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The grass genera of the world

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

Sphaerobambos S. Dransfield

Habit, vegetative morphology. Perennial. The flowering culms leafless, or leafy. Culms 400–600 cm high (or up to 10 m long); woody and persistent; to 0.4 cm in diameter, or 5 cm in diameter; cylindrical (?); scandent, or not scandent; branched above. Primary branches 4–20. The branching dendroid. Culm leaf sheaths present; deciduous; where recorded, conspicuously auriculate. Culm leaves with conspicuous blades. Culm leaf blades lanceolate, or ovate. Culm internodes hollow. Rhizomes pachymorph. Plants unarmed. Leaves not basally aggregated; auriculate; with auricular setae. Leaf blades lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate; broad; 10–60 mm wide (and 100–230 mm long); pseudopetiolate; disarticulating from the sheaths; rolled in bud. Contra-ligule absent.

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

Inflorescence. Inflorescence indeterminate; with pseudospikelets; a compound panicle; spatheate; a complex of ‘partial inflorescences’ and intervening foliar organs. Spikelet-bearing axes paniculate. Spikelets not secund; sessile to subsessile.

Female-fertile spikelets. Spikelets 6–8 mm long (S. subtilis), or 15 mm long; oblong, or ovate; compressed laterally; disarticulating above the glumes; disarticulating between the florets. Rachilla prolonged beyond the uppermost female-fertile floret; the rachilla extension with incomplete florets.

Glumes two to several (usually 3); very unequal; shorter than the spikelets; shorter than the adjacent lemmas; pointed to not pointed; awnless (but mucronate); similar. Lower glume of S. hirsuta 7 nerved. Upper glume of S. hirsuta 9 nerved. Spikelets with incomplete florets. The incomplete florets distal to the female-fertile florets. The distal incomplete florets merely underdeveloped. Spikelets seemingly with proximal incomplete florets.

Female-fertile florets 3–5. Lemmas similar in texture to the glumes; not becoming indurated; entire; pointed; awnless, or mucronate; hairless; glabrous (or glabrescent); without a germination flap; 5–9 nerved. Palea present; relatively long (exceeding the lemma); not convolute; tightly clasped by the lemma; entire; awnless, without apical setae; several nerved (in S. subtilis - two between the keels, two outside on each side); 2-keeled. Palea keels winged; hairy (to ciliolate). Lodicules not mentioned in the available descriptions. Stamens 6. Anthers 2.3–2.5 mm long; not penicillate; with the connective apically prolonged. Ovary apically hairy; without a conspicuous apical appendage. Styles fused (into one). Stigmas 3.

Fruit, embryo and seedling. Fruit large (to about 6 mm diameter, where known); subglobose; not noticeably compressed. Hilum short. Pericarp fleshy. Embryo large. Seed ‘non-endospermic’.

Classification. Watson & Dallwitz (1994): Bambusoideae; Bambusodae; Bambuseae. Soreng et al. (2015): Bambusoideae; Bambusodae; Bambuseae; Bambusinae. 3 species.

Distribution, phytogeography, ecology. Malesia.


References, etc. Morphological/taxonomic: Dransfield, S. (1989). Kew Bull. 44, 425–434.

Special comments. Anatomical data wanting. Illustrations. • S. philippinensis, as Guadua: Brown & Fischer (1918), Philippine Bamboos

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: 11th December 2017.’.