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Genus Baloskion Family Restionaceae

Description: Dioecious perennial herbs, tufted or with a hard, creeping, partly erect rhizome, which is usually covered by imbricate, scarious scales, beneath which (in the Australia species), there are dense woolly hairs. Culms green, simple or branched, erect or diffuse, straight or flexuous, bearing persistent sheathing scales which are crowded and imbricate near the base but more distant above.

Leaves with lamina usually absent, except in juvenile plants, or sometimes lamina reduced and linear or terete. Male and female inflorescences either similar or dissimilar, 1–many-flowered, sessile or pedicellate, panicle-like or racemes or solitary and then axillary or terminal. Glumes imbricate; bracteoles absent. Tepals 4–6, glume-like, not exceeding the glumes in length. Male stamens 2 or 3; filaments filiform, free; anther 1-locular; rudimentary ovary small or absent. Female staminodes 2 or 3 or absent; ovary 2-[or 3-]locular; style branches 2 [or 3], more or less united towards the base.

Fruit a 2- or 3-locular capsule, often oblique by the abortion of one loculus.

Photo T.M. Tame

Photo J. R. Hosking

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 40 species, endemic Australia. Australia: c. 39 species (endemic), all States except N.T.

The key to species includes all those species that were included in Restio sens. lat. in Flora of NSW vol. 4 (1993), i.e. not only species of Baloskion but also those of Chordifex and Eurychorda.

Text by A. L. Quirico & B. G. Briggs (1993); edited KL Wilson (Mar 2014)
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Culms not or scarcely flattened, branched or unbranched2
Culms much flattened, unbranchedEurychorda complanata
2Leaves reduced to sheath, lamina absent3
Leaves with a lamina present on some of sheaths, subulate
                       Back to 1
3Culms branched4
Culms unbranched
                       Back to 2
4Spikelets either axillary and sessile or terminal on lateral branches; branches numerous, all fertile, not in whorls5
Spikelets in a terminal panicle; lateral branches numerous, in whorls, finely divided, sterile
                       Back to 3
Baloskion tetraphyllum
5Sheaths closely appressed; flowering branches erect, straight; spikelets in both sexes narrowChordifex fastigiatus
Sheaths lax, open and spreading almost from the base; flowering branches very often flexuous; male spikelets ovoid, female narrow
                       Back to 4
Chordifex dimorphus
6Sheaths with apex either glabrous or fringed with downy hairs less than 1 mm long; spikelets few–many; sterile and flowering glumes either glabrous or the margins sparingly hairy or ciliolate7
Sheaths on the upper portion of the culm mostly bearing an apical tuft of fine hairs 1–4 mm long; spikelets few, mostly 1–7; sterile and flowering glumes mostly fringed with long, fine hairs
                       Back to 3
Baloskion fimbriatum
7Free (non-overlapping) portion of the lowest subtending bract on the axis of the inflorescence gradually tapered to an acute or obtuse apex or, if more abruptly tapered, then lax, in either case usually longer than the sheathing base and often exceeding the lowest spikelet, the whole appearing more or less lanceolate8
Free portion of the lowest subtending bract more or less abruptly tapered to the apex, never lax, shorter or only slightly longer than the sheathing base, only occasionally exceeding the lowest spikelet; internodes of the axis of the inflorescence elongated
                       Back to 6
8Rhizome (2.5–)4–10 mm diam., up to 20 cm or more in length with few branches; culms 1–3 mm diam., usually spaced 1–5 mm apart on the rhizome; female spikelets ovoid, 6–10 mm9
Rhizome 3–4 mm diam., with short crowded branches 0.5–2 cm long, rarely longer; culms 0.75–1.5(–2.0) cm diam., closely arranged on the rhizome; female spikelets oblong-cylindrical, 10–11.5 mm long
                       Back to 7
Baloskion gracile
9Free portion of the lowest subtending bract on the main axis of the inflorescence broad-lanceolate, lax, tending to embrace the lowest spikelets; outer surface of the sheaths and bracts wrinkled to finely muricateBaloskion australe
Free portion of the lowest subtending bract lanceolate to narrow-lanceolate, appressed, not tending to embrace the spikelets; outer surface of the sheaths and bracts not wrinkled to finely muricate
                       Back to 8
Baloskion stenocoleum
10Spikelets on the lower part of the inflorescence not crowded, but borne on filiform pedicels or fine branches, either of which may be several cm long; apex of the subtending bracts closely appressed; cauline sheaths usually with few very short hairs on margins; flowering glumes 4–6 mm longBaloskion longipes
Spikelets mostly crowded together on the branches or at the nodes of the inflorescence, the exposed portion of the pedicels not exceeding 5 mm long; apex of the subtending bracts often reflexed by contact with the lower spikelets; cauline sheaths glabrous; flowering glumes c. 2.5–4 mm long
                       Back to 7
Baloskion pallens
11Sheaths appressedBaloskion tenuiculme
Sheaths lax, open and spreading almost from the base
                       Back to 2
Chordifex dimorphus

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