Habit and leaf form. Herbs (the base pubescent); evergreen. Switch-plants; with the principal photosynthesizing function transferred to stems (culms). Leaves well developed, or much reduced (the blade being much reduced or absent). Perennial. Young stems cylindrical (striate); not breaking easily at the nodes. Stem internodes hollow. Rhizomatous. Helophytic. Leaves alternate; distichous, or spiral; leathery, or membranous; sessile; sheathing (and more or less reduced to the sheaths). Leaf sheaths with free margins (persistent, appressed). Leaves simple; with a persistent basal meristem, and basipetal development. Vegetative anatomy. Plants with silica bodies. Leaf anatomy. Leaf blade epidermis conspicuously differentiated into ‘long’ and ‘short’ cells, or without differentiation into ‘long’ and ‘short’ cells. Guard-cells not ‘grass type’, or ‘grass type’. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening absent.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers functionally male, or functionally female. Unisexual flowers present. Plants dioecious (or some populations parthenogenic and female only). Female flowers with staminodes, or without staminodes. Male flowers with pistillodes, or without pistillodes. Floral nectaries absent (nectaries absent). Anemophilous.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in ‘spikelets’. Inflorescences scapiflorous, or not scapiflorous; terminal; male and female spikelets very different in appearance, solitary or several together at 1 or several upper nodes. Flowers bracteate; bracteolate, or ebracteolate; cyclic. Perigone tube absent. Perianth of ‘tepals’; members 5 (2 outer tepals keeled, inner tepals flat); 2 -whorled; anisomerous; sepaloid. Fertile stamens present, or absent (when female). Androecium 3. Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another; 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 3; remaining included; oppositiperianthial (opposite the inner perianth members). Anthers dorsifixed; versatile, or non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse, or latrorse; bisporangiate, or tetrasporangiate; appendaged, or unappendaged. Pollen shed as single grains. Fertile gynoecium present, or absent (male flowers). Gynoecium 2 carpelled, or 3 carpelled. The pistil 2 celled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth, or reduced in number relative to the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious; superior. Ovary plurilocular; 2 locular; sessile to stipitate. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 2; partially joined. Placentation axile to apical. Ovules 1 per locule; funicled, or sessile; pendulous; non-arillate; orthotropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules loculicidal. Fruit 2 seeded. Seeds copiously endospermic. Embryo weakly differentiated. Seedling. Hypocotyl internode absent. Mesocotyl absent. Seedling collar not conspicuous. Cotyledon hyperphyll elongated; assimilatory; more or less circular in t.s. Coleoptile absent. Seedling cataphylls absent. First leaf centric. Primary root ephemeral.
Additional characters Perianth of male flowers of ‘tepals’; 5. Perianth of female flowers of ‘tepals’; 5 (with dense red-brown hairs along the keel). Stems glabrous; sparsely branched, or simple. Male spikelets many-flowered (30–50-flowered, pendulous on slender pedicels, with spreading lanceolate, acute glumes with 1 or 2 sterile lower glumes). Female spikelets several-flowered to many-flowered (5–10-flowered, erect, ovoid, with broad ovate aristate glumes, often with 1–3 sterile lower glumes). Caespitose. Spikelets less than 10 mm long. Testa with irregular longitudinal lines of convex cells only.
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Western Australian Herbarium (1998–). FloraBase—the Western Australian Flora. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/