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This species is accepted, and its native range is Zimbabwe to Mozambique.
A specimen from Kew's Herbarium


Simpson, D., & Muasya, A. (2004). Three New Species of Cyperus (Cyperaceae) from Eastern and Southern Africa. Kew Bulletin, 59(4), 593-598. doi:10.2307/4110917

We assess this plant as Data Deficient (DD) using the IUCN criteria (IUCN 2001). We have no information about the status of the habitats in which the plants occur.
Mozambique, Zimbabwe
Peaty soil in rock fissures, shallow soil on rock outcrops, vlei grassland on quartzite sands; 430 - 500 m.
Morphology Culms
Culms moderately to densely tufted, 18 - 32 cm x 0.7 - 0.9 mm, terete to ± trigonous, smooth, green, densely covered at base by mid- to dark brown leaf sheath remains
Morphology General Habit
Shortly rhizomatous perennial
Morphology Leaves
Leaf blade narrowly linear, 6 - 29 cm x 0.4 - 0.7 mm, very gradually tapering to an acute apex, flat in cross- section, margins smooth, green; sheath 2.5 - 3.5 cm long, mid-brown
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 3; anthers 1.2 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Stigma
Stigmas 3
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Nutlets obovate, trigonous with convex sides, 0.7 - 0.8 x 0.4 mm, maturing dark brown, very minutely papillose.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence lax capitate, 2.5 - 5 x 4 - 5.5 cm
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts
Involucral bracts 2 - 3, leaf-like, the longest 6 - 12 cm long, margins smooth
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Bracts Glume
Glumes 18 - 44 per spikelet, ovate-lanceolate, 2.4 - 2.7 x 1 - 1.6 mm, ± acute, sides membranous, 2 - 3- nerved on each side, mid-reddish brown, keel green to pale brown
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Spikelets
Spikelets 14 - 18 per inflorescence, linear, (1 -) 1.8 - 2.5 cm x 1.8 - 2.4 mm, flattened, reddish-brown, rachilla straight
Name refers to the distinctly long spikelets possessed by this species. Cyperus longispicula is related to C. kirkii, differing by its larger inflorescence and longer spikelets. Its relationship to C. kirkii places it within sect Amabiles C. B. Clarke, a natural grouping of taxa characterised by narrow spikelets and small reddish to brown glumes. This was accepted by Kiukenthal (1936). Interestingly Haines & Lye (1983) include this section and sect. Platystachyi together in subgen. Xerocyperus Lye, despite the taxa being morphologically distinct. They do, however, say that subgen. Xerocyperus is heterogeneous and could be split into 3 - 4 subgenera. We favour the sectional classification adopted by Kiukenthal, as we feel that subgeneric recognition places too much importance on what are relatively small groups of taxa.
Zimbabwe,J. M. Rattray 1273 (holotypus K!, isotypus SRGH).

Native to:

Mozambique, Zimbabwe

Cyperus longispicula Muasya & D.A.Simpson appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Rattray [1273], Zimbabwe K000362635 holotype
Rattray [1273], Zimbabwe K000362636

First published in Kew Bull. 59: 595 (2004)

Accepted by

  • Browning, J. & al. (2020). Flora Zambesiaca 14: 1-455. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Govaerts, R. & Simpson, D.A. (2007). World Checklist of Cyperaceae. Sedges: 1-765. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


Kew Bulletin

  • Haines, R. W. & Lye, K. (1983). Sedges and Rushes of East Africa. East African Natural History Society, Nairobi.
  • IUCN (2001). IUCN Red List categories: Version 3.1. IUCN Species Survival Commission, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.
  • Kükenthal, G. (1936). Cyperaceae - Scirpoideae - Cypereae. In: A. Engler (ed.), Das Pflanzenreich, IV 20, 101 Heft. Engelmann, Leipzig.
  • Lye, K. A. (1983). Studies in African Cyperaceae 25. New taxa and combinations in Cyperus. Nordic J. Bot. 3: 213-232.

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
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Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.