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The grass genera of the world

L. Watson, T.D. Macfarlane, and M.J. Dallwitz

Arthropogon Nees

From the Greek arthron (joint) and pogon (beard).

Including Alloparadisium (= A. scabrum, Canastra (= A. lanceolatus)

Excluding Achlaena)

Habit, vegetative morphology. Perennial; caespitose. Culms 60–100 cm high; herbaceous; unbranched above. Culm nodes glabrous. The shoots not aromatic. Leaves mostly basal, or not basally aggregated. Leaf blades linear, or linear-lanceolate; narrow; 1–6(–10) mm wide; setaceous (A. filifolius), or not setaceous; without cross venation. Ligule a fringed membrane, or a fringe of hairs.

Reproductive organization. Plants bisexual, all with bisexual spikelets; with hermaphrodite florets. The spikelets hermaphrodite, or female-only.

Inflorescence. Inflorescence paniculate; open; with capillary branchlets (A. filifolius), or without capillary branchlets; espatheate; not comprising ‘partial inflorescences’ and foliar organs. Spikelet-bearing axes persistent. Spikelets not secund; pedicellate.

Female-fertile spikelets. Spikelets 3–11 mm long; compressed laterally; falling with the glumes. Rachilla terminated by a female-fertile floret. Hairy callus present (not stipitate, by contrast with Achlaena).

Glumes two; very unequal (G2 longer); awned (the G1 subulate); very dissimilar (the lower linear to awnlike, the upper equalling the spikelet, entire, bidentate or bilobed, awned). Lower glume 1 nerved, or 3 nerved. Upper glume 3 nerved, or 5 nerved. Spikelets with incomplete florets. The incomplete florets proximal to the female-fertile florets. Spikelets with proximal incomplete florets. The proximal incomplete florets 1; paleate, or epaleate (e.g. A. scaber); male (e.g. A. filifolius), or sterile. The proximal lemmas awned (A. xerachne), or awnless; 3 nerved, or 5 nerved; decidedly exceeding the female-fertile lemmas; decidedly firmer than the female-fertile lemmas (leathery); not becoming indurated.

Female-fertile florets 1. Lemmas less firm than the glumes (membranous); not becoming indurated; awnless; without a germination flap; 0 nerved, or 1 nerved, or 3 nerved. Palea present, or absent; relatively long to conspicuous but relatively short; awnless, without apical setae; thinner than the lemma, or textured like the lemma (membranous or hyaline); not indurated (scarious); 2-nerved, or nerveless. Lodicules present; 2. Stamens 3. Ovary apically glabrous. Stigmas 2.

Fruit, embryo and seedling. Fruit deciduous with lemma and palea; small to medium sized; chestnut brown in A. villosus. Embryo large.

Abaxial leaf blade epidermis. Costal/intercostal zonation conspicuous. Papillae absent. Mid-intercostal long-cells rectangular; having markedly sinuous walls (conspicuously pitted). Microhairs present; panicoid-type. Stomata common. Subsidiaries mostly triangular. Guard-cells overlapping to flush with the interstomatals. Intercostal short-cells common; in cork/silica-cell pairs; silicified. Intercostal silica bodies crescentic. With large cushion-based macrohairs. Costal short-cells conspicuously in long rows (but the short-cells often rather long, or irregular in length). Costal silica bodies rounded and ‘panicoid-type’; shortly dumb-bell shaped, or nodular (and irregular forms, integrading with potato-shapes, etc.).

Transverse section of leaf blade, physiology. C4. The anatomical organization conventional, or unconventional. Organization of PCR tissue when unconventional, Arundinella type. XyMS+ (? - see photo of A. lanceolatus in Filgueiras 1982), or XyMS– (A. villosus). Mesophyll with radiate chlorenchyma; exhibiting ‘circular cells’, or without ‘circular cells’ (but with many small bundles much reduced in this direction). Midrib not readily distinguishable; with one bundle only. Bulliforms present in discrete, regular adaxial groups, or not present in discrete, regular adaxial groups (then epidermis seemingly extensively bulliform). All the vascular bundles accompanied by sclerenchyma (the small bundles and even some of the colourless groups with small abaxial strands). Combined sclerenchyma girders present; forming ‘figures’ (the primaries with I’s). Sclerenchyma all associated with vascular bundles.

Classification. Watson & Dallwitz (1994): Panicoideae; Panicodae; Paniceae (Arthropogoneae). Soreng et al. (2015): Panicoideae; Panicodae; Paspaleae; Arthropogoninae. 5 species.

Distribution, phytogeography, ecology. Brazil.

Species of open habitats. Savanna.

Rusts and smuts. Rusts — Puccinia.

References, etc. Morphological/taxonomic: Filgueiras 1982. Leaf anatomical: this project for A. villosus; supplemented from photos in Filgueiras 1982.

Special comments. Most of the anatomical description refers to A. villosus, which has been examined directly. A photo of A. lanceolatus in Filgueiras (1982) suggests there is variation in XyMS. Illustrations. • A. villosus: Kunth (1835), Distr. methodique de la famille des Graminées. • A. piptostachyus (as Achlaena): Hitchcock (1936)


We advise against extracting comparative information from the descriptions. This is much more easily achieved using the DELTA data files or the interactive key, which allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, distributions of character states within any set of taxa, geographical distribution, and classifications. See also Guidelines for using data taken from Web publications.


Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., Macfarlane, T.D., and Dallwitz, M.J. 1992 onwards. The grass genera of the world: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval; including synonyms, morphology, anatomy, physiology, phytochemistry, cytology, classification, pathogens, world and local distribution, and references. Version: 13th November 2017. delta-intkey.com/grass’.

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