Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
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Electronic Flora of South Australia genus Fact Sheet

Family: Cyperaceae

Citation: Labill., Nov. Holl. Pl. Sp. 1:14 (1805).

Derivation: Greek lepis, lepidos, a scale; sperma, seed; alluding to the hypogynous scales surrounding the nut.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: None

Perennials usually with creeping rhizomes; stems tufted, cylindrical or biconvex or flat or with 1 side concave; leaves all basal, equitant, very similar to the stems in appearance or flatter, gradually acute; lowest bract subtending the panicle with an erect lamina similar in appearance to the leaves but short, the upper bracts under the primary panicle branches more or less glume-like.

Spikelets sessile on the branches of a panicle which is sometimes reduced to a simple or branched spike, with 1 fertile flower and usually 1 or more male flowers below it; glumes spirally imbricate, 1 or more lower ones empty and 1 narrow empty one above the fertile flower; stamens usually 3; style 3-fid, its base much thickened but continuous with the ovary.

Nut ovoid or oblong or somewhat obovoid, obtusely trigonous, crowned by the whitish hemispherical or cushion-like persistent style base; hypogynous scales c. 6, usually small or narrow and hyaline when in flower, but enlarged, thickened, white and almost spongy under the nut, more or less ovate, acute or acuminate.

Distribution:  About 40 species in South East Asia and Australasia. (Key adapted from Willis (1970)A handbook to plants in Victoria). K. Wilson in Jacobs & Pickard (1981) Plants of New South Wales considers that this genus is in need of revision.

Biology: No text

Key to Species:
1. Culms (and often the leaves) tetete or angular or, if slightly flattened, then always less than 1.5 mm wide
2. Axis of the short panicle very flexuose, finally deflexed; spikelets rather few, narrow and diverging widely; glumes obtuse or with a mucro
L. tortuosum 10.
2. Axis of panicle straight or slightly flexed; spikelets often numerous, more or less appressed to the panicle branches; glumes acute to acuminate
3. Panicle becoming blackish, condensed and spike-like; lowest bract rigid, almost pungent, very long, often as long as the inflorescence; all the glumes acuminate
L. carphoides 2.
3. Panicle brown or greyish, elongated or with spreading branches; lowest bract not rigid, usually much shorter than the inflorescence; glumes obtuse or acute, but never long-acuminate
4. Leaves reduced to basal sheaths, with or without short capillary blades
L. semiteres 9.
4. Leaves normal, the blades well developed and conspicuous
5. Leaf blades terete or slightly flattened, with rounded edges; panicle branches short and appressed; hypogynous scales ciliate
L. canescens 1.
5. Leaf blades flat, with thin hyaline edges; panicle branches divergent, rather slender; hypogynous scales glabrous
L. semiteres 9.
1. Culms and leaves distinctly flattened, the former nearly always (except in L. lineare which has only 2-5 spikelets) more than 1.5 mm wide
6. Culms thick, soft, pithy and easily indented (sometimes hollowed), strongly biconvex, without sharp or cutting edges
L. longitudinale 8.
6. Culms hard and solid, either biconvex or with sharp flattened edges and a high central rib, or quite flat on one or both faces
7. Panicle with densely aggregated spikelets, the lowest branch about equal to or shorter than its subtending bract
8. Panicle short, congested and widely pyramidal, subtended by a broadish bract; culms usually more than 4 mm wide
9. Culms usually 1 m long or more, more than 6 mm wide, with a prominent central rib; hypogynous scales very broad, more or less one-third the length of the nut
L. gladiatum 5.
9. Culms less than I m long, less than 6 mm wide, planoconvex; inner hypogynous scales long-acuminate, one-third to half the length of the nut
L. concavum 3.
8. Panicle elongating; culms usually less than 4 mm wide
10. Panicle blackish, interrupted, with the primary branches very short and spikelets in dense golden clusters
L. congestum 4.
10. Panicle brown or greyish, not interrupted; spikelets not in globoid clusters
11. Culms almost flat, often with resinous particles along the edges; subtending bracts rather short and broad
L. viscidum 11.
11. Culms often semiterete; subtending bracts not very long-pointed
L. canescens 1.
7. Panicle with loosely arranged spikelets, the lowest branch usually far exceeding its bract
12. Panicle less than 4 cm long, scarcely higher than the leaves, with very few (usually 2-5) spikelets; culms and leaves less than 30 cm long and to 2 mm wide
L. lineare 7.
12. Panicle more than 4 cm (usually more than 10 cm) long, exceeding the leaves; spikelets numerous; culms and leaves more than 30 cm long and more than 2 mm wide (except in reduced states of L. viscidum)
13. Culms never resinous on the margins; scales lanceolate, a quarter to a half as long as the nut
L. laterale 6.
13. Culms often bearing resinous particles on the edges; scales ovate, less than a quarter of the length of the nut
L. viscidum 11.

Author: Not yet available

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