Sporobolus natalensis*

Sporobolus natalensis* (Steud.) Th. Dur. & Schinz. Consp. Fl. Afr. 5: 822 (1894).

Classification. (GPWG 2001) : Subfamily Chloridoideae. Cynodonteae.

Basionym and/or Replacement Name:  Vilfa natalensis Steud., Syn. Pl. Glumac. 1: 154 ( 1854).

Type of Basionym or Protologue Information: HT: Drège s.n., South Africa: Natal: Umzinkulu to Umlomass rivers (P; IT: K).

Key references (books and floras): [2002] D.Sharp & B.K.Simon, AusGrass, Grasses of Australia, [2008] S.W.L.Jacobs, R.D.B.Walley & D.J.B.Wheeler, Grasses of New South Wales (379).

Illustrations: [2008] S.W.L.Jacobs, R.D.B.Whalley & D.J.B.Wheeler, Grasses of New South Wales, 4th edn (378).

Habit. Perennial. Culms erect, 60–150 cm tall. Lateral branches simple. Ligule a fringe of hairs, 0.4 mm long. Leaf-blades linear, flat or conduplicate or convolute, 25–50 cm long, 2–4 mm wide.

Inflorescence. Inflorescence compound, a panicle. Panicle pyramidal, 20–30 cm long, contracted about primary branches.

Spikelets. Spikelets pedicelled. Fertile spikelets 1-flowered, comprising 1 fertile floret(s), without rachilla extension, lanceolate, terete, 1.6–2.3 mm long.

Glumes. Glumes dissimilar. Lower glume oblong, hyaline, without keels, 0–1 -nerved. Upper glume lanceolate or ovate, 0.8–1.3 mm long, membranous, without keels, 1 -nerved.

Florets. Fertile lemma 1.6–2.3 mm long, without keel, 1 -nerved. Palea 2 -nerved. Palea apex entire. Anthers 3. Grain 0.7–0.8 mm long.

Continental Distribution: Africa, Temperate Asia, and Australasia.

Australian Distribution: Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales.

Northern Territory: Darwin & Gulf. Queensland: Cook, Darling Downs, Moreton, Port Curtis, Wide Bay. New South Wales: North Coast, Southern Tablelands, North-Western Slopes.

Notes. Together with S. pyramidalis comprises the pasture grass weed Giant Ratstail Grass.

 Differs from S. pyramidalis by the upper glume being at least half the spikelet length and pointed.

Introduced; mainly from Rockhamton, Qld to Port Macquarie, N.S.W.; a few other records elsewhere; Southern and central Africa and the Pacific region. Flowers Jan.-July, Oct.-Dec.


AVH 2011


Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith