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Published In: Species Plantarum 2: 1049. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/22/2009)


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61. Cenchrus L.

(DeLisle, 1963)

Plants with C4 photosynthesis, annual or perennial, forming tufts or clumps. Flowering stems spreading or ascending from spreading bases, somewhat flattened (circular in cross‑section elsewhere), glabrous. Leaf sheaths glabrous or sparsely hairy, especially along the margins, keeled, the ligule 0.5–1.5 mm long, a minute membrane with a hairy margin. Leaf blades flat, roughened and sometimes also sparsely hairy. Inflorescences dense, narrow spikes (actually spikelike panicles) the spikelets appearing as clusters along the main axis. Clusters (short branches) with (1)2–4 spikelets, subtended by numerous retrorsely barbed bristles and sometimes also flattened spines, these fused only at the very base or to above the middle and forming a spiny, burlike cluster, the cluster shed intact as a unit, including the bristles and spines. Spikelets without a cuplike ring or knoblike disk at the base. Lower glume lanceolate to ovate, sharply pointed at the tip, awnless, 1‑nerved. Upper glume shorter than the rest of the spikelet, ovate, not inflated, sharply pointed at the tip, awnless, 1–5‑nerved, glabrous. Lowermost floret sterile or staminate, the lemma shorter than to about as long as the rest of the spikelet, lanceolate to ovate, tapered to a beaklike, sharply pointed tip, awnless, 3–7‑nerved, glabrous. Fertile (perfect) floret with the lemma lanceolate to ovate, tapered to a beaklike, sharply pointed tip, awnless, 3‑ or 5‑nerved, glabrous, relatively thin, but firm and somewhat thicker in texture than the glumes and sterile lemma, glabrous, the margins relatively flat and only slightly wrapped around the palea and fruit. Paleas glabrous or roughened, about as long as and similar in texture to the lemma, 2‑nerved. Fruits broadly oblong‑ovate in outline, yellowish brown. About 20 species, nearly worldwide, mostly in tropical and subtropical regions, but most diverse in the Americas.


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1 Clusters of spikelets not burlike at maturity, subtended by stout bristles, these united only at the base 1 Cenchrus ciliaris
+ Clusters of spikelets burlike at maturity, subtended by stout bristles and flattened spines, these united to above the middle 2 Cenchrus longispinus
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