Cymbopogon caesius (Hook. & Arn.) Stapf
subsp. caesius

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Synonyms: Andropogon connatus A. Rich.
Cymbopogon excavatus (Hochst.) Stapf
Common names: Broad-leaved turpentine grass (English)
Status: Native
Caespitose perennial; culms up to 200(300) cm high. Leaves smooth, sometimes purplish; ligule 0.5–2(3) mm long, minutely dentate; laminas 9–37 cm × 7–28 mm wide, amplexicaul, cordate or rounded at the base, broader below and tapering to a very fine point at the apex. Inflorescence elongated and ± interrupted, 7.5–70 cm long, reddish. Racemes 11–20 mm long; internodes and pedicels pilose with silvery-white hairs, the lowermost swollen and fused together. Sessile spikelet 3–5.5 mm long, glabrous; inferior glume with a V-shaped median groove, winged on the keels in the upper 1/2–1/3, entire or dentate at the apex; superior lemma linear, bifid to about the middle; awn delicate, 7–19.5 mm long, with a distinct column; anthers 1.4–2.6(3) mm long, straw-coloured. Pedicelled spikelet male, 3–4 mm long, longer than the sessile spikelet, glabrous.
Notes: The species-group is characterized by having distinct swollen and fused lowermost internodes and pedicels. C. caesius sens. lat. (subsp. caesius and subsp. giganteus) shows great range of variation in habit and leaf size. Such characters are not fully correlated with each other and are certainly not correlated with any other character. Nevertheless, a reasonable number of specimens can be separated into those with delicate wiry culms and those with more robust culms by using lamina width. But there is a continuous range of variation in these and all other characters. The more robust plants (subsp. giganteus) are restricted to the northern, more tropical areas. Further studies are needed to ascertain whether the differences in habit between the two extremes of the range of variation are merely those of phenotypic plasticity or not. Lamina width can vary greatly in an individual and measurements should be taken of the widest leaves in a specimen.
Derivation of specific name: caesius: bluish-grey
Habitat: In open forest and grassland, pastures, cultivated fields and roadsides in a variety of soils
Altitude range: 30 - 1400 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Sudan and Yemen southwards to southern Africa and Namibia, extending to southern India and Sri Lanka
Malawi distribution: N
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 12. As Cymbopogon caesius

Cope, T.A. (2002). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(4) Pages 76 - 78. (Includes a picture).

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 459. as Cymbopogon caesius (Includes a picture).

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 33. As Cymbopogon excavatus

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 101.

Roodt, V. (2015). Grasses & Grazers of Botswana and the surrounding savanna Struik Nature, South Africa Pages 70 - 71. as Cymbopogon excavatus (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 133.

Siebert, S. & Mössmer, M. (Editors) (2002). SABONET Southern Mozambique Expedition 2001; Provisional Plant Checklist of the Maputo Elephant Reserve (MER) and Licuati Forest Reserve (LFR) SABONET News 7(1) Page 27. As Cymbopogon excavatus

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 187.

Other sources of information about Cymbopogon caesius subsp. caesius:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Cymbopogon caesius subsp. caesius
Flora of Caprivi: Cymbopogon caesius subsp. caesius
Flora of Mozambique: Cymbopogon caesius subsp. caesius
Flora of Zambia: Cymbopogon caesius subsp. caesius
Flora of Zimbabwe: Cymbopogon caesius subsp. caesius

External websites:

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

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: Cymbopogon caesius subsp. caesius., retrieved 15 July 2024

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