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Published In: Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae 169–170. 1810. (Prodr.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
General/Distribution: A genus of about 150 species mainly in the tropics and subtropics, with some species extending to warm temperate regions; 10 species occur in Pakistan.
Comment/Acknowledgements: A large genus not divisible into well defined sections, although clusters of closely allied species are readily apparent. Within the clusters, and to a lesser extent between them, the boundaries between species are seldom clear-cut, and the occurrence of intermediates appears to be the rule rather than the exception.


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Annuals or perennials. Culms usually erect. Inflorescence a panicle, open or contracted, rarely spiciform, exserted from the uppermost sheath, the branches whorled or not. Spikelets small, fusiform, nearly always glabrous, awnless; palea 2-nerved. Fruit rounded or truncate at the tip, not beaked, the pericarp commonly swelling when wetted and ejecting the seed.

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1 Panicle branches in whorls; panicle open or sometimes loosely contracted (2)
+ Panicle branches not whorled, or with a single whorl at the base (5)
2 (1) Perennial (3)
+ Annual Sporobolus coromandelianus
3 (2) Not or rarely a desert grass; leaves glaucous or green, flat or loosely inrolled, stiff or soft, attenuate but not pungent (4)
+ Harsh tussocky desert grass; leaves glaucous, involute, stiff and pungent Sporobolus arabicus
4 (3) Grass of dryish or seasonally wet soils in the plains; leaves green, soft, flat; spikelets 1.5-2.2 mm long Sporobolus ioclados
+ Coastal grass; leaves glaucous, stiff, flat or loosely inrolled; spikelets 2.2-2.6(3) mm long Sporobolus kentrophyllus
5 (1) Panicle dense, spike-like or with the spikelets clustered about the whole length of the primary branches; lateral pedicels 0.1-0.5 mm long, stout, appressed (6)
+ Panicle loose and diffuse, or if with the spikelets clustered then the base of the primary branches bare (8)
6 (5) Leaf-blades often involute, pungent; lower glume 3/5- 4/5 as long as the spikelet (7)
+ Leaf-blades flat, not pungent; lower glume as long as the spikelet Sporobolus helvolus
7 (6) Spikelets 1.9-2.5 mm long; leaf-blades up to 10 cm long and 4 mm wide; grain subglobose Sporobolus virginicus
+ Spikelets 1.4-2.1 mm long; leaf-blades up to 3 cm long (rarely as long as 5 cm) and 0.4-1.7 mm wide; grain broadly oblong Sporobolus tremulus
8 (5) Panicle diffuse, at least at maturity (9)
+ Panicle contracted, subspiciform, interrupted Sporobolus tourneuxii
9 (8) Spikelets 1.7-2.1 mm long, scattered; glumes acute; grain ellipsoid Sporobolus nervosus
+ Spikelets 1.2-1.6 mm long, rather crowded; glumes obtuse; grain oblong, truncate at the tip Sporobolus diander
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