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Published In: Essai d'une Nouvelle Agrostographie 71, pl. 15, f. 1. 1812. (Ess. Agrostogr.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/31/2009)


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49. Leptochloa P. Beauv. (feather grass, sprangletop)

Plants annual or perennial, forming tufts or clumps. Flowering stems spreading to erect, sometimes ascending from spreading bases, sometimes rooting at the lower nodes, circular in cross‑section or slightly flattened, often darkened at the nodes, glabrous. Leaf sheaths rounded on the back or keeled, glabrous or sparsely hairy, the ligule a membrane, often with hairy or irregularly divided margins. Leaf blades flat or the margins becoming inrolled when dry, glabrous or roughened on one or both surfaces. Inflorescences consisting of 7 to usually numerous spikelike racemes, these mostly alternate along the main axis, ascending to less commonly spreading, the whole inflorescence much longer than wide. Spikelike racemes with numerous, densely to loosely spaced, short‑stalked spikelets positioned in 2 rows on 1 side of the slender axis, this usually not prolonged past the terminal spikelet. Spikelets flattened laterally, with 2–12 florets, disarticulating above the glumes. Glumes slightly unequal in size, varying from shorter than the adjacent lemmas to longer than the rest of the spikelet, 1(3)‑nerved, keeled, awnless or short‑awned, roughened along the midnerve. Lemmas lanceolate to ovate, bluntly to sharply pointed at the tip, sometimes with a minute notch or 2 short teeth, 3‑nerved, awnless or short‑awned, hairy along the nerves, at least toward the base, sometimes nearly glabrous. Paleas slightly shorter than the lemmas, 2‑nerved, often somewhat folded longitudinally. Stamens (2)3. Fruits brown. Thirty‑two to 40 species, nearly worldwide, mostly in tropical and warm‑temperate regions.

The classification of Leptochloa used here follows that of Snow (1997, 1998), who recently completed a comprehensive revision of the genus as part of his doctoral dissertation. Snow has presented evidence for keeping the segregate genus Diplachne as part of Leptochloa and also argued convincingly for broadened species concepts in some portions of the genus.


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1 Spikelets 1.0–3.5 mm long, with 2–4 florets; lemmas 1.0–1.7 mm long; leaf sheaths sparsely to densely pubescent with pustular-based hairs 3 Leptochloa panicea
+ Spikelets 4–12 mm long, with 4–8(–12) florets; lemmas 2.3–5.0 mm long; leaf sheaths glabrous, or if pubescent then the hairs without pustular bases (2)
2 (1) Plants perennial; anthers 1.0–1.6 mm long; fruits 1.9–2.3 mm long 1 Leptochloa dubia
+ Plants annual; anthers 0.2–1.0 mm long; fruits 1–2 mm long (3)
3 (2) Spikelets 5–12 mm long, with 6–12 florets; at least some of the lemmas with an awn 0.5–2.5 mm long at the tip (except in ssp. uninervia) 2 Leptochloa fusca
+ Spikelets 3.5–5.0 mm long, with 4–7 florets; lemmas awnless or with a minute, sharp point at the tip 4 Leptochloa panicoides
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