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Genus Baumea Family Cyperaceae

Description: Perennials with short rhizomes. Culms erect, tufted, noded or nodeless.

Leaves distichous, isobilateral, glabrous, flattened to terete, or reduced.

Inflorescence panicle-like; involucral bracts culm-like. Spikelets usually clustered, 1–5 bisexual flowers; rachilla persistent. Glumes few, obscurely distichous, keeled, usually lowest 1–3 empty, often shorter than fertile glumes. Perianth absent. Stamens 3. Style 3-fid, deciduous; style base thickened, persistent on nut, fused as hemispherical to conical apex, often minutely hispid or papillose.

Nut trigonous to terete, prominently to obscurely 3-ribbed, smooth at maturity, otherwise irregularly wrinkled.

Photo John R. Hosking

Other photo
Photo John R. Hosking

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 30 species, tropical & temperate regions. Australia: 15 species (9 species endemic), all States.

This genus has at times been included in Machaerina and current research suggests that this is the appropriate treatment. Both have been included in Cladium in the past but that is not closely related.

Text by K. L. Wilson (1993); edited KL Wilson (May 2015)
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Leaf blades flat, or 4-angled in cross section, or all reduced to flattened mucros on sheaths2
Leaf blades terete or ovate in cross section (rarely somewhat angular or flattened at apex)8
2All leaves reduced to flattened mucros; culms 1–3-nodedBaumea juncea
Basal leaves well-developed (cauline leaves reduced if present); culms nodeless or 1- (rarely 2-) noded
                       Back to 1
3Leaves square to rhomboid (occasionally narrowly so) in cross section, faces concave or occasionally flatBaumea tetragona
Leaves flattened (at least near apex in Baumea rubiginosa) or narrow-rhomboid, faces flat or convex
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4Leaves scabrous5
Leaves smooth
                       Back to 3
5Glumes 3.0–3.8 mm long; spikelets 3.5–4.5 mm long; nut 1.7–2.0 mm long, 0.8–1.1 mm diam.; culms 1.2–4 mm diam.; sheaths pale brown; leaves with raised 'midvein' even if otherwise flatBaumea planifolia
Glumes 6–10 mm long; spikelets 6–11 mm long; nut 2.7–3.5 mm long, 1.0–1.6 mm diam.; culms 1–2 mm diam.; sheaths reddish; leaves without a raised midvein
                       Back to 4
Baumea johnsonii
6Nut 2.2–4 mm long, 1.2–2.0 mm diam., pale red-brown to bright orange or dark red-brown to blackish7
Nut 1.5–2.2 mm long, 1.0–1.3 mm diam., red-brown to black
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Baumea acuta
7Nut pale red-brown to bright orange; spikelets 2- or 3-flowered, in dense clusters; glumes 5; culms 1- or 2-noded (rarely nodeless); leaves often terete near baseBaumea rubiginosa
Nut dark red-brown to blackish; spikelets 1-flowered, spread out along branches; glumes 3 or 4; culms nodeless; leaves flat throughout
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Baumea muelleri
8Leaves hollow, perfectly transversely septateBaumea articulata
Leaves pith-filled, occasionally irregularly transversely septate
                       Back to 1
9Spikelets few, not in dense clusters, 1-flowered; glumes 2–4 (mostly 3)10
Spikelets numerous, often clustered, 1–4-flowered; glumes 4–6
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10Leaves much exceeding culms (to twice as long), c. 0.5 mm diam.; nut 2.0–2.3 mm long, 1.0–1.3 mm diam.; culms smoothBaumea nuda
Leaves shorter than to slightly exceeding culms, 0.7–1.5 mm diam.; nut 2.5–3.5 mm long, 1.3–1.8 mm diam.; culms scaberulous or smooth
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Baumea gunnii
11Nut strongly wrinkled, minutely papillose at base and apex, minutely hispid at extreme apex, 1.3–2.2 mm longBaumea teretifolia
Nut smooth at maturity or somewhat reticulate, minutely hispid at apex, 2.0–4.0 mm long
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12Nut straw-coloured to whitish, triquetrous, 2.0–2.5 mm long, 1.0–1.3 mm diam.; spikelets not densely clustered; leaf blades and involucral bracts terete at apexBaumea arthrophylla
Nut pale red-brown to bright orange at maturity, trigonous, 2.2–4.0 mm long, 1.2–2.0 mm diam.; spikelets in dense, discrete clusters on inflorescence branches; leaf blades and involucral bracts flattened at least at apex
                       Back to 11
Baumea rubiginosa

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