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This species is accepted, and its native range is Tropical & S. Africa, Madagascar, Indo-China.
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


Cyperaceae, Miss S. S. Hooper. Flora of West Tropical Africa 3:2. 1972

Morphology General Habit
Slender plant
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
A greenish inflorescence and smooth outline to the spikelets
Rice fields and other marshy ground.


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

Type: Angola, Huila, around Lopollo and Minono, Welwitsch 1678 & 6773 (BM, syn.)
Morphology General Habit
Annual with small root-system.
Morphology Stem
Stem 1–20 cm long, 0.3–0.6 mm across, triangular or rounded with deep furrows
Morphology Leaves
Leaves linear, 2–8 cm long (up to ± half as long as the stem) and 0.5–1 mm wide, flat or channeled when dry, often with small reddish dots
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Involucre bracts few. Leaf-like, 1–6 cm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence yellowish brown or greybrown, ellipsoid, 2–6 mm across, usually consisting of 2–5 clustered rounded spikes.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes green and reddish brown, tubular with widening upper part, 1–2.3 mm long, apex ± truncate with central triangular apex or 3-pointed, enclosing the nutlet.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelet bracts hyaline, 1–2 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamen 1, lateral.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Style
Style deeply 3-cleft
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlet triangular, obovoid, 0.7–1 × 0.4 mm, minutely papillose.
Boggy ground and seepage zones in woodland zone; 950–1800 m
Least concern (LC).
Haines & Lye say this taxon occurs in Uganda (Kapchorwa) but I have seen no specimens from there, and they do not cite any. Several varieties are brought into synonymy here; the differences were based on the tip of the glumes: in var. echinata up to 1 mm long, in var. microcuspis shorter than usual; I have seen specimens where in a single head the glume beak can differ from short (0.4 mm) to proper echinata-long (1 mm). I believe there is enough variability in this to merge the taxa. Var. cylindrica is similarly brought into synonymy as the difference with the main taxon is in the upper margin of the glumes being unthickened – this has only been seen in a single specimen.
Flora districts: U (see Note)T4 T7 T8 Range: From Senegal to Central African Republic and Congo-Kinshasa and south to Zimbabwe and Namibia

Native to:

Angola, Cameroon, Central African Repu, Chad, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Cyperus ascopusillus Goetgh. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Hooper, S.S. [1927], Tanzania Ascolepis pusilla var. echinata K000416401 holotype
Dec 1, 1988 Milne-Redhead, E. [11202], Tanzania Ascolepis pusilla var. cylindrica K000416399 Unknown type material
Robinson, E.A. [2815], Zambia Ascolepis pusilla var. microcuspis K000416419 Unknown type material
Jan 1, 1995 Chantaranothai, P. [ 1652], Thailand Ascolepis pusilla K000595228
Nov 1, 1888 Barter [761], Nigeria Ascolepis pusilla K000416391

First published in Phytotaxa 166: 36 (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 Backbone Distributions

  • Browning, J. & al. (2020). Flora Zambesiaca 14: 1-455. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Brunel, J.F., Hiepo, P. & Scholz, H. (eds.) (1984). Flore Analytique du Togo Phanérogames: 1-751. GTZ, Eschborn.
  • Catarino, L., Sampaio Martins, E., Pinto-Basto, M.F. & Diniz, M.A. (2006). Plantas Vasculares e Briófitos da Guiné-Bissau: 1-298. Instituto de investigação científica tropical, Instituto Português de apoio ao desenvolvimento.
  • 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

Flora of West Tropical Africa
Flora of West Tropical Africa

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

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 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.