Hyparrhenia variabilis Stapf

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Synonyms: Cymbopogon acutispathaceus De Wild.
Hyparrhenia acutispathacea (De Wild.) Robyns
Hyparrhenia iringensis Pilg.
Hyparrhenia spectabilis Stapf
Common names:
Status: Native
Robust perennial arising from a short rhizome clad in hard cataphylls; culms up to 300 cm high, supported by stilt roots, initially decumbent. Leaf sheaths glabrous or sometimes pubescent at the base; leaf laminas up to 45 cm × 15 mm, firm, glabrous or rarely hirsute at the base. False panicle 20–40 cm long, large, lax, decompound; spatheoles 1.4–2.4 cm long, boat-shaped (lanceolate in profile), glabrous, russet-red tinged with yellow and green at maturity; peduncles 3–9 mm long, up to c. 1/3 the length of the spatheole, barbate above with white hairs; racemes 0.8–1.3 cm long, 3–5-awned per pair, projecting laterally from the spatheole, deflexed; raceme-bases subequal, short, the superior c. 1 mm long, flattened, stiffly barbate, with a scarious rim up to 0.4 mm long at the apex. Homogamous spikelets 7–9 mm long, a single pair at the base of the inferior raceme only, glabrous to puberulous on the back, ciliate on the margins. Sessile spikelets 4–5 mm long; callus 0.5–1 mm long, cuneate, narrowly obtuse to subacute at the apex; inferior glume oblong-lanceolate, glabrescent to sparsely and shortly pubescent; awn 1.8–3.2 cm long, the column pubescent with pallid or tawny hairs. Pedicelled spikelets 5–8 mm long, glabrous to puberulous on the back, ciliate on the margins, terminating in an awn-point up to 6 mm long; callus scarcely developed; pedicel-tooth obscure.
Derivation of specific name: variabilis: variable, of many forms
Habitat: Growing in tall grassland and open woodland on a variety of soils; also common on roadsides and in areas of abandoned cultivation
Altitude range: 700 - 1560 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Comoro Is., Java, Madagascar, The eastern half of Africa from Ethiopia to South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Malawi distribution: N,C,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 350.

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 33.

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 21.

Cope, T.A. (2002). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(4) Pages 117 - 118. (Includes a picture).

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 45.

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 105.

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Pages 148 - 149.

Other sources of information about Hyparrhenia variabilis:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Hyparrhenia variabilis
Flora of Mozambique: Hyparrhenia variabilis
Flora of Zambia: Hyparrhenia variabilis
Flora of Zimbabwe: Hyparrhenia variabilis

External websites:

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

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: Hyparrhenia variabilis.
https://www.malawiflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=109020, retrieved 13 April 2024

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