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Genus Paspalidium Family Poaceae

Description: Annuals or perennials, often with branching stems.

Leaves with ligule a membranous or ciliolate rim; blade folded in bud. Panicle of 1-sided racemes on a primary axis, secondary branching rare; rachis of each raceme or branch extending as a bristle beyond the point of attachment of the last spikelet.

Spikelets solitary or paired, falling entire at maturity. Florets 2, dissimilar, the lower either male or sterile; palea present or absent; upper floret bisexual. Lower glume abaxial, smaller than the upper, 0–7-nerved; upper glume usually subequal to the spikelet, 5–15-nerved; rarely both glumes much reduced. Lower lemma equal to the upper glume in shape and size, 3–11-nerved. Upper lemma acute or apiculate, smooth, nerveless or obscurely nerved, ± transversely rugulose, the margins embracing the sides of the palea; palea subequalling the lemma and similar in texture, 2-keeled.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 40 species, tropical regions. Australia: 22 species (native), all mainland States.

Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & C. A. Wall
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Paspalidium grandispiculatum

 Key to the species 
1Lower floret with a palea almost as long as the lemma; spikelets 3.5–4.5 mm long; erect tufted perennialPaspalidium globoideum
Lower floret with a very small palea or empty; spikelets usually not more than 3.5 mm long; tufted annuals or perennials2
2Outline of spikelet distinctly constricted about 30% of its length from the base (if viewed from the back) because the upper glume and lemmas are very narrow at the base and the lower glume bulged at the base (i.e. slightly inflated); spikelets irregularly arranged on the racemes3
Outline of the spikelet not noticeably constricted about 30% of its length above the base (although the fertile floret itself sometimes constricted as in Paspalidium distans)
                       Back to 1
3Racemes with a solitary spikelet or lower racemes unequally once- or few-branched, each branch with a single spikelet; spikelets 3–3.75 mm long; slender, branched annualPaspalidium rarum
Racemes with more than 1 spikelet; spikelets mostly less than 3 mm long; densely tufted perennials
                       Back to 2
4Spikelets lanceolate in outline and to 1 mm wide, 2–2.5 mm long; culms usually slender and glabrous; nodes glabrousPaspalidium criniforme
Spikelets elliptic and usually more than 1 mm wide, 2–3.5 mm long; culms more robust; nodes more or less hairy
                       Back to 3
5Fertile floret finely transversely rugose; culms and nodes smooth to scabrous or pubescent; spikelets 2–2.75 mm longPaspalidium gracile
Fertile floret more or less coarsely transversely rugose; culms and nodes mostly pubescent or scabrous-pubescent, often with a few long hairs; spikelets 2.25–3.5 mm long
                       Back to 4
Paspalidium constrictum
6Slender annual; racemes with few spikelets 1.8–2.2 mm long, that are not regularly arranged in distinct rowsPaspalidium clementii
Tufted perennials; racemes with many spikelets arranged in 2 rows usually on 1 side of the rachis
                       Back to 2
7Spikelets usually 2.5 mm or more long, if less than 2.5 mm then plants lax, decumbent and usually rooting at the lower nodes8
Spikelets less than 2.5 mm long
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8Lower racemes often as long as or longer than the internodes of the primary axis; spikelets 2.5–3 mm long, plano-convex but not bulging on 1 side, and standing erect on the racemes; lower glume not inflatedPaspalidium jubiflorum
Lower racemes usually shorter than the axis internodes; spikelets 2.5–3 mm long, bulging on 1 side and diverging from the raceme axis as they mature; lower glume inflated at the base
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9Culms rigid, wiry, arising from knotted rhizomes, spikelets often widely gaping; upper glume 7–9-nervedPaspalidium gausum
Culms weak and easily compressed, often geniculate and rooting at the lower nodes, arising from a dense rootstock, plants lax; spikelets not gaping; upper glume 5–7-nerved
                       Back to 8
Paspalidium aversum
10Leaves hirsute with long, white, tubercle-based hairs that extend to the inflorescence axis; spikelets 1.5–2.0 mm longPaspalidium albovillosum
Leaves glabrous or, if some hairs present, these do not extend to the inflorescence axis; spikelets 1.7–2.2 mm long
                       Back to 7
11Leaves with blade to 1.5 mm wide when expanded; loosely rolled; lower glume not inflatedPaspalidium caespitosum
Leaves with blade flat (sometimes loosely rolled on drying) and to 4 mm wide; lower glume inflated at the base
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12Fertile lemma coarsely transversely rugulose (with distinct ridges); plants slender with weak culmsPaspalidium breviflorum
Fertile lemma finely transversely rugulose (ridges less distinct); culms erect or geniculate, radiating from a densely tufted rootstock
                       Back to 11
Paspalidium distans

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