Dichanthium aristatum (Poiret) C.E.Hubb.
Dichanthium Willemet, Ann. Bot. (Usteri) 18: 11 (1796). From the Greek dicha (in two) and anthos (flowers), alluding to the two kinds of spikelet pairs in the raceme.
aristatum- from the Latin arista (bristle) and -ata (possessing). The apices of lemmas, paleas or glumes drawn out into a distinct awn.
Bull. Misc. Inform. 654 (1939).
Perennial. Culms decumbent, 20100 cm tall. Mid-culm nodes glabrous or pubescent. Ligule an eciliate membrane, 0.6 mm long. Leaf-blades 325 cm long, 25 mm wide.
Inflorescence with ramose branches. Peduncle 0.61.3 cm long, pubescent above. Rames single or paired or digitate, 28 cm long. Rhachis fragile at the nodes, subterete, ciliate on margins. Rame internodes filiform, 5 mm long. Rame-bases filiform, pubescent.
Spikelets in pairs, one sessile and fertile and the other (companion) spikelet pedicelled. Pedicels filiform, 5 mm long, without a translucent median line, ciliate. Basal sterile spikelets well-developed, 212 in lower raceme, 212 in upper racemes. Basal sterile spikelets barren or male, smaller than fertile. Basal sterile spikelet lemmas awnless. Companion spikelets developed, male or sterile, containing empty lemmas or male, oblong or obovate, 55.5 mm long, as long as fertile, separately deciduous. Companion spikelet lemmas enclosed by glumes, muticous. Fertile spikelets 2-flowered, comprising 1 fertile floret, lower floret sterile, upper fertile, without rhachilla extension, lanceolate or elliptic or obovate, dorsally compressed, 25 mm long, falling entire, deciduous with accessory branch structures. Spikelet callus pilose, base obtuse, attached transversely.
Glumes dissimilar, firmer than fertile lemma. Lower glume elliptic or ovate or obovate, 100% of length of spikelet, chartaceous, of similar consistency above or much thinner above, 810-nerved. Lower glume surface convex. Lower glume surface pilose, hairy below, with simple hairs. Lower glume margins eciliate or ciliate. Lower glume apex obtuse or acute. Upper glume lanceolate, 1-keeled.
Basal sterile florets 1, without significant palea. Lemma of lower sterile floret linear, 3 mm long, hyaline, glabrous. Fertile lemma linear, 3.2 mm long, hyaline, 1-nerved. Lemma apex entire, 1-awned. Median (principal) awn apical, geniculate, 1020 mm long overall, with a twisted column. Column glabrous. Palea absent or minute. Anthers 3. Grain 1.8 mm long.
Africa, Temperate Asia, Tropical Asia, Australasia, Pacific, North America, South America.
Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales.
Western Australia: Gardner. Northern Territory: Darwin & Gulf. Queensland: Cook, Burke, North Kennedy, South Kennedy, Port Curtis, Leichhardt, Burnett, Wide Bay, Darling Downs, Moreton, Mitchell. New South Wales: North Coast.
Native to India and SE Asia but now widely introduced as fodder in tropical areas. Widely but sporadically naturalised in coastal, subcoastal and rarely inland areas of Qld. Cultivated in W.A., N.T. and N.S.W. Flowers Feb.Nov.
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