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The grass genera of the world

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

Cathariostachys Dransfield

~ Cephalostachyum, Ochlandra

Habit, vegetative morphology. Perennial; rhizomatous. Culms 700–1500 cm high; solitary. woody and persistent; to 8(–12) cm in diameter; cylindrical; branched above. Buds from which the primary culm branches arise 1. Primary branches 4–20 (with one dominant). The branching dendroid. Culm leaf sheaths present; persistent; conspicuously auriculate (at least in in C. madagascariensis). Culm leaves with conspicuous blades. Culm leaf blades in C. madagascariensis, ovate, or triangular. Culm internodes hollow. Unicaespitose. Rhizomes elongated, pachymorph. Leaves auriculate, or non-auriculate (see illustration of C. capitata); with auricular setae, or without auricular setae. Leaf blades linear-lanceolate; broad; apically attenuated to filiform, 4–26 cm long, 11–40 mm wide; basally symmetrical or asymmetrical; pseudopetiolate. Ligule an unfringed membrane; 1 mm long. Contra-ligule absent.

Reproductive organization. Plants bisexual, all with bisexual spikelets; with hermaphrodite florets. The spikelets hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence. Inflorescence determinate; without pseudospikelets; a bractiferous synflorescence; contracted; globose, 1.3–5 cm long; spatheate; a complex of ‘partial inflorescences’ and intervening foliar organs (with budless, glumaceous subtending bracts to 4 mm long).

Female-fertile spikelets. Spikelets morphologically ‘conventional’ to unconventional; 13–22 mm long; lanceolate; compressed laterally; disarticulating above the glumes; disarticulating between the florets; with conventional internode spacings. Rachilla prolonged beyond the uppermost female-fertile floret (the c. 1 mm extension hairy); the rachilla extension naked.

Glumes several (3–5); shorter than the spikelets; shorter than the adjacent lemmas; hairy to hairless; setaceously attennuate, similar. Lower glume 2–5 nerved, or 7 nerved. Upper glume 7 nerved, or 11–13 nerved. Spikelets with female-fertile florets only; without proximal incomplete florets.

Female-fertile florets 1. Lemmas lanceolate; not becoming indurated; entire; pointed (attenuate); hairy (at least above, pilose or hairy below); non-carinate (?); 13–15 nerved. Palea present; convolute around the flower; apically notched (dentate); awnless, without apical setae; several nerved (8 or 14–16). Palea back hairy (pilose). Lodicules absent. Stamens 6. Anthers not penicillate; without an apically prolonged connective. Ovary in C. capitata, apically hairy; without a conspicuous apical appendage. Stigmas 3.

Fruit, embryo and seedling. Fruit medium sized (about 7 mm long in C. capitata); stipitate, oblong; longitudinally grooved. Hilum long-linear. Pericarp fused. Embryo with a basal plumule, small. Endosperm hard; farinose.

Classification. Watson & Dallwitz (1994): not described separately. Soreng et al. (2015): Bambusoideae; Bambusodae; Bambuseae; Hickeliinae. 2 species (C. capitata, C. madagascariensis).

Distribution, phytogeography, ecology. Africa, western Indian Ocean.

References, etc. Morphological/taxonomic: Clayton et al. (2016), Grassbase.

Special comments. Fruit data wanting. Anatomical data wanting. Illustrations. • C. capitata, as Bambusa: Trinius, Species Graminum (1836). • C. capitata, with 3 Ochlandra spp. (Camus, 1913). • Abbreviations for Camus (1913) figures


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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