Description: Dioecious or monoecious perennial herbs, tufted or rhizome creeping. Culms green, erect or rarely scrambling, terete or slightly compressed, simple or branched, with persistent sheathing scales, crowded and imbricate at base but distant or absent on the aerial portion.
Leaves with lamina reduced to a small linear or terete lamina or absent.
Inflorescence either terminal and ± loosely paniculate or spike-like, or the partial inflorescences axillary and clustered. Male and female inflorescences when separate not very different. Flowers not in definite spikelets. Glumes not or scarcely imbricate; bracteoles 1 or 2 beneath each flower. Tepals 6, glume-like and rigid or thin and almost hyaline, acute, usually longer than the glumes. Male stamens 3; filaments free; anthers 1-locular. Female staminodes usually 3; ovary 3-angular, 3-locular, with one ovule in each loculus; styles 3, filiform.
Fruit a capsule, 3-locular, opening at the angles. Seed globose or ellipsoidal.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 26 species, endemic Australia. Australia: all States.
Three species have been moved from this genus to Sporadanthus (q.v.) since Flora of NSW vol. 4 was published in hard-copy.
Text by A. L. Quirico & B. G. Briggs; edited KL Wilson (Oct 2012)
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Flowers not in widely separated clusters, inflorescence panicle-like or small, narrow and spike-like; cauline sheaths not as below||2|
|Flowers in clusters which are either distant along the rachis of the inflorescence or, more rarely, few or solitary at the apex of the culm, each cluster in the axil of a broad bract; cauline sheaths appressed except where subtending a branch, 5–15 mm long, bearing a small to long (towards the base), terete or flat, usually reflexed but caducous lamina, 1–27 mm long||Sporadanthus interruptus|
|2||Sheaths confined to the base of the culm or 1 or 2 on the aerial part of the culm||Lepyrodia anarthria|
|Cauline sheaths present, 3 or more on each culm|
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|3||Sheaths all loose and open||4|
|Some or all of the sheaths on the culm closely appressed, except where subtending a branch; plants monoecious or dioecious|
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|4||Rhizome shortly creeping or plant tufted; culm internodes 3–6; culms usually 35–90 cm high, 0.8–1.8 mm diam||Lepyrodia scariosa|
|Rhizome usually long creeping; culm internodes 6–12; culm internodes 6–12; culms usually 70–110 cm long and c. 1.2–2.8 mm diam|
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|5||Culms 0.5–0.9 mm diam., thin and wiry, 15–50 cm high, the surface mostly minutely wrinkled or pitted||Lepyrodia leptocaulis|
|Culms usually 1–3 mm in diam., 50–200 cm high, the surface smooth for the most part|
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|6||Outer and inner tepals about equal in length or the outer slightly longer, whitish or straw-coloured; bracts and glumes persistent, often conspicuous||7|
|Outer tepals shorter than the inner, not exceeding 2.3 mm long; inner tepals reddish when fresh; bracts and glumes very thin, soon breaking up, inconspicuous|
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|7||Culms not exceeding 2 mm diam. over all at the base, 0.1–1.0 cm apart on the rhizome, c. 40–75 cm high||Lepyrodia muelleri|
|Culms up to 5 mm diam. over all at the base, often 2–2.5 cm apart on the rhizome, 55–200 cm high, erect or scrambling|
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