Description: Tufted perennials, aromatic when crushed. Ligule membranous.
Inflorescence of paired racemes usually arranged in a panicle, subtended by an often reddish spathe; rachis disarticulating at maturity so that spikelets fall in pairs with a rachis joint, rachis often hairy.
Spikelets paired, dissimilar, 1 sessile, the other pedicellate, spikelets of lowermost pairs usually both male. Sessile spikelets with 1 fertile floret above a sterile floret, usually awned, callus shortly bearded, obtuse. Glumes equal or subequal, lower strongly 2-keeled, the upper keeled towards the apex. Lemmas 2, ciliate, hyaline, the lower entire, 2-nerved, the upper 2-fid, small and narrow with a small bristle or awn to 12 mm long between the lobes. Palea absent. Pedicellate spikelet sterile, with 2 rounded glumes enclosing 1 lemma and occasionally a male flower.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 55 species, tropical regions. Australia: 10 species (9 species native, 1 species naturalized), all mainland States.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & C. A. Wall
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Racemes only slightly hairy (often appearing glabrous), sharply reflexed and divergent at maturity, panicle narrow; lemmas usually awnless||Cymbopogon refractus|
|Racemes distinctly hairy, more or less reflexed, usually divergent at maturity; sessile spikelets awned||2|
|2||Awns 6–8 mm long, not conspicuous among dense hairs on the racemes which are reflexed and divergent at maturity||Cymbopogon obtectus|
|Awns 12–15 mm long and prominent among hairs on the racemes which are erect or slightly divergent at maturity|
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