Plants photographed on Kyffhäuser
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Heteropogon contortus (L.) Roem. & Schult.

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Heteropogon contortus

Image 1
29 Apr 2011

Heteropogon contortus

Image 2
29 Apr 2011

Heteropogon contortus

Image 3
29 Apr 2011

Heteropogon contortus

Image 4
29 Apr 2011

Heteropogon contortus

Image 5
29 Apr 2011

Family: Poaceae
Full name: Heteropogon contortus (L.) Roem. & Schult.
ID status: Fairly certain
Afrikaans common name(s): Assegaaigras, Pylgras, Gewone pylgras
English common name(s): Spear grass, Tanglehead, Common speargrass
Synonym(s): Andropogon contortus L.
Andropogon hispidissimus Steud.
Hemarthria allionii Roem. & Schult.
Heteropogon contortus (L.) Roem. & Schult. var. allionii (Roem. & Schult.) Cuénod
Heteropogon contortus (L.) Roem. & Schult. var. glaber (Pers.) Rendle
Heteropogon contortus (L.) Roem. & Schult. var. maroccanus Maire
Heteropogon glaber Pilg. fide Cat. New World Grasses
Heteropogon hispidissimus A.Rich.
Status: Native
Description: HABIT Perennial; caespitose. Basal innovations intravaginal. Culms erect; 30–100 cm long; 1.5–3 mm diam. Culm-internodes solid. Culm-nodes black. Lateral branches fastigiate. Leaves cauline. Leaf-sheaths keeled. Ligule a fringe of hairs; 1 mm long. Collar glabrous, or pilose. Leaf-blades 3–30 cm long; 2–8 mm wide. Leaf-blade surface ribbed. Leaf-blade apex abruptly acute. INFLORESCENCE Inflorescence composed of racemes. Peduncle antrorsely scabrous above. Racemes 1; single; erect; unilateral; 3–10 cm long. Rhachis fragile at the nodes; glabrous on margins. Rhachis internodes linear. Rhachis internode tip oblique. Spikelets appressed; in pairs. Fertile spikelets sessile; 1 in the cluster. Companion sterile spikelets pedicelled; 1 in the cluster. Pedicels oblong; semiterete; 0.2 length of fertile spikelet. STERILE SPIKELETS Basal sterile spikelets well-developed; 6–34 in number; larger than fertile. Basal sterile spikelet glumes smooth on margins; lower glume muticous. Companion sterile spikelets well-developed; male; lanceolate; asymmetrical; dorsally compressed; 5–15 mm long; longer than fertile; separately deciduous. Companion sterile spikelet callus linear; 2–3 mm long. Companion sterile spikelet glumes chartaceous; eglandular; winged on margins; distinctly veined; smooth, or tuberculate; glabrous, or pubescent, or pilose, or villous; acute; muticous. Companion sterile spikelet lemmas 2; enclosed by glumes. FERTILE SPIKELETS Spikelets comprising 1 basal sterile florets; 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets linear; subterete; 5.5–10 mm long; falling entire; deciduous with accessory branch structures. Spikelet callus linear; 2–3 mm long; bearded; base pungent; attached obliquely. Spikelet callus hairs red; 0.2 length of spikelet. GLUMES Glumes dissimilar; with lower wider than upper; exceeding apex of florets; firmer than fertile lemma. Lower glume linear; 1 length of spikelet; coriaceous; dark brown; without keels; 9 -veined. Lower glume surface puberulous, or pubescent, or pilose. Lower glume apex obtuse. Upper glume linear; coriaceous; without keels. Upper glume muticous. FLORETS Basal sterile florets barren; without significant palea. Lemma of lower sterile floret linear; 1 length of fertile lemma; hyaline; 2 -veined; erose. Fertile lemma linear; 3–5 mm long; membranous; 1 -veined. Lemma apex entire; awned; 1 -awned. Principal lemma awn apical; geniculate; 50–80 mm long overall; with twisted column. Column of lemma awn hirtellous. Palea absent or minute. FLOWER Anthers 3; 2.5 mm long. Stigmas 2. (from RBG Kew: GrassBase - The Online World Grass Flora)
Link(s) African Plant Database
JSTOR Plant Science
Kew Herbarium Catalogue
BGBM Berlin-Dahlem - Virtual Herbarium
Züricher Herbarien
iNaturalist (Namibia / Alex Dreyer)
iNaturalist (Namibia)
iNaturalist (southern Africa)
Flora of Zimbabwe
Fleurs de notre Terre - Galerie Namibie
Tree Atlas of Namibia
Content last updated: 18 Apr 2024

Note: The identification of some of the plants on this website is not 100% certain. Any comments will be highly appreciated. I would also be willing to supply higher resolution images upon request. Please contact me at the e-mail address given below.

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