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This species is accepted, and its native range is Tanzania.


Gardner, L.R., Weber, O. & Simpson, D.A. 2014. Cyperus beentjei, a new species of Cyperaceae from Tropical East Africa delimited through morphometric analysis. Kew Bulletin 69: 9501. DOI

Least Concern (LC) (IUCN 2001). Extent of occurrence (EOO) is much greater than the vulnerable threshold (<2,000 km2) in the threatened category. Furthermore, a number of the specimens examined were collected from protected forest reserve areas, so we can infer that the habitat will not decline in quality.
Africa: South-western Tanzania (Iringa, Mbeya and Songea districts) to north-eastern Zambia (Abercorn, Chinsali and Luapula districts) (Map 1).
A plant growing in shaded areas, in or on the edge of forests and often near water; alt. 1350 – 1900 m.
Morphology General Habit
Perennial, rhizomatous, to 150 cm tall; culms few to many, 18 – 62 (– 138) cm long, 1 – 5 mm wide, culm trigonous to triquetrous, smooth or sometimes minutely barbed near apex of culm
Morphology Leaves
Leaves to 70 cm long; leaf sheath light brownish-red with red dots and occasionally red-veined, 5.5 – 17 (– 40) cm long; leaf blade linear, flat, longitudinal veins clearly visible, 6 – 59 cm long, 2 – 6 mm wide, apex acuminate to acute, sometimes barbed to scabrid on midrib and margins
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 3; stigma branches 3; anthers 0.9 – 1.6 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlets light brown to dark-reddish brown, ovoid to obovoid, trigonous, (0.6 –) 0.9 – 1.1 × (0.5 –) 0.7 – 0.9 mm, smooth to minutely papillose
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence anthelate, primary branches 4 – 19, 1 – 18 (– 32) cm long, secondary branches 4 – 57 mm long, tertiary branching sometimes present; spikelets in digitate terminal clusters, sessile and at the end of primary, secondary and tertiary branches, 3 – 7 per cluster, linear-lanceolate, 6 – 15 mm long, (1.1 –) 1.4 – 2.9 mm wide, rachis usually straight to flexuous, (5 –) 10 – 14 (– 16)-flowered; glumes light brown to dark reddish-brown, ovate-lanceolate, (1.7 –) 2.0 – 3.4 mm long, 0.8 – 1.6 mm wide, green excurrent midrib
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Involucral bracts 2 – 3, leaf-like, spreading, the lowermost 3 – 38 cm long, 1.5 – 6 mm wide, barbed towards the apex
Cyperus beentjei can be recognised by several key characteristics. Compared to C. glaucophyllus, C. pseudoleptocladus and C. fischerianus, C. beentjei has longer primary and secondary branching. Primary branches are up to 32 cm long in C. beentjei, whereas they are only up to 17 cm long in the other species. Nutlets also tend to be wider than 0.7 mm, compared to the other three species whose nutlets are narrower than 0.7 mm. Leaves of C. beentjei are also generally smaller in length and width (6 – 59 cm long and 2 – 6 mm wide, compared to the other species which range from 22 – 130 cm long and 4 – 16 mm wide). In contrast, leaf sheaths can be much longer compared to the other three species, up to 40 cm long in C. beentjei compared to just 27 cm in the other species. Geographically, C. beentjei lies in a distinct band across north-eastern Zambia and south-western Tanzania, where specimens of the other three species rarely occur. C. beentjei is also found within a narrower altitude range when compared to the other three species. This species was named in honour of Henk Beentje. Henk was the final editor for Flora of Tropical East Africa and contributed to the Cyperus account. His note under C. glaucophyllus was the key starting point for this study, so it seems right that this species should be named after him. Similar to Cyperus glaucophyllus, except leaf sheaths 5 – 17 (– 40) cm (not 2 – 11 cm, as in C. glaucophyllus); nutlets 0.9 – 1.1 × 0.7 – 0.9 mm (not 1.3 – 1.8 × 0.4 – 0.6 mm, as in C. glaucophyllus).
Type: Tanzania, Iringa Distr., Great North Road, Sao Hill, 61 ml. S of Iringa, fl. 12 March 1962, Polhill & Paulo 1714 (holotype K!).

Native to:


Cyperus beentjei L.R.Gardner & O.Weber appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Kew Bull. 69(2)-9501: 6 (2014)

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. Scientific Data 8: 215.


Kew Bulletin

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  • Haines, R. W. & Lye, K. A. (1983). The Sedges and Rushes of East Africa. East African Natural History Society, Nairobi.
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  • Hammer, Ø. & Harper, D. (2006). Paleontological data analysis. Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Hoenselaar, K., Verdcourt, B. & Beentje, H. J. (2010). Cyperaceae. In: H. J. Beentje (ed.), Flora of Tropical East Africa. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • IUCN (2001). IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. IUCN Species Survival Commission. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
  • Kükenthal, G. (1935 – 36). Cyperaceae-Scirpoideae-Cypereae. In: A. Engler (ed.), Das Pflanzenreich IV. 20 (Heft 101). W. Engelmann, Leipzig.
  • Larridon, I., Reynders, M., Huygh, W., Bauters, K., Van de Putte, K., Muasya, A. M., Boeckx, P., Simpson, D. A., Vrijdaghs, A. & Goetghebeur, P. (2011b). Affinities in C3 Cyperus lineages (Cyperaceae) revealed using molecular phylogenetic data and carbon isotope analysis. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 167: 19 – 46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  • eMonocot (2013). eMonocot: An online resource for monocot plants. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 July 2013]

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Kew Bulletin
Kew Bulletin

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.