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Pakistan | Family List | Poaceae | Panicum

Panicum turgidum Forssk., Fl. Aegypt.-Arab. 18. 1775. Boiss., Fl. Or. 5:441. 1884; Duthie, Fodder Grasses 13. 1888; Hook.f., Fl. Brit Ind. 7:44. 1896; Blatter & McCann, Bombay Grasses 156. 1935; Sultan & Stewart, Grasses W. Pak. 1:24. 1958; Bor, Grasses Burma Ceyl. Ind. Pak. 331. 1960; Bor in Towns., Guest & Al-Rawi, Fl. Iraq 9:490. 1968; Bor in Rech. f., Fl. Iran. 70: 474. 1970.

Glaucous suffruticose perennial forming bushes 40-100(-200) cm high and often as much through; culms erect or ascending, woody, usually dichotomously branched at the nodes, sometimes also forming fastigiate tufts of branches. Leaf-blades linear-lanceolate, (0.5)2-15 cm long, 16 mm wide, flat, folded or convolute, glabrous and glaucous, stiff and pungent, often much shorter than their sheath. rarely filiform and up to 30 cm long. Panicle subpyramidal, 2.5-15(-30) cm long, lax, the branches distant and eventually spreading, spiculate to the base. Spikelets ovoid, (3.1-)3.4-4.4(-5) mm long, glabrous, acute or acuminate, turgid and often widely gaping at anthesis; lower glume broadly ovate, three-quarters to almost as long as the spikelet, 5-9-nerved; upper glume 7-9-nerved; lower lemma 9-11-nerved, its palea almost as long; upper lemma pallid or yellowish, smooth and shining.

Fl. & Fr. Per.: April-May.

Type: Egypt, Forsskal (C).

Distribution: Pakistan (Sind & Baluchistan); from Somalia westward through Ethiopia and the Sudan to Morocco, and eastwards from Egypt through Arabia and southern Jordan to Pakistan.

Panicum turgidum is a desert grass forming low rounded bushes which sometimes break off at ground level and roll before the wind in the manner of a tumbleweed. It has few leaves but the sterns are very palatable and frequently heavily grazed, being particularly relished by cattle and camels.


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  • Illustration (J.C.W.)
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