3. Fimbristylis littoralis Gaudich. var.
Pl. 76 h–j; Map 288
Plants annual, tufted,
lacking rhizomes. Stems few to many, 5–35(–50) cm long, erect to
ascending, glabrous. Leaves with blades 2–10 cm long, glabrous or
minutely roughened, the margins flat, the top of the sheath without a ligule.
Inflorescences usually compound umbels, sometimes only simple umbels, the
2–3 bracts shorter than the inflorescence, at least some of the spikelets
usually short- to long-stalked, not hidden by the inflorescence bracts. Spikelets
2–4 mm long, broadly ovate to oblong or nearly circular in outline,
rounded at the tip, the scales 0.8–1.2 mm long, broadly ovate, the tip
rounded, the back usually slightly keeled, the midvein not extended past the
scale tip, glabrous, brown to dark brown with the midvein lighter brown or
green. Stamens 1–2. Stigmas 3, the style fringed below the branches.
Fruits 0.9–1.1 mm long, obovate in outline, slightly 3-angled to nearly
circular in cross-section, the surface reticulate with 9–13 vertical rows
of cells, often also somewhat warty, light brown to tan. 2n=10. October.
Uncommon, known only
from Stoddard County (southeastern U.S. to South America, Caribbean Islands;
also in the Old World tropics).
This species has been
called F. miliacea (L.) Vahl in most previous North American floras.
Blake (1954), Kern (1954, 1974), and Kral (1971) have discussed the
nomenclatural problems resulting from different interpretations of this
taxon’s typification. The name F. miliacea is properly applied to
a related pantropical species that occurs in the New World only as far north as
The Missouri population
of F. littoralis is at the Mingo National Wildlife Refuge and is at the
northern distributional extreme of the species in North America. It was first
reported by Dunn and Knauer (1975). The species is most likely a recent
addition to the state’s flora and was probably distributed there by