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Genus Chaetospora Family Cyperaceae

Description: Erect perennials, forming dense tussocks, with short, woody, branched, pseudobulbous rhizomes. Culms not noded, slender, rigid, usually sulcate when dried, smooth.

Leaves all basal and spirally arranged, with well-developed blade, pseudopetiole obscure or absent; blade dorsiventral, flat to channelled above, scaberulous on the margins; ligule absent.

Lowest inflorescence bract spreading to sub-erect, similar to the leaves, much longer than the inflorescence, upper bracts gradually decreasing in length and often mostly hidden among the spikelets, lamina linear. Inflorescence condensed-compound, with several short internodes, consisting of 3–6 close fascicles of branches in the bract axils, but dense and appearing head-like; branches 1 at each node, slightly unequal, not exserted from the sheath, rigid, not flexuous, not compressed, glabrous on the margins. Spikelets subsessile, in clusters of 1–3, usually 1- or 3-flowered, the rachis straight, not elongated or flexuous. Glumes (floral bracts) 5–9, acute or attenuate, spiro-distichous, puberulent or glabrous, scaberulous, ciliate or denticulate on the margins and midrib; basal 4 or more glumes sterile; upper glume with a bisexual flower. Perianth segments 6, ± linear, flat to terete, margins with dense to scattered, white, short, antrorse, ciliate or ciliate-plumose hairs, persistent on the nutlet. Stamens 3; filaments glabrous; anthers twisted when dry. Style 3-fid, slender, of similar thickness throughout, mostly deciduous, a remnant often remaining on the nutlet.

Nutlet obovoid, obpyriform or turbinate, with 3 whitish ribs, irregularly reticulate to rugulose or tuberculate at 40× magnification, shortly hispidulous to scabrous or tuberculate at the apex, otherwise glabrous.


Flowering: Spring–Summer.

Distribution and occurrence: A small genus of three species endemic to southern Australia. One species in New South Wales.

Primarily grows in sandy woodlands and seasonal damplands, also in sand over sandstone, granite, laterite and limestone.

Previously included in the genus Schoenus, but more closely allied to Tricostularia and Tetraria, sharing a non-flexuous, straight rachilla with very short internodes.

Text by R.L. Barrett, Oct. 2020
Taxon concept: Barrett et al., Telopea 23: 97 (2020)

Chaetospora turbinata

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