Aristida junciformis Trin. & Rupr.

First published in Sp. Gram. Stipac.: 143 (1842)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is Nigeria to Kenya and S. Africa, Madagascar. It is a perennial and grows primarily in the seasonally dry tropical biome.

Descriptions

Gramineae, E. Launert. Flora Zambesiaca 10:1. 1971

Morphology General Habit
Perennial, up to 60 cm. high, densely caespitose, with old dark leaf-sheaths at the base and with thick spongy roots.
Morphology Culms
Culms erect, slender, wiry, simple or slightly branched, glabrous, smooth, 3-4-noded; nodes glabrous, smooth.
Morphology Leaves Leaf sheaths
Leaf-sheaths tight, the lower keeled, striate, glabrous, smooth or scabrous, sometimes with long flexuous hairs.
Morphology Leaves Ligules
Ligule a short-ciliolate rim; auricles pubescent or more or less barbate, especially those of the lower sheaths.
Morphology Leaves Leaf lamina
Leaf-laminae up to 30 x 0·1 cm. when expanded, subsetaceous, convolute, mostly strictly erect, sometimes slightly curved, scaberulous or hirtellous above, glabrous smooth beneath.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Panicle 5-20 x 1-8 cm., narrow, contracted or fairly lax, erect or somewhat nodding, with a more or less angular, scaberulous axis; branches up to 5 cm. long, usually 2-nate, erect, scaberulous, subfascicled, capillary, often naked in the lower part, with spikelets congested towards the ends.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes linear-lanceolate, unequal, thin, acute or acuminate or awned, 1-nerved (the inferior sometimes with 2 additional nerves in the lower part), glabrous or minutely pubescent.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Lemma
Lemma c. 6 mm. long, glabrous, smooth or scaberulous towards the apex; callus c. 0.5 mm. long, shortly barbate; awns very fine, suberect, more or less spreading; articulation absent.
Cytology
2n = 44.
Note
A very variable sp. consisting of several subspp., of which subsp. macilenta and subsp. welwitschii occur in the F.Z. area. The subsp. junciforrmis, according to Henrard, is distributed in Natal and the Orange Free State. De Winter has recorded A. junciformis also from the Cape Prov., SW. Africa and the Transvaal. As he has treated this sp. in a wider sense, also referring to it forms having a well-developed column of the lemma, the distribution of A. junciformis, given by him, is in need of a revision. The subsp. junciformis, which has not yet been recorded from the F.Z. area, is characterized by having internodes of the culms of more or less equal length, being strongly compressed especially below, by very rigid, convolute, mostly strictly erect leaf-laminae, by inferior glume 6-7 mm. long, by a superior glume 9-10 mm. long and by a beakless or nearly beakless lemma with somewhat unequal awns (the central 20-35 mm. long, the lateral ones 15-28 mm. long). Both the other subspp. have terete or only slightly compressed internodes of the culms below the nodes bearing branches. Their leaf-laminae are sometimes flat or folded at the base and less rigid than in subsp. junciformis.
[FZ]

Morphology General Habit
Perennial; caespitose. Roots simple (spongy). Rhizomes absent, or short. Culms 20-60 cm long. Culm-internodes elliptical in section (below nodes); distally glabrous. Leaf-sheath oral hairs lacking, or bearded. Ligule a fringe of hairs. Leaf-blades straight, or curled; involute; 10-30 cm long; 1-1.5 mm wide. Leaf-blade surface glabrous, or pubescent; hairy adaxially.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence a panicle. Panicle open; lanceolate; interrupted; dense; 5-20 cm long; contracted about primary branches. Panicle branches glabrous in axils. Spikelets solitary. Fertile spikelets pedicelled.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets comprising 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets lanceolate; subterete; 6-9 mm long; breaking up at maturity; disarticulating below each fertile floret. Floret callus evident; 0.3-0.5 mm long; bearded; obtuse.
Fertile
Spikelets comprising 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets lanceolate; subterete; 6-9 mm long; breaking up at maturity; disarticulating below each fertile floret. Floret callus evident; 0.3-0.5 mm long; bearded; obtuse.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes persistent; similar; exceeding apex of florets; thinner than fertile lemma. Lower glume lanceolate; 4-7 mm long; 0.6-0.9 length of upper glume; membranous; 1-keeled; 1 -veined. Lower glume lateral veins absent. Lower glume surface asperulous. Lower glume apex acuminate; muticous, or mucronate, or awned; 1 -awned. Lower glume awn 0-2 mm long. Upper glume lanceolate; 6-9 mm long; 1.2-1.5 length of adjacent fertile lemma; membranous; 1-keeled; 1 -veined. Upper glume lateral veins absent. Upper glume apex dentate; 2 -fid; muticous, or mucronate, or awned; 1 -awned. Upper glume awn 0-2 mm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Florets
Fertile lemma elliptic; subterete; 5-6 mm long; coriaceous; without keel; 3 -veined. Lemma surface scaberulous. Lemma margins convolute; covering most of palea. Lemma apex acute; awned; 3 -awned. Principal lemma awn 3-branched; with 8-23 mm long limb; with a straight or slightly twisted column; persistent. Column of lemma awn 1-3(-6) mm long. Lateral lemma awns 7-17 mm long; subequal to principal. Palea 0.2 length of lemma; without keels.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Anthers 3.
Distribution
Africa: west tropical, west-central tropical, east tropical, southern tropical, south, and western Indian ocean.
Reference
Aristideae. FTEA.
[GB]

Gramineae, W. D. Clayton. Flora of West Tropical Africa 3:2. 1972

Morphology General Habit
Tufted perennial 30–60 cm. high
Ecology
Poor stony soils.
[FWTA]

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

Morphology General Habit
Densely caespitose perennial 20–60 cm. high, with thick spongy roots and a tendency to form short rhizomes; culms glabrous, ± compressed below the nodes.
Morphology Leaves
Leaf-blades involute, up to 30 cm. long and 1.5 mm. wide, glabrous to pubescent above or sometimes hirsute around the collar, the lower sometimes relaxing, flattening and curling with age, not forming a dense fibrous tuft.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Panicle 5–20 cm. long, narrow, ± interrupted, the spikelets clustered about the short primary branches whose axils are glabrous.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets enclosed by narrowly lanceolate, often purplish, glumes; lower glume 4–7 mm. long, two-thirds as long as the upper (rarely almost as long), scaberulous, with or without an awn-point up to 2 mm. long; upper glume 6–9 mm. long, glabrous, minutely bidentate, with or without a mucro up to 2 mm. long; lemma terete, 5–6 mm. long, scaberulous; callus oblong, 0.3–0.5 mm. long, broadly obtuse, bearded along the sides; awn with (rarely without) a slightly twisted column 1–3(–6) mm. long, not articulated, the central limb 8–23 mm. long, the laterals 7–17 mm.
Habitat
Poor stony soils on hilltops; 400–2100 m.
Distribution
southwards to the Cape K3 K4 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8
[FTEA]

Gramineae, E. Launert. Flora Zambesiaca 10:1. 1971

Morphology General Habit
Perennial, c. 50 cm, high, densely caespitose.
Morphology Culms
Culms erect, slender, simple or branched from some of the lower nodes, glabrous, smooth or sometimes slightly minutely pubescent below the nodes, 4-6-noded; nodes glabrous, smooth.
Morphology Leaves Leaf sheaths
Leaf-sheaths usually longer than the internodes of the culm, striate, usually tight, the lower more or less densely hirsute, with spreading or flexuous hairs from minute tubercles, the upper glabrous, smooth.
Morphology Leaves Ligules
Ligule a very short, ciliolate rim; auricles shortly pubescent or becoming glabrous, sometimes with long hairs; collar minutely pubescent.
Morphology Leaves Leaf lamina
Leaf-laminae up to 25 x 0·1-0·15 cm. (when expanded), convolute, ending in a fine point but not pungent, sometimes more or less flat towards the base, with prominent marginal nerves, scaberulous or hirtellous (with scattered long hairs from minute tubercles) above, scaberulous or smooth beneath.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Panicle mostly 10-15 cm. long, sometimes up to 20 cm., somewhat contracted but not dense, usually spiciform with a minutely scaberulous axis. Branches 3-7 cm. long, 2-nate or simple, erect or suberect, naked in the lower part, or with spikelets from the base, few-flowered.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets usually purple, sometimes greenish tinged with purple.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes subequal, keeled, glabrous or minutely scaberulous, more or less gradually tapering into a short awn up to 2 mm. long; the inferior 4-7 mm. long, 1-nerved or indistinctly 3-nerved, the superior 5-8 mm. long, 1-nerved, usually smooth.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Lemma
Lemma c. 5 mm. long, minutely scaberulous towards the apex; callus 0·3-0·5 mm. long, obtuse, densely short-barbate; column 1-2 mm. long, twisted, scaberulous; awns subequal, 13-15 mm. long, delicate, slightly minutely scaberulous, somewhat spreading; articulation absent.
[FZ]

Common Names

English
Bristle grass, Gongoni three-awn, Wire grass

Sources

  • Flora Zambesiaca

    • Flora Zambesiaca
    • 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
    • http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
  • GrassBase - The Online World Grass Flora

    • Clayton, W.D., Vorontsova, M.S., Harman, K.T. and Williamson, H. (2006 onwards). 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 2024. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2023 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 2024. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and https://powo.science.kew.org/
    • © Copyright 2023 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
  • Plants and People Africa

    • Common Names from Plants and People Africa http://www.plantsandpeopleafrica.com/
    • © Plants and People Africa http://www.plantsandpeopleafrica.com http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/