Pedicelled spikelet reduced to a filiform, hairy, barren pedicel somewhat shorter than sessile spikelet, occasionally with a spikelet similar to a sessile spikelet on same inflorescence. x= 10 (polyploidy).
Species +/- 20, mainly tropical and subtropical America and Africa; 2 in sthn Afr., N Namibia and N Botswana, northern provinces of South Africa to Swaziland and N KwaZulu-Natal.
Annual or perennial, tufted, stoloniferous, usually creeping, rooting at nodes; culms and overlapping leaf sheaths usually compressed, abruptly contracted at base, often grouped in a fan-shaped arrangement; ligule a narrow, fringed membrane. Inflorescence mostly terminal, spike-like, secund, of several to many short racemes embedded in cavities in a thickened central axis, each raceme bearing up to 8 spikelets on a rachis that is usually produced beyond upper spikelet to a subulate tip; spikelets sessile to shortly pedicelled, falling entire at maturity or together with adjacent internode of central axis; lower glume abaxial. Spikelet dorsiventrally compressed, lanceolate or ovate, plump, awnless; glumes very unequal, dissimilar, membranous, awnless; lower glume generally shorter than spikelet, nerveless; upper glume similar to lower or +/- as long as spikelet, 5-9-nerved. Florets 2; lower floret male or sterile; lemma chartaceous to coriaceous, acute or acuminate, 3-9-nerved; palea well developed; upper floret bisexual; lemma firmer than glumes, not becoming indurated, similar to lower but smaller, faintly 3-5-nerved, glabrous, entire, margins inrolled and covering palea but leaving tip free, awnless; palea usually indurated, 2-nerved. Lodicules 2. Stamens 3. Ovary glabrous; styles free, plumose above. Caryopsis lanceolate to oblong, plano-convex. x= 9 (polyploidy).
Species 7, tropics and subtropics; 2 in sthn Afr.: Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze mainly along coast from KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape to Western Cape with records in eastern Caprivi (Namibia) and S Mpumalanga; S. dimidiatum (L.) Brongn. sporadic in N KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.
Perennial (sometimes short-lived) or annual, densely tufted, sometimes shrubs or dwarf shrubs, erect to geniculate, often with a well developed knotty rhizomatous base. Leaf blade usually long and narrow; ligule a dense fringe of hairs. Inflorescence a narrow or open panicle, sometimes spike-like, often interrupted; spikelets solitary or in fascicles, pedicelled. Spikelet disarticulating above glumes; glumes +/- equal or unequal, narrow, as long as to longer than spikelet, 3-11-nerved, glabrous or hairy, obtuse to acuminate, awnless; lower glume usually 3-nerved. Floret 1, bisexual; lemma narrow, cylindrical, firmer than glumes, ventrally grooved or margins involute, indurated at maturity, 3-awned, appearing as 1 awn with 3 branches due to fusion, rarely solitary as laterals reduced; awns with or without a column, all, or only central awn plumose or with a pencil of hairs at apex of column, articulation present at or above middle of lemma or between base of column and body of lemma, or 0; callus well developed, pungent or minutely bifid, usually oblique, bearded or glabrous; palea usually much less than half as long as lemma, indurated, 2-nerved, glabrous. Lodicules usually 2, or 0, obtuse. Stamens 3. Ovary glabrous; styles free, plumose above. x= 11 (polyploidy).
Species +/- 50, Africa, NW India and SW Asia; 29 in sthn Afr., widespread.
Perennial, tufted, often rooting at nodes. Culms slender, ascending, geniculate, branched. Leaf blade linear, expanded; ligule a fringed membrane or a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence a solitary, terminal, contracted panicle, branches appressed to central axis, each branch disarticulating with a spikelet; spikelets solitary, surrounded by a ring of short hairs at base, subtended by a long, robust, awn-like bristle, supported on a long, pungent callus beneath spikelet, callus constituting stipe; cleistogamousspikelets resembling normal spikelets except for absence of bristle, occurring at base of inflorescence and hidden in uppermost leaf sheaths. Spikelet dorsiventrally compressed; glumes +/- equal, minute, rarely 0, similar, glabrous, awnless. Florets 2, lower sterile, reduced to a lemma, dorsally flattened, 7-11-nerved, awnless; palea 0; upper floret bisexual; lemma firmer than glumes, similar to lower floret but convex dorsally, 7-nerved, glabrous, margins flat and exposed on palea, acuminate, awnless; palea +/- as long as lemma. Lodicules 2. Stamens 3. Ovary glabrous. x= 9.
Species 2, tropical west Africa, Madagascar, Cuba and Brazil; 1 in sthn Afr.: Paratheriaprostrata Griseb., Namibia, in Okavango River.
Annual or perennial, of various habit. Leaf blade linear-lanceolate or long-linear, expanded or rolled; ligule an unfringed or a fringed membrane or a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence a panicle, open or rarely contracted; spikelets pedicelled. Spikelet lanceolate, oblong, elliptic or almost spherical, usually dorsiventrally compressed, usually falling with glumes; glumes unequal, rarely equal, membranous to hyaline, dissimilar or similar, usually awnless; lower glume usually shorter than spikelet, 0-7-nerved, awnless or minutely awned; upper glume as long as spikelet, 3-14-nerved. Florets 2; lower floret male or sterile; lemma very similar to upper glume, with or without a palea; upper floret bisexual, lemma similar to firmer in texture than glumes, usually becoming indurated, elliptic, ovate-elliptic or rarely oblong, obtuse or subacute, smooth or transversely rugose, glabrous, margins inrolled and clasping edges of palea, awnless; palea similar to and subequalling lemma, often with marginal flaps at base. Lodicules 2, broadly cuneate. Stamens 3. Ovary ellipsoid, glabrous; styles distinct, plumose above. Caryopsis +/- ellipsoid, dorsiventrally compressed. x= 7, 9, 10 (high polyploidy).
Species +/- 470, tropical, subtropical and warm temperate; 42 in sthn Afr., widespread.
Annual or perennial, rhizomatous or stoloniferous, rooting from lower nodes, sometimes floating. Leaf blade expanded or rolled, linear; ligule a fringed membrane to a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence an elongated, secund, false spike consisting of several sessile, spike-like, 1-sided racemes scattered singly on alternate sides and +/- appressed to long central axis; rachis triquetrous or winged, usually ending in an inconspicuous point; spikelets solitary or paired, often in 2 rows, sessile or very shortly pedicelled; abaxial (upper) glume turned away from rachis. Spikelet ovate, dorsiventrally compressed, falling with glumes; glumes unequal, awnless; lower glume a small membranous scale, 1-5-nerved; upper glume up to two-thirds as long as spikelet, 3-11-nerved, membranous. Florets 2; lower floret male or sterile; lemma membranous, +/- oblong-elliptic, rounded dorsally, subacute, 5-7-nerved, awnless; palea thinly membranous, equalling lemma; upper floret bisexual; lemma firmer than glumes, broadly elliptic, rounded dorsally, almost as long as spikelet, glabrous, rugose, entire, margins inrolled and clasping edges of palea, awnless; palea elliptic-lanceolate, acute, tip often briefly reflexed, flat and 2-keeled with margins involute, indurated. Lodicules 2, broadly cuneate, fleshy. Stamens 3. Ovary glabrous; styles connate at base, plumose. Caryopsis ellipsoid, dorsiventrally compressed. x= 9 (polyploidy).
Species +/- 40, warmer regions of both hemispheres; 2 in sthn Afr., N Namibia and Botswana, northern provinces of South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal.
Perennial, stoloniferous, rooting from lower nodes, floating; culms soft, spongy and compressible. Leaf blade expanded, linear, leaf sheaths broad, papery; ligule a very short fringe of hairs. Inflorescence a panicle, somewhat contracted; spikelets solitary, pedicelled, pedicels coarsely scabrid. Spikelet lanceolate, dorsiventrally compressed, falling with glumes and pedicels; glumes very unequal in size, dissimilar in appearance, 3-7-nerved; lower glume usually reduced to an ovate, membranous scale, minutely awned; upper glume lanceolate, as long as spikelet, stiffly membranous, scabrid on nerves, produced at apex into an stiff awn; awn 3 or 4 times as long as body of glume, scabrid. Florets 2; lower floret male, separated from upper floret by a long rachilla internode; lemma lanceolate, membranous, 5-nerved, awned; palea shorter than lemma, subhyaline; upper floret bisexual; lemma similar to, to firmer in texture than glumes, acute, entire, glabrous, 7-nerved, mucronate, margins flat and exposed on palea, palea similar to lemma. Lodicules 2, cuneate. Stamens 3. Ovary ellipsoid, glabrous; style distinct, plumose.
Species 1, southern tropical Africa: Oryzidium barnardii C.E.Hubb. & Schweick., Namibia and N Botswana.
Perennial, tufted; culm erect, branched or simple. Leaf blade linear, rigid or soft, open and flat to rolled; sheaths appressed to culms; ligule a fringe of hairs. Inflorescence a panicle, somewhat contracted; spikelets pedicelled. Spikelet conspicuous, large, lanceolate, laterally compressed, disarticulating above glumes; glumes 15-60 mm long, +/- equal, as long as to longer than spikelet, membranous, lanceolate, 3-5(7)-nerved, minutely scabrid, acuminate, awnless. Florets 2, bisexual; highly reduced third floret rarely present; lemma firmer in texture than glumes, chartaceous to cartilaginous, oblong, dorsally convex, variously hairy, 7-9-nerved, incised, 2-lobed, lobes with bristles or awns; awns not geniculate, central awn from between lobes very long, glabrous, scabrid, geniculate, twisted in lower part; callus elongated, slender, longer than lemma body, hairy; palea glabrous, narrowly lanceolate, apex bifid, 2-keeled, nerves prominent. Lodicules 2, glabrous or sparsely to densely ciliolate. Stamens 3. Ovary glabrous, with apical pseudostigmata; styles short or 0, plumose. Caryopsis surface reticulately sculptured. x = 6.
Species 4, sthn Afr., mountainous areas of Western Cape.
Annual, tufted, erect to prostrate. Leaf blade linear, expanded or rolled, apex acute; ligule an unfringed membrane. Inflorescence a single, slender, +/- curved, rigid, cylindrical spike; spikelets sunk in and closely pressed to rachis, alternating on opposite sides of rachis; spikelets solitary, sessile. Spikelet +/- laterally compressed, falling with glumes and internodes of rachis at maturity; glumes +/- equal, displaced side by side, similar, as long as spikelet, narrow, acute, glabrous, 3-5-nerved, thick and rigid, awnless. Floret 1, bisexual; lemma almost as long as glumes, less firm in texture than glumes, thinly membranous, lanceolate to narrowly ovate, 3-nerved, lateral nerves short, awnless; palea almost as long as lemma, 2-nerved, keels wingless. Lodicules 2. Stamens 3. Ovary glabrous, truncate; styles obsolete, plumose. Caryopsis narrowly ellipsoid. x= 7, 9, 19 (polyploidy).
Species 6, Europe and Asia; 1 naturalised in sthn Afr.: * Parapholis incurva (L.) C.E.Hubb., W Northern Cape and Western Cape.
Perennial, tufted, with woody culms; culm sheath blades narrow. Leaf blade linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, pseudopetiolated, expanded, deciduous from sheath. Inflorescence a dense, spiny, globose cluster of spikelets at tips of leafy branchlets, each spikelet cluster subtended by a short-bladed papery sheath, and individual spikelets subtended by several short papery bracts. Spikelet falling entire at maturity; glumes unequal, 17-30-nerved with cross-nerves connecting them. Florets 1-4; lower florets male or sterile; upper florets bisexual; lemma 11-23-nerved with cross-nerves, apically awned; palea 16-19-nerved. Lodicules usually 0. Stamens 6; filaments united. Ovary glabrous; apical appendage long, stiff and tapering. x= 12 (polyploidy).
Species 1, Africa: Oxytenanthera abyssinica (A.Rich.) Munro, specimens from Northern Province resemble this species vegetatively but until flowering material is obtained the identification will remain tentative.