Description: Tufted perennials with erect, slender culms and usually bearded nodes; usually scented.
Leaves with blade rolled in bud, flat, with the margins rolled outwards, midrib prominent.
Inflorescence an open purplish panicle of short racemes borne on slender, gland-bearing branches. Spikelets in pairs, 1 sessile, the other pedicellate, terminal spikelets in triplets, readily deciduous and falling in groups with an attached axis joint. Sessile spikelets with 1 fertile floret and 1 sterile lemma, dorsally compressed; callus of the fertile floret shortly bearded. Glumes not alike, 8- or 9-nerved, grooved between the nerves. Lemmas unalike, the lower nerveless, much reduced, the upper tapering into a slender, twisted awn. Palea absent. Pedicellate spikelets flattened, shorter and narrower than the sessile spikelet, with 2 glumes enclosing a lemma and sometimes a male flower.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 15 species, Africa, Asia & Australia. Australia: 2 species (native), Qld, N.S.W., N.T.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & C. A. Wall
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Racemes 1–3-jointed with rather few spikelets; lower glume of sessile spikelets with 2 nerves between the keels||Capillipedium parviflorum|
|Racemes 3–8-jointed with numerous spikelets; lower glume of sessile spikelets with 4 or 5 nerves between the keels||Capillipedium spicigerum|