Sporobolus africanus (Poir.) A. Robyns & Tournay

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Synonyms: Agrostis africana Poir.
Agrostis capensis Willd.
Agrostis spicata Thunb.
Sporobolus capensis (P. Beauv.) Kunth
Sporobolus indicus sensu Stapf, non (L.) R.Br.
Sporobolus indicus var. africanus (Poir.) Jovet & Guédès
Vilfa capensis P. Beauv.
Common names:
Caespitose perennial without rhizomes or stolons; culms up to 130 cm tall, erect, unbranched; basal leaf sheaths broad, chartaceous, glabrous, laterally compressed, persistent; leaf laminas up to 40 cm × 1–4 mm, flat or involute, glabrous or scaberulous on the surfaces, thinly scabrid on the margins, tapering to a long filiform apex.Panicle (10)20–45 cm long, linear to spiciform; primary branches not in whorls, appressed to the main axis 1–2 cm long, thinly scabrid, eglandular, subsecund, the spikelets densely arranged along their whole length.Spikelets 1.7–2.6 mm long, greyish-green to dark green; inferior glume 1/5–2/5 the length of the spikelet, broadly oblong, hyaline, nerveless, glabrous, obtuse at the apex; superior glume 2/5–3/5 the length of the spikelet, narrowly ovate, hyaline, 1-nerved, glabrous, acute at the apex; lemma as long as the spikelet, ovate-elliptic, acute; anthers 3, 0.6–1.2 mm long.Grain (0.8)1–1.2 mm long, elliptic to obovate, truncate at the top, tetragonal in section.
Derivation of specific name: africanus: African
Habitat: Floodplain and swampy grasslands; also in montane grassland and margins of evergreen forest
Altitude range: 100 - 2300 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Arabia, Ascension Island, Botswana, Cameroon, Easter Island, Hawaii, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, and southwards to South Africa
Malawi distribution: N,S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 362.

Cope, T.A. (1999). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(2) Pages 186 - 187.

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 60. As Sporobolus capensis

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 110.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 145.

Other sources of information about Sporobolus africanus:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Sporobolus africanus
Flora of Caprivi: Sporobolus africanus
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Sporobolus africanus
Flora of Mozambique: Sporobolus africanus
Flora of Zambia: Sporobolus africanus
Flora of Zimbabwe: Sporobolus africanus

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Sporobolus africanus
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Sporobolus africanus
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Sporobolus africanus
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Sporobolus africanus
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Sporobolus africanus
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Sporobolus africanus
JSTOR Plant Science: Sporobolus africanus
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Sporobolus africanus
Plants of the World Online: Sporobolus africanus
Tropicos: Sporobolus africanus
Wikipedia: Sporobolus africanus

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Malawi: Species information: Sporobolus africanus.
https://www.malawiflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=105400, retrieved 16 April 2024

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