooth. Styles free to the base, or connate below.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Caryopsis with adherent pericarp; oblong; dorsally compressed; 1.5 mm long.
Distribution
Africa: northeast tropical, east tropical, and south. Asia-tropical: India.
Reference
Paniceae. FTEA.

[FTEA]

Gramineae, W. D. Clayton, S. M. Phillips & S. A. Renvoize. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1974

Morphology General Habit
Shrubby perennial from a short woody rhizome; culms 30–120 cm. high, much branched, wiry or woody, ascending from a prostrate base.
Morphology Leaves
Leaf-blades flat, folded or rolled, 2–15 cm. long, 1–5 mm. wide, glabrous; sheaths glabrous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Panicle ovate to oblong, 1–3(–5) cm. long, very dense, the culm perfectly smooth below the panicle; rhachis with angular ribs below the closely spaced scars, scaberulous; involucre enclosing 1 sessile spikelet, the base obconical or with a very short oblong stipe; bristles glabrous, the longest 4–10 mm., usually in two whorls.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets oblong, 3–4.5 mm. long; lower lemma 1/3–1/2, the upper 2/3 to as long as the spikelet; lemmas similar in texture, acute to subulate, the lower ♂ or barren.
Habitat
Open deciduous bushland and semi-desert grassland, often in overgrazed places; occurs on a wide range of soil types, but prefers plains with impeded drainage, particularly black clays; 0–2100 m.
Distribution
K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 U1

Native to:

Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, Northern Provinces, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda

Introduced into:

India

Cenchrus mezianus (Leeke) Morrone appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Oct 27, 2008 Crawford, F. [190], Namibia Pennisetum mezianum K000450392
Uhlig [1076], Tanzania Pennisetum mezianum K000281223 isosyntype
Kassner [584], Kenya Pennisetum mezianum K000281224 isotype
Pearson, H.H.W. [8556], Namibia Pennisetum mezianum K000281269

First published in Ann. Bot. (Oxford) 106: 128 (2010)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R., Nic Lughadha, E., Black, N., Turner, R. & Paton, A. (2021). The World Checklist of Vascular Plants, a continuously updated resource for exploring global plant diversity. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-00997-6 Scientific Data 8: 215.

Literature

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Clayton, W.D. & Renvoize, S.A. (1982). Gramineae Flora of Tropical East Africa 3: 451-898.
  • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds.) (2003). Plants of Southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14.: i-vi, 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • Hedberg, I. & Edwards, S. (eds.) (1995). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea 7: 1-430. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia & The Department of Systematic Botany, Upps.
  • Karthikeyan, S., Jain, S.K., Nayar, M.P. & Sanjappa, M. (1989). Florae Indicae Enumeratio: Monocotyledonae: 1-435. Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta.

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

GrassBase - The Online World Grass Flora
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