Sacciolepis N.L. Britton, Manual 89 (1901).
Derivation:. From Greek sakkion (small bag) and lepis (scale), alluding to the shape of the upper glume.
Key references (keys and floras):. C.A.Gardner, Flora of Western Australia 1 Gramineae 262–264 (1952); E.E.Henty, Manual Grasses New Guinea 168–169 (1969); J.W.Vickery, Flora of New South Wales, Gramineae 19: 187–189 (1975); M.Lazarides, Tropical Grasses S.E. Asia 139–140 (1980); J.C.Tothill and J.B.Hacker, Grasses of Southern Queensland 366–367(1983); R.D.Webster, Australian Paniceae 200–202 (1987); B.K.Simon, Key to Australian Grasses 154 (1993); S.W.L.Jacobs and T.A.James, Flora of New South Wales 4: 489 (1993); E.Edgar and H.E.Connor, Flora of New Zealand 5: 580–581 (2000); D.Sharp and B.K.Simon, AusGrass (2002); S.W.L.Jacobs, R.D.B.Whalley & D.J.B.Wheeler, Grasses of New South Wales, 4th ed, 363–364 (2008).
W.D.Clayton & S.A.Renvoize, Genera Graminum (1986), genus (465).
Native. 30 species, from tropical and subtropical regions. 2 species in Australia, WA, NT, Qld, and NSW. Also New Guinea, Malesia and New Zealand.
Habit. Annual or perennial, rhizomatous or stoloniferous or tufted or decumbent. Leaf blades narrow. Ligule an unfringed membrane to a fringed membrane.
Inflorescence. Inflorescence paniculate (with filiform branches), a spike-like panicle, open (rarely) or contracted (usually spicate).
Spikelets. Spikelets laterally compressed to subterete (gibbous, often oblique), 2 flowered, with 1 fertile floret, solitary, shortly pedicelled. Fertile spikelets with lower incomplete floret(s), elliptic or lanceolate or ovate, falling with glumes.
Glumes. Glumes unequal, (the upper) about equal to spikelet (the lower 1/5 to 3/4 as long), (the longer) long relative to adjacent lemmas, awnless, dissimilar (both membranous or hyaline, prominently ribbed, the upper generally more or less inflated and gibbous). Lower glume 3–7 nerved. Upper glume distinctly saccate, 5–13 nerved.
Florets. Lower incomplete floret(s) male (rarely), or sterile. Lemmas less gibbous than the upper glume, otherwise more or less resembling it, awnless, 7 nerved, exceeding fertile lemmas (about equalling u.g.), less firm than fertile lemmas, not becoming indurated. Fertile florets 1 (laterally compressed). Lemmas acute, strongly convex, decidedly firmer than glumes (papery to subcrustaceous), smooth, becoming indurated to not becoming indurated, white in fruit, entire at apex, pointed, muticous, with a clear germination flap, 3 nerved or 5 nerved (obscurely so), glabrous (glossy), having flat margins not tucked into palea (but the margins not hyaline) or having margins tucked into palea. Palea relatively long, entire, textured like lemma, indurated or not indurated, 2 nerved. Lodicules 2. Stamens 3. Grain small, compressed dorsiventrally. Hilum short. Embryo large.
Kranz Anatomy. C3.
2n = 16, 18, 36, and 45, 2, 4, and 5 ploid.
Habitat. Hydrophytic to helophytic. In or near water or in wet places. Species of open habitats.
Classification. Panicoideae; Paniceae.
Notes. Recognised by its spiciform inflorescence. The few species with an open panicle could be mistaken for Panicum, but have gibbous ribbed spikelets characteristic of Sacciolepis (Clayton & Renvoize, 1986).
Types Species. S. gibbosa (S.Elliot) Nash.
Biogeographic Element. Clifford & Simon 1981, Simon & Jacobs 1990: Gondwanan.