Leptaspis Prodr. 211 (1810).
Derivation:. From Greek leptos (slender) and aspis (shield), referring to the grain being enclosed in a utricle.
Taxonomic revisions, nomenclatural references:. T.R.Soderstrom, R.P.Ellis and E.J.Judziewicz, Smithsonian Contr. Bot. 65:1–27 (1987).
Key references (keys and floras):. G.Bentham, Flora Australiensis 7: 548–549 (1878); E.E.Henty, Manual Grasses New Guinea 120 (1969); M.Lazarides, Tropical Grasses S.E. Asia 188–189(1980); B.K.Simon, Key to Australian Grasses 128 (1993); D.Sharp and B.K.Simon, AusGrass (2002); A.Wilson (ed.), Flora of Australia 44A: Poaceae 2: 6–7 (2009).
W.D.Clayton & S.A.Renvoize, Genera Graminum (1986), genus (71).
Native. 4 species, from tropical west Africa, Mascarene Is., Sri Lanka, Fiji, New Guinea. 1 species in Australia, Qld. Also Malesia.
Habit. Perennial, rhizomatous. Leaf blades broad, pinnately veined (the laterals slanting obliquely from the midrib). Ligule a fringed membrane. Plants monoecious with all fertile spikelets unisexual, male and female-fertile spikelets mixed in inflorescence.
Inflorescence. Inflorescence paniculate, an open panicle with branches ending in single spikelets, open (with 1–3 primary branches at each of (1-) 3–7 nodes), spatheate (the spikelet branchlets often subtended by bracts) or espatheate. Spikelet-bearing axes with heteromorphic spikelets (the male spikelets smaller). Male spikelets with glumes, with proximal incomplete florets, 1 floreted or 2 floreted (?).
Spikelets. Spikelets dorsally compressed, 1 flowered, with 1 fertile floret, solitary, pedicelled (the female pedicels filiform, not clavate); with rachilla terminating in a floret. Fertile spikelets disarticulating above glumes.
Glumes. Glumes minute or relatively large, more or less equal, shorter than adjacent lemmas, pointed (cuspidate), awnless, similar (herbaceous, persistent). Lower glume 1–3 nerved. Upper glume 1–3 nerved.
Florets. Fertile florets 1. Lemmas inflated, sacciform, cochleate, their margins joined to form utricles which are closed save for a lateral pore from which the stigmas emerge, decidedly firmer than glumes, becoming indurated, muticous or mucronate (?), 9 nerved, hairy. Palea apically notched (bidentate), indurated (when mature), 2 nerved. Lodicules when present 2, or 3. Stamens 0 (and no staminodes).
Kranz Anatomy. C3.
2n = 24, 2 ploid.
Habitat. In forest. Shade species.
Classification. Basals; Phareae.
Notes. Leptaspis is an Afro-Asian genus of four species with cochleate, brightly coloured female florets (Judziewicz, 1987).
Types Species. L. banksii R.Br.
Biogeographic Element. Clifford & Simon 1981, Simon & Jacobs 1990: Old World Tropics.