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Genus Schoenus Family Cyperaceae

Description: Perennials or annuals, rhizomatous or tufted. Culms nodeless or 1–several-noded, erect or rooting at the nodes, terete or obtusely trigonous.

Leaves either all basal or also cauline on noded culms, linear, flat or canaliculate, sometimes reduced to mucronate sheaths; mouth of leaf sheath often hairy, with or without a ligule.

Inflorescence panicle-like with often widely separated nodes (with spikelets solitary or clustered), or head-like, or reduced to a single spikelet; lowest involucral bract leaf-like. Spikelets ± compressed, usually few-flowered, sessile to long-pedicellate. Rachilla straight and with very short internodes in the lower part (between the empty glumes), the upper internodes (between fertile glumes) elongated and prominently zigzag, winged. Glumes distichous, the lowest ones empty, the uppermost one often strongly reduced and empty. Flowers in the hollows of the zigzag rachilla, usually bisexual, but the uppermost often male. Hypogynous bristles up to 6, filiform or scale-like, ciliate to plumose or antrorsely scabrous, or absent. Stamens [1–]3(–6). Style (2-) or 3-fid, continuous with ovary, deciduous.

Nut sessile or shortly stipitate, trigonous, mostly obliquely shaped, mostly 3-ribbed, occasionally hispid near apex.


Habitat
Photo A.E. Orme

Habit
Photo Karen L Wilson

Photo © ANBG

Fruit
Photo A.E. Orme

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 100 species, mainly South-East Asia & Australia, also New Zealand, New Caledonia, Micronesia, Europe & South America. Australia: 90 species (c. 85 species endemic), all States.

Text by K. L. Wilson
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Inflorescence head-like or consisting of only 1–5 spikelets in 1 or 2 small clusters2
Inflorescence elongated, with spikelets clustered at several often distant nodes17
2Small, soft-textured leafy, tufted annuals, or small, mat-forming, decumbent or erect perennials; if erect, culms no more than 12 cm long; mouth of leaf sheath and margins of glumes always glabrous3
Erect perennials, more or less rigid, shortly rhizomatous or tufted; culms mostly more than 12 cm long, if less then mouth of leaf sheath and/or margins of glumes hairy
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9
3Tufted annuals4
Small, mat-forming, erect or decumbent perennials
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6
4Inflorescence head-like; glumes red-brown to blackishSchoenus apogon
Inflorescence of 1–5 spikelets; glumes straw-coloured to dark red-brown
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5
5Fertile glumes 5–7.5 mm long; nut prominently ribbedSchoenus latelaminatus
Fertile glumes 3.0–4.5 mm long; nut winged, at least near apex
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Schoenus centralis
6Leaves much exceeding culms7
Leaves shorter than culms
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8
7Culms no more than 2.5 cm long; nut minutely reticulate-pitted or smoothSchoenus calyptratus
Culms at least 4 cm long; nut minutely red-brown hispidulous at apex, whitish or red-brown over rest of body and minutely reticulate
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Schoenus evansianus
8Glumes acute; anthers 0.8–1.0 mm long; bristles 3–6, not plumose, shorter than nut; culms decumbent, leafy at nodesSchoenus maschalinus
Glumes obtuse to broad-acute; anthers 1.5–2.0 mm long; bristles 6, plumose, about as long as nut; culms erect, nodeless
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Schoenus nitens
9Inflorescence a single spikelet (rarely to 3 in S. lepidosperma and S. pachylepis)10
Inflorescence a head-like cluster of spikelets (rarely a second smaller cluster in S. ericetorum)
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12
10Spikelets 8–22 mm long; fertile glumes 8–16 mm long; bristles scale-like11
Spikelets 3–5 mm long; fertile glumes 2.7–4 mm long; bristles plumose
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Schoenus nitens
11Spikelets 8–11(–14) mm long; fertile glumes 8–11 mm long; anthers 3.3–4.5 mm long excluding apical appendage 0.3–0.5 mm long; hypogynous scales acute to acuminate, narrow, reaching a third to half the way up body of nut; nut 3.1–3.5 mm long, 1.8–2.0 mm diam.; shortly rhizomatous; culms slender, 0.3–0.5 mm diamSchoenus lepidosperma
Spikelets 15–22 mm long; fertile glumes 13–16 mm long; anthers 6.3–9 mm long excluding apical appendage 0.8–1.8 mm long; hypogynous scales obtuse or rarely acute, very broad, scarcely reaching to top of stipe; nut (including stipe) 4.2–5 mm long, 2.0–2.5 mm diam.; tufted (very shortly rhizomatous); culms relatively coarse, 0.5–1.2 mm diam
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Schoenus pachylepis
12Involucral bracts at least twice as long as inflorescence, to 8 cm long13
Involucral bracts less than twice as long as inflorescence (often shorter than it), to 2.5 cm long
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14
13Tufted; 2–4 involucral bracts much longer than inflorescenceSchoenus turbinatus
Rhizomatous; a single involucral bract much longer than inflorescence
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Schoenus nitens
14Stamens 3; nut 1.3–1.5 mm long15
Stamens 4–6; nut 1.4–2.7 mm long
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16
15Mouth of leaf sheath long-ciliate; glumes 6–11, lowest 4–8 emptySchoenus ericetorum
Mouth of leaf sheath glabrous or sparsely and minutely ciliolate; glumes 5–7, lowest 3–5 empty
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Schoenus imberbis
16Leaf sheaths loose around the culms, surface shining, smooth; mouth of sheath sparsely ciliateSchoenus subaphyllus
Leaf sheaths tight, surface more or less dull, striate, papillose; mouth of sheath glabrous
                       Back to 14
Schoenus kennyi
17Small, soft-textured leafy, tufted annnuals, or small, mat-forming or decumbent perennials; if erect, culms no more than 20 cm long18
Rigid, erect perennials (Schoenus apogon , shortly rhizomatous or tufted; culms mostly 10–130 cm long, if less then culms scabrous (S. moorei) or leaves very numerous and filiform (S. tesquorum)
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22
18Decumbent or loosely mat-forming slender perennial; nut surface faintly scrobiculate or reticulate or smoothSchoenus maschalinus
Erect, tufted annuals; nut surface pitted, reticulate, or trabeculate
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19
19Bristles absent or several, minute; fertile glumes 3.0–7.5 mm long20
Bristles 5 or 6, somewhat shorter than or equalling nut; fertile glumes 2.0–5.5 mm long
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21
20Fertile glumes 5–7.5 mm long; nut prominently ribbedSchoenus latelaminatus
Fertile glumes 3.0–4.5 mm long; nut winged, at least near apex
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Schoenus centralis
21Inflorescence with 5–9 distant clusters of mostly long-pedicellate spikelets; glumes straw-coloured with red-brown patches; nut blackish brownSchoenus paludosus
Inflorescence with a head-like cluster of subsessile spikelets plus 1–4 smaller clusters below; glumes red-brown to blackish; nut whitish
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Schoenus apogon
22Leaves obvious; blade well-developed, to 30 cm long23
Leaves not obvious; blade to 3 cm long or reduced to a small bract on sheath
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27
23Spikelets 20–30 mm longSchoenus calostachyus
Spikelets 2–14 mm long
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24
24Nut transversely wrinkled, hairy or glabrous; culms scabrous or smooth25
Nut smooth or minutely pitted-reticulate or longitudinally striate and trabeculate, glabrous; culms smooth
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26
25Nut hairy; culms scabrous; mouth of leaf sheath glabrous or slightly ciliateSchoenus moorei
Nut glabrous; culms smooth; mouth of leaf sheath densely long-ciliate
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Schoenus villosus
26Perennial, with numerous filiform leaves at base of plant; bristles several minute or absentSchoenus tesquorum
Annual, leafy but without numerous filiform leaves at base; bristles 5 or 6, shorter than to equalling nut
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Schoenus apogon
27Culms not noded28
Culms with 1-several nodes
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29
28Mouth of leaf sheath villous or woolly; leaf sheaths very dark red-brown to black, scaberulous; fertile glumes 4–7 mm longSchoenus melanostachys
Mouth of leaf sheath glabrous; sheaths dark red-brown, more or less smooth; fertile glumes 7–10 mm long
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Schoenus brevifolius
29Inflorescence with 5–9 nodes; spikelets 8–11 mm long; fertile glumes 7–9 mm long; anthers 3.0–4.5 mm long; nut c. 1.5 mm long (no stipe present), c. 0.8 mm diamSchoenus vaginatus
Inflorescence with 2 or 3 nodes; spikelets 12–21 mm long; fertile glumes 12–15 mm long; anthers 5.7–6.2 mm long; nut c. 5.5 mm long (including long stipe), 1.3–1.4 mm diam
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Schoenus scabripes

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