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The grass genera of the world

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

Valiha S. Dransfield

~ Ochlandra

Habit, vegetative morphology. Perennial; rhizomatous. Culms 600–1000 cm high; erect, woody and persistent; to of V. diffusa, 10 cm in diameter; branched above. Buds from which the primary culm branches arise 1. Primary branches 11–20; clumped. The branching dendroid. Culm leaf sheaths present. Culm internodes hollow. Rhizomes elongated, pachymorph. Leaves auriculate. Leaf blades apically attenuate, lanceolate; broad; 4.5–8 cm long, 9–15 mm wide; pseudopetiolate. Ligule a fringed membrane. Contra-ligule absent.

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

Inflorescence. Inflorescence determinate; seemingly without pseudospikelets (?); (synflorescence) paniculate; bractiferous; a complex of ‘partial inflorescences’ and intervening foliar organs.

Female-fertile spikelets. Spikelets morphologically ‘conventional’ to unconventional; (3–)12–35 mm long; linear; compressed laterally to not noticeably compressed; disarticulating above the glumes; with conventional internode spacings, or with a distinctly elongated rachilla internode between the glumes. Rachilla prolonged beyond the uppermost female-fertile floret, or terminated by a female-fertile floret. Hairy callus if present, absent.

Glumes persisent, several (5–6); shorter than the spikelets; hairy, or hairless; pointed (acute or setaceously attenuate); non-carinate; chartaceous, very dissimilar to similar. Lower glume 9 nerved, or 15 nerved. Upper glume 19 nerved, or 23–27 nerved. Spikelets with female-fertile florets only; without proximal incomplete florets.

Female-fertile florets 1. Lemmas lanceolate; chartaceous, similar in texture to the glumes; unwrinkled, without grooves, smooth; not becoming indurated; entire; pointed (acute to acuminate); awnless; hairy, or hairless; non-carinate; 21 nerved, or 29–41 nerved ( ). Palea present; convolute around the flower; dentate; awnless, without apical setae; chartaceous, textured like the lemma; not indurated; of V. diffusa several nerved (actually many - 16–22). Lodicules present; 3; membranous; acute, not toothed. Stamens 6. Ovary without a conspicuous apical appendage. Stigmas 3.

Fruit, embryo and seedling. Fruit medium sized to large (about 10 mm long); oblong. Pericarp tardily free. Embryo with a basal plumule.

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

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

Economic aspects. Used for construction work and for making musical instruments.


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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