Description: Often rhizomatous, tufted perennials, more rarely annuals. Culms noded or nodeless.
Leaves basal or also cauline; ligule absent; sheaths of cauline leaves sometimes with short scarious appendage at mouth opposite blade.
Inflorescence head-like, spike-like, or panicle-like; involucral bracts leaf-like. Spikelets solitary or in clusters, terete or flattish, sessile or pedicellate, usually few-flowered. Rachilla straight. Glumes 5–8, spirally arranged or distichous, the lowest 3 or 4 empty, shorter than the upper fertile ones. Flowers bisexual, or the lowest flowers female, upper one(s) male or sterile. Hypogynous bristles 3–6 (rarely more), usually antrorsely scabrous, rarely absent. Stamens (1,) 2 or 3. Style articulated with ovary, almost undivided to deeply 2-fid; dilated style base (or even most of style) persistent on nut, clearly distinct from latter, compressed-conical, subulate, or crescent-shaped.
Nut sessile or shortly stipitate, biconvex.
Distribution and occurrence: World: >200 species, tropical & subtropical, especially the Americas. Australia: c. 17 species (c. 5 species endemic), Qld, N.S.W., Vic., N.T., W.A.
Text by K. L. Wilson
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Inflorescence a single dense globose or semiglobose head, to c. 1.5 cm diam.; nut minutely reticulate, hispid near apex||Rhynchospora rubra|
|Inflorescence with several–many branches, 2–6-noded, to 40 cm long; nut irregularly transversely wrinkled, glabrous||2|
|2||Style shortly 2-fid; glumes 5–6.5 mm long; nut 2.5–3.5 mm long||Rhynchospora corymbosa|
|Style deeply 2-fid; glumes 3–4 mm long; nut 1.5–2 m long|
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