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

[FTEA]

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

Morphology General Habit
Densely tufted perennial; culms 30–150 cm. high, erect, pubescent to villous below the panicle.
Morphology Leaves
Leaf-blades convolute, 10–35 cm. long, 2–4 mm. wide, hard, prominently nerved.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Panicle linear, 4–12 cm. long, dense; rhachis cylindrical, with rounded ribs and very short almost accrescent peduncle-stumps, scaberulous to pubescent; involucre enclosing 1 sessile spikelet, minutely conical at the base; bristles glabrous to weakly plumose, short, the longest 4–14 mm.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets lanceolate, 2.5–4.5 mm. long, acute to acuminate; lower glume 1/8–1/2, the upper glume (1/8)1/3–2/3(–3/4) as long as the spikelet; lower lemma barren, A to as long as the spikelet (rarely 2/3 as long in South Africa), acute to aristate-acuminate; upper lemma similar to the lower.
Habitat
Upland grassland and glades in upland evergreen forest, often indicative of overgrazed sites; 1500–3100 m.
Distribution
K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 T2 T4 T5 T7

[FZ]

Gramineae, W. D. Clayton. Flora Zambesiaca 10:3. 1989

Morphology General Habit
Densely tufted perennial.
Morphology Culms
Culms 30–150 cm. high, erect, mostly pubescent to villous below the panicle.
Morphology Leaves Leaf lamina
Leaf laminae 2–4 mm. wide, convolute, hard, prominently nerved.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Panicle 4–12 cm. long, linear; rhachis cylindrical with rounded ribs and very short almost accrescent peduncle stumps, scaberulous to pubescent; involucre enclosing 1 sessile spikelet, the base slightly rounded; bristles glabrous to weakly plumose, the longest 4–15 mm.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets 2.5–4.5 mm. long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Inferior glume 1/8–1/2, the superior (1/8)1/3–2/3(3/4) length of spikelet.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Lemma
Inferior lemma 4/5 to as long as spikelet (rarely 2/3 as long in South Africa), tapering gradually to an acute, acuminate or caudate tip. Superior lemma firmly membranous, similar to the inferior.
Inferior
Inferior lemma 4/5 to as long as spikelet (rarely 2/3 as long in South Africa), tapering gradually to an acute, acuminate or caudate tip. Inferior glume 1/8–1/2, the superior (1/8)1/3–2/3(3/4) length of spikelet.
Superior
Superior lemma firmly membranous, similar to the inferior.

[GB]
Morphology General Habit
Perennial; caespitose. Culms erect; 30-150 cm long. Ligule a fringe of hairs. Leaf-blades convolute; 10-35 cm long; 2-4 mm wide; coriaceous; stiff.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a panicle. Peduncle pubescent above, or pilose above. Panicle spiciform; linear; 4-12 cm long. Primary panicle branches accrescent to a central axis; with lateral stumps on axis. Panicle axis with rounded ribs; smooth; glabrous, or pubescent; bearing deciduous spikelet clusters. Spikelets subtended by an involucre. Fertile spikelets sessile; 1 in the cluster. Involucre composed of bristles; oblong; 4-14 mm long; base obconical. Involucral bristles deciduous with the fertile spikelets; numerous; with longest bristle scarcely emergent; 4-14 mm long; terete; flexible; glabrous, or plumose.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets comprising 1 basal sterile florets; 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets lanceolate; dorsally compressed; cuspidate, or acuminate; 2.5-4.5 mm long; falling entire; deciduous with accessory branch structures.
Fertile
Spikelets comprising 1 basal sterile florets; 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets lanceolate; dorsally compressed; cuspidate, or acuminate; 2.5-4.5 mm long; falling entire; deciduous with accessory branch structures.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes dissimilar; shorter than spikelet; thinner than fertile lemma. Lower glume lanceolate, or elliptic; 0.1-0.5 length of spikelet; hyaline; without keels; 0-1 -veined. Lower glume lateral veins absent. Lower glume apex obtuse, or acute. Upper glume elliptic, or ovate; (0.15-)0.33-0.66(-0.75) length of spikelet; membranous; without keels; 1-3 -veined. Upper glume apex acute, or acuminate.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Florets
Basal sterile florets barren; without significant palea. Lemma of lower sterile floret lanceolate; 0.8-1 length of spikelet; membranous; 3-5 -veined; scaberulous; rough above; acute, or setaceously attenuate. Fertile lemma elliptic; 2.5-4.5 mm long; membranous; without keel; 5 -veined. Lemma margins flat. Lemma apex acute, or acuminate; mucronate. Palea membranous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Lodicules 2. Anthers 3; 2-2.5 mm long; anther tip smooth. Styles free to the base.
Distribution
Africa: northeast tropical, east tropical, southern tropical, and south.
Reference
Paniceae. FTEA.

Native to:

Cape Provinces, Comoros, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Free State, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, Malawi, Northern Provinces, Réunion, Swaziland, Tanzania

Cenchrus sphacelatus (Nees) Morrone appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Schimper [287], Ethiopia Pennisetum sphacelatum K000281143 isosyntype
Schimper [287], Ethiopia Pennisetum sphacelatum K000281142 isosyntype
Schimper [287], Ethiopia Pennisetum sphacelatum K000281141 isosyntype
Quartin-Dillon [180], Ethiopia Pennisetum sphacelatum K000281140 isosyntype
Drège, South Africa Pennisetum sphacelatum K000281265 isosyntype
Drège, South Africa Pennisetum sphacelatum K000281263 isosyntype
Buchanan, J. [249], South Africa Pennisetum sphacelatum K000281264 Unknown type material
Rehmann, A. [4490], South Africa Pennisetum sphacelatum K000281266 isotype

First published in Ann. Bot. (Oxford) 106: 129 (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

  • Bosser, J. & Renvoize, S.A. (2018). Flore des Mascareignes 203: 1-276. IRD Éditions, MSIRI, RBG-Kew, Paris.
  • 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.
  • Voeltzkow, A. (1917). Flora und Fauna der Comoren: 428-480.

Flora Zambesiaca
Flora Zambesiaca
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

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