Cenchrus L.

First published in Sp. Pl.: 1049 (1753)
This genus is accepted
The native range of this genus is Tropical & Subtropical Old World, America.

Descriptions

nonem

Morphology General Habit
Annual (14), or perennial (11). Rhizomes absent (21), or short (3). Culms erect (6/15), or geniculately ascending (12/15), or decumbent (2/15); robust (3/3); 5-60.5-300 cm long; firm (23), or wiry (1). Culm-internodes unequal, the upper longer (1/1); channelled (1/1). Culm-nodes constricted (1/1). Lateral branches sparse (1/2), or ample (1/2). Branch complement one (1/1), or two (1/1); with subequal branches (1/1); thinner than stem (1/1). Leaf-sheaths open for most of their length (2/2). Ligule a ciliate membrane (1), or a fringe of hairs (23). Leaf-blades linear, or lanceolate (1). Leaf-blade midrib conspicuous (1/1). Leaf-blade margins unthickened (1/1). Leaf-blade apex muticous (23), or pungent (1).
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a panicle. Panicle spiciform. Panicle axis bearing deciduous spikelet clusters. Spikelets subtended by an involucre. Fertile spikelets sessile; 1 in the cluster (14), or 2 in the cluster (19), or 3 in the cluster (16), or 4 in the cluster (4), or 5-8 in the cluster (1). Involucre composed of bristles; connate into a disc below (8), or connate into a cup below (16). Involucral bristles deciduous with the fertile spikelets; few (12), or numerous (12); 5-28-75 in principal whorl; terete (5), or flattened (18), or expanded (1); flexible (5), or rigid (19); obtuse (2), or spinose (16), or attenuate (8).
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets comprising 1 basal sterile florets; 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets lanceolate (6), or ovate (20); dorsally compressed; 2-5.294-9 mm long; falling entire; deciduous with accessory branch structures.
Fertile
Spikelets comprising 1 basal sterile florets; 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets lanceolate (6), or ovate (20); dorsally compressed; 2-5.294-9 mm long; falling entire; deciduous with accessory branch structures.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes one the lower absent or obscure (4), or two (22); shorter than spikelet (23), or reaching apex of florets (1); thinner than fertile lemma. Lower glume lanceolate (4/22), or ovate (20/22); hyaline (4/22), or membranous (19/22); without keels (22/22); 0 -veined (3/22), or 1 -veined (22/22), or 2-3 -veined (1/22). Lower glume lateral veins absent (21/22), or distinct (1/22). Lower glume surface glabrous (20/22), or puberulous (2/22). Lower glume apex obtuse (8/22), or acute (19/22), or acuminate (1/22). Upper glume lanceolate (1), or oblong (1), or ovate; hyaline (2), or membranous (22); without keels; 1 -veined (8), or 2 -veined (6), or 3 -veined (19), or 4 -veined (13), or 5 -veined (16), or 6-7 -veined (2). Upper glume surface smooth (23), or asperulous (1); glabrous (20), or puberulous (4). Upper glume apex obtuse (6/23), or acute (22/23), or acuminate (1/23), or setaceously attenuate (1/23).
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Florets
Basal sterile florets male (5), or barren (21); with palea (22), or without significant palea (4). Lemma of lower sterile floret lanceolate (2), or oblong (3), or ovate (20); 1 length of fertile lemma; membranous; 3 -veined (9), or 4 -veined (7), or 5 -veined (22), or 6-7 -veined (8); emarginate (1), or obtuse (2), or acute (21), or acuminate (2); muticous (22), or mucronate (3). Fertile lemma lanceolate (2), or elliptic (1), or ovate (21); dorsally compressed (4/4); lanceolate in profile (1/1); chartaceous (3), or cartilaginous (1), or coriaceous (22); of similar consistency on margins (4), or much thinner on margins (20); without keel; 3 -veined (12/23), or 4 -veined (2/23), or 5 -veined (13/23), or 6-7 -veined (1/23). Lemma surface smooth (22), or granulose (1), or asperulous (1). Lemma margins exposing palea (20), or covering most of palea (4). Lemma apex truncate (1), or obtuse (14), or acute (8), or acuminate (4); without ornament (23), or pubescent (1); muticous (20), or mucronate (4). Palea 1 length of lemma; chartaceous (3), or cartilaginous (1), or coriaceous (22); 2 -veined (4/4).
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Lodicules absent (3/4), or 2 (1/4); fleshy (1/1). Anthers 3 (11/11). Stigmas 2 (1/1). Ovary glabrous (1/1).
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Caryopsis with adherent pericarp (21/21); ellipsoid (3/11), or oblong (2/11), or ovoid (4/11), or orbicular (1/11), or obovoid (2/11); dorsally compressed (8/8); apex unappendaged (1/1).
Distribution
Europe (2), or Africa (11), or Temperate Asia (8), or Tropical Asia (9), or Australasia (11), or Pacific (7), or North America (11), or South America (13).
[GB]

M. Thulin et al. Flora of Somalia, Vol. 1-4 [updated 2008] https://plants.jstor.org/collection/FLOS

Morphology General Habit
Annual or perennial; leaves flat or inrolled; ligule a line of hairs
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a cylindrical spike-like panicle with angular rhachis, each spikelet or cluster of spikelets enclosed by a deciduous involucre; involucre composed of 1 or more whorls of bristles, those of the innermost whorl ± flattened and often spiny, connate at the base or for some distance along their length
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets lanceolate to ovate, dorsally compressed, acute to acuminate; lower glume up to 1/2 the length of the spikelet, sometimes suppressed; upper glume a little shorter than the spikelet; lower floret male or barren, its lemma as long as the spikelet, membranous; upper lemma as long as the spikelet, firmly membranous to coriaceous, its thin flat margins covering much of the palea
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Caryopsis elliptic to ovoid, dorsally compressed.
Distribution
Over 100 species throughout the tropics.
[FSOM]

Gramineae, W. D. Clayton, S. M. Phillips And S. A. Renvoize. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1974

Morphology General Habit
Annuals or perennials
Morphology Leaves
Leaf-blades flat or involute; ligule a line of hairs
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a cylindrical spike-like panicle with angular rhachis, each spikelet or cluster of spikelets enclosed by a deciduous involucre; involucre composed of 1 or more whorls of bristles, those of the innermost whorl ± flattened and often spiny, connate at the base or for some distance along their length
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets lanceolate to ovate, dorsally compressed, acute to acuminate; lower glume up to 1/2 as long as the spikelet, sometimes suppressed; upper glume a little shorter than the spikelet; lower floret ♂ or barren, its lemma as long as the spikelet, membranous; upper lemma as long as the spikelet, firmly membranous to coriaceous, the flat thin margins covering much of the palea
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Caryopsis elliptic to ovoid, dorsally compressed.
[FTEA]

Gramineae, W. D. Clayton. Flora Zambesiaca 10:3. 1989

Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a cylindrical spiciform panicle with angular rhachis, bearing deciduous clusters of 1-several spikelets subtended by an involucre of bristles, these flexuous or spinous, ± flattened and united below (at least the inner whorl), the degree of union varying from a basal disk to a deep cupule.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets lanceolate to ovate.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Inferior glume up to 1/2 length of spikelet, sometimes suppressed. Superior glume and inferior lemma as long as spikelet or a little shorter.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Lemma
Superior lemma chartaceous to thinly coriaceous with flat thin margins.
[FZ]

Gramineae, W. D. Clayton. Flora Zambesiaca 10:3. 1989

Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a cylindrical to subglobose spiciform panicle, terminal or sometimes axillary and then often aggregated into a leafy false panicle, bearing deciduous clusters of 1-several spikelets subtended by an involucre of bristles, these flexuous, filiform and free to the base.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets narrowly lanceolate to oblong.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes and inferior lemma variable, absent to as long as spikelet.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Lemma
Superior lemma cartilaginous to thinly coriaceous with flat thin margins.
[FZ]

nonem

Morphology General Habit
Annual (12), or perennial (71). Rhizomes absent (55), or short (11), or elongated (17). Stolons absent (79), or present (3). Culms erect (42/63), or geniculately ascending (27/63), or decumbent (13/63), or prostrate (1/63), or rambling (2/63); reed-like (1/17), or robust (10/17), or slender (6/17); 3-130.9-800 cm long; compressible (1), or firm (70), or wiry (7), or woody (6); without nodal roots (3/10), or with prop roots (1/10), or rooting from lower nodes (9/10). Culm-internodes channelled (1/1). Culm-nodes constricted (1/2), or swollen (1/2). Lateral branches lacking (6/40), or sparse (2/40), or ample (26/40), or fastigiate (4/40), or suffrutescent (3/40). Leaf-sheath auricles absent (81), or erect (1). Ligule an eciliate membrane (3), or a ciliolate membrane (3), or a ciliate membrane (14), or a fringe of hairs (62). Leaf-blade base without a false petiole (79), or with a false petiole (5). Leaf-blades persistent (80), or deciduous at the ligule (2); aciculate (1), or filiform (3), or linear (72), or lanceolate (11); membranous (1), or herbaceous (79), or coriaceous (2); stiff (4), or firm (74), or flaccid (4). Leaf-blade midrib widened (1/1). Leaf-blade surface with rectangular ribs (1/1). Leaf-blade margins cartilaginous (2/2). Leaf-blade apex muticous (81), or pungent (1).
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Synflorescence simple (72), or compound (10); scanty (7/9), or paniculate (1/9), or fastigiate (1/9). Inflorescence a panicle (81), or comprising only a few spikelets (1); terminal (58), or terminal and axillary (24); subtended by an unspecialized leaf-sheath (78), or an inflated leaf-sheath (4); exserted (78), or embraced at base by subtending leaf (3), or enclosed (1). Panicle spiciform (81/81). Panicle axis bearing persistent branches (10/81), or deciduous spikelet clusters (71/81). Spikelets solitary (1), or subtended by an involucre. Fertile spikelets sessile (72/81), or sessile and pedicelled (5/81), or pedicelled (5/81); 1 in the cluster (79/81), or 2 in the cluster (18/81), or 3 in the cluster (10/81), or 4 in the cluster (5/81), or 5 in the cluster (3/81), or 6-9 in the cluster (1/81). Companion sterile spikelets sessile (1/5), or pedicelled (4/5); 0-1 in the cluster (1/5), or 2-3 in the cluster (4/5), or 4 in the cluster (3/5), or 5 in the cluster (1/5). Involucre composed of bristles; free throughout (81), or connate into a disc below (1). Involucral bristles persistent (1), or deciduous with the fertile spikelets (81); few (24), or numerous (58); 1-13-80 in principal whorl; terete (81), or flattened (1); flexible (80), or rigid (2).
Sterile
Companion sterile spikelets absent (77), or well-developed (5); deciduous with the fertile (4/4).
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets comprising 1 basal sterile florets; 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension, or with a barren rhachilla extension (3). Spikelets lanceolate (59), or elliptic (6), or oblong (12), or ovate (10), or obovate (2); subterete (1), or dorsally compressed (81); 2-5.375-20 mm long; persistent on plant (1), or falling entire (81); deciduous from the base (1/81), or with accessory branch structures (81/81). Spikelet callus pubescent (1/1); base truncate (7/7). Companion sterile spikelets absent (77), or well-developed (5); deciduous with the fertile (4/4).
Fertile
Spikelets comprising 1 basal sterile florets; 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension, or with a barren rhachilla extension (3). Spikelets lanceolate (59), or elliptic (6), or oblong (12), or ovate (10), or obovate (2); subterete (1), or dorsally compressed (81); 2-5.375-20 mm long; persistent on plant (1), or falling entire (81); deciduous from the base (1/81), or with accessory branch structures (81/81). Spikelet callus pubescent (1/1); base truncate (7/7).
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes both absent or obscure (5), or one the lower absent or obscure (23), or two (70); shorter than spikelet (75), or reaching apex of florets (11); thinner than fertile lemma. Lower glume lanceolate (9/70), or elliptic (4/70), or oblong (14/70), or ovate (35/70), or orbicular (7/70), or oblate (13/70); 0.5-0.775-1 length of upper glume; hyaline (33/68), or membranous (35/68); without keels (67/67); 0 -veined (46/68), or 1 -veined (36/68), or 2 -veined (5/68), or 3 -veined (6/68). Lower glume lateral veins absent (64/70), or obscure (2/70), or distinct (6/70). Lower glume surface smooth (69/70), or asperulous (1/70); glabrous (68/70), or puberulous (1/70), or pubescent (1/70). Lower glume apex entire (69/70), or erose (1/70); emarginate (5/67), or truncate (10/67), or obtuse (40/67), or acute (33/67), or acuminate (3/67); muticous (69/70), or mucronate (1/70). Upper glume lanceolate (12), or elliptic (8), or oblong (17), or ovate (48), or oblate (8); hyaline (19), or membranous (62), or herbaceous (1); without keels; 0-3-11 -veined. Upper glume surface smooth (80), or asperulous (3), or scabrous (1); glabrous (79), or puberulous (2), or pubescent (1). Upper glume apex entire, or dentate (1); 3 -fid (1/1); emarginate (7/81), or truncate (6/81), or obtuse (27/81), or acute (56/81), or acuminate (16/81), or caudate (1/81); muticous (80), or mucronate (5).
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Florets
Basal sterile florets male (47), or barren (68); with palea (49), or without significant palea (49). Lemma of lower sterile floret lanceolate (17), or elliptic (19), or oblong (27), or ovate (26), or oblate (1); hyaline (3), or membranous (63), or chartaceous (16); 0-5-15 -veined; emarginate (3/78), or truncate (1/78), or obtuse (12/78), or acute (42/78), or acuminate (29/78), or setaceously attenuate (3/78), or cuspidate (1/78), or caudate (1/78); muticous (75), or mucronate (8), or awned (1). Fertile lemma lanceolate (38), or elliptic (13), or oblong (9), or ovate (24); membranous (25), or chartaceous (28), or cartilaginous (9), or coriaceous (20); of similar consistency above (81), or much thinner above (1); of similar consistency on margins (80), or much thinner on margins (2); without keel; 3-4 -veined (4/56), or 5 -veined (55/56), or 6-7 -veined (13/56), or 8-9 -veined (3/56), or 10-12 -veined (1/56). Lemma surface smooth (69), or asperulous (2), or scaberulous (14); glabrous (81), or hispidulous (1). Lemma margins flat (81), or involute (1); eciliate (79), or ciliolate (1), or pubescent (2). Lemma apex emarginate (1/80), or truncate (1/80), or obtuse (12/80), or acute (46/80), or acuminate (26/80), or setaceously attenuate (1/80), or apiculate (3/80); muticous (76), or mucronate (7). Palea 0.5-0.9879-1.1 length of lemma; membranous (33), or chartaceous (21), or cartilaginous (8), or coriaceous (20); 2 -veined (3/3), or 3-4 -veined (1/3).
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Lodicules absent (61/64), or 2 (3/64); truncate (1/1). Anthers 3 (77/77). Stigmas 2 (2/2); plumose (81), or pubescent (1).
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Caryopsis with adherent pericarp (37/37); lanceolate (1/9), or ellipsoid (3/9), or oblong (5/9), or ovoid (2/9), or obovoid (1/9); isodiametric (1/6), or dorsally compressed (6/6). Embryo 0.5 length of caryopsis.
Distribution
Europe (3), or Africa (47), or Temperate Asia (23), or Tropical Asia (18), or Australasia (12), or Pacific (10), or North America (12), or South America (27), or Antarctica (1).
[GB]

Gramineae, W. D. Clayton, S. M. Phillips And S. A. Renvoize. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1974

Morphology General Habit
Annuals or perennials
Morphology Leaves
Leaf-blades linear to lanceolate, flat to convolute; ligule a line of hairs, rarely membranous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a cylindrical to subglobose spike-like panicle terminal on culms and branches, rarely axillary and then often gathered into a leafy false panicle, each spikelet or cluster of spikelets subtended by a deciduous involucre of 1-many slender bristles free throughout; rhachis rounded or angular with or without short peduncle-stumps, occasionally the involucre shortly stipitate below the insertion of the bristles
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets narrowly lanceolate to oblong, dorsally compressed, glabrous or almost so; lower glume up to half as long as the spikelet, sometimes suppressed; upper glume varying from very small to as long as the spikelet; lower floret ♂ or barren, its lemma of variable length, membranous; upper lemma as long as the spikelet or a little shorter, membranous to coriaceous, its flat thin margins covering ± half the palea; anther-tips smooth, or sometimes with a little tuft of hairs
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Caryopsis oblong and dorsally compressed to subglobose.
[FTEA]

Gramineae, W. D. Clayton, S. M. Phillips And S. A. Renvoize. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1974

Morphology General Habit
Perennial
Morphology Leaves
Leaf-blades flat, linear; ligule a short membranous rim
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a coarse cylindrical raceme embraced below by the uppermost leaf sheath, each spikelet subtended by a lobed herbaceous scale forming an involucre
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets lanceolate, dorsally compressed; lower glume a minute hyaline scale or absent; upper glume shorter than the spikelet; lower floret ♂, with a palea, as long as the spikelet; upper lemma as long as the spikelet, cartilaginous, its margins covering 2/3 of the palea; stigma 1, long, flexuous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Caryopsis oblong, dorsally compressed.
[FTEA]

nonem

Morphology General Habit
Perennial. Culms prostrate; 20-40 cm long; spongy; rooting from lower nodes. Ligule an eciliate membrane.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a panicle; embraced at base by subtending leaf. Panicle spiciform. Panicle axis bearing deciduous spikelet clusters. Spikelets subtended by an involucre. Fertile spikelets sessile; 1 in the cluster. Involucre composed of bristles; united into a herbaceous lobed scale. Involucral bristles deciduous with the fertile spikelets; flattened; rigid; obtuse.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets comprising 1 basal sterile florets; 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets lanceolate; dorsally compressed; 10-14 mm long; falling entire; deciduous with accessory branch structures.
Fertile
Spikelets comprising 1 basal sterile florets; 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets lanceolate; dorsally compressed; 10-14 mm long; falling entire; deciduous with accessory branch structures.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes one the lower absent or obscure, or two; shorter than spikelet; thinner than fertile lemma. Lower glume ovate; hyaline; without keels; 0 -veined. Lower glume lateral veins absent. Upper glume ovate; 0.4-0.5 length of adjacent fertile lemma; herbaceous; without keels; 1-3 -veined. Upper glume apex acuminate.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Florets
Basal sterile florets male; with palea. Lemma of lower sterile floret lanceolate; herbaceous; 9 -veined; acute. Fertile lemma ovate; cartilaginous; much thinner above; without keel; 7 -veined. Lemma apex acute. Palea cartilaginous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Lodicules absent. Anthers 3. Stigmas 1.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Caryopsis with adherent pericarp; oblong; dorsally compressed.
Distribution
Africa, or Temperate Asia.
[GB]

nonem

Morphology General Habit
Perennial. Rhizomes short. Culms erect; 50-120 cm long. Ligule a fringe of hairs.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Dioecious. Inflorescence a panicle. Panicle spiciform. Panicle axis bearing deciduous spikelet clusters. Spikelets subtended by an involucre. Fertile spikelets sessile; 1 in the cluster. Male spikelets pedicelled. Involucre composed of bristles. Involucral bristles deciduous with the fertile spikelets; 7-12 in principal whorl; terete; flexible. Male inflorescence unlike female; a panicle. Male spikelets distinct from female; lanceolate. Male spikelet glumes 2.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets comprising 1 basal sterile florets; 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets lanceolate; dorsally compressed; 4-6 mm long; falling entire; deciduous with accessory branch structures.
Fertile
Spikelets comprising 1 basal sterile florets; 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets lanceolate; dorsally compressed; 4-6 mm long; falling entire; deciduous with accessory branch structures.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes shorter than spikelet; thinner than fertile lemma. Lower glume ovate; membranous; without keels; 0-3 -veined. Lower glume apex entire, or erose; obtuse, or acute; muticous, or mucronate. Upper glume lanceolate, or ovate; membranous; without keels; 3-5 -veined. Upper glume apex obtuse, or acute.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Florets
Basal sterile florets barren; without significant palea. Lemma of lower sterile floret lanceolate; membranous; 5 -veined; acute, or acuminate; muticous, or mucronate. Fertile florets female. Fertile lemma lanceolate; coriaceous; without keel. Lemma surface striate. Lemma apex acute, or acuminate; pubescent. Palea coriaceous.
sex Male
Male inflorescence unlike female; a panicle. Male spikelets distinct from female; lanceolate. Male spikelet glumes 2.
Distribution
Australasia.
[GB]

Sources

  • Flora Zambesiaca

    • Flora Zambesiaca
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Flora of Somalia

    • Flora of Somalia
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Flora of West Tropical Africa

    • Flora of West Tropical Africa
  • GrassBase - The Online World Grass Flora

    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    • Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2022. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2022 World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2022. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2022 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0