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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 22 | Poaceae

138. Sporobolus R. Brown, Prodr. 169. 1810.

鼠尾粟属 shu wei su shu

Authors: Zhen-lan Wu & Sylvia M. Phillips

Annuals or perennials, tufted or sometimes with creeping rhizomes or stolons. Leaf blades flat or rolled, linear to narrowly lanceolate; ligule a line of hairs. Inflorescence an open or contracted panicle, rarely spikelike. Spikelets with 1 floret, subterete, not compressed or keeled, glabrous; rachilla disarticulating above glumes; glumes usually shorter than lemma, unequal, membranous, deciduous or persistent, 1-veined or veinless, apex obtuse, acute or acuminate; lemma elliptic to narrowly ovate, thinly membranous, 1–3-veined, glabrous, rounded on back, awnless; palea equaling or shorter than lemma, depressed between veins and often splitting lengthways as grain grows. Stamens 2–3. Grain globose to ellipsoid, rounded or truncate, pericarp free, commonly swelling when wet and expelling the grain, which often adheres to spikelet apex. x = 9, 12.

About 160 species: tropics and subtropics, extending into warm-temperate regions; eight species (one introduced) in China.

Most species of this genus in China are fodder plants. The culms are used for weaving.

A specimen (H. Y. Liang 64044, US) collected from sandy soil near the seashore of Hainan appears to be Sporobolus gloeoclados Cope (Kew Bull. 47: 656. 1992), from SW Asia, and is presumably an introduction.

1 Annual   (2)
+ Perennial   (4)
2 (1) Panicle linear, spikelike; lower margins of leaf blades pectinate with long tubercle-based bristles.   1 S. pilifer
+ Panicle ovate, open; lower margins of leaf blades not pectinate   (3)
3 (2) Panicle branches whorled; spikelets 1–1.4 mm.   2 S. coromandelianus
+ Panicle branches not whorled; spikelets 0.8–1 mm.   3 S. tenuissimus
4 (1) Lower glume 2/3–4/5 spikelet length; upper glume as long as the spikelet; leaf blades involute to acicular, 3–11 cm   (5)
+ Lower glume less than 1/2 spikelet length; upper glume 1/2–2/3 spikelet length; leaf blades linear, 15–50 cm   (6)
5 (4) Plant with long tough rhizomes; leaf blades stiff, pungent; panicle gray-green, dense, branches appressed.   4 S. virginicus
+ Plant tufted; leaf blades linear-acicular; panicle purplish, slightly lax, branches slightly spreading.   5 S. hancei
6 (4) Lowermost panicle branches whorled, glandular.   S. gloeoclados (see note above)
+ Lowermost panicle branches not whorled   (7)
7 (6) Panicle linear, dense, branches often appressed.   6 S. fertilis
+ Panicle effuse or laxly contracted, branches spreading   (8)
8 (7) Panicle contracted, up to 5 cm wide, spikelets crowded; stamens usually 2.   7 S. diandrus
+ Panicle up to 20 cm wide, spikelets scattered; stamens 3.   8 S. wallichii

Lower Taxa


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