Aira caryophyllea L.

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Synonyms: Aira caryophyllea var. latigluma (Steud.) C. E. Hubb.
Aira latigluma Steud.
Common names:
A delicate loosely caespitose annual. Culms 5-30 cm. tall, 1-many-noded, rather slender, almost filiform, erect or ascending from a geniculate base, smooth, glabrous. Leaf-sheaths slightly longer or slightly shorter than the internodes, striate, tight at first later loose and slipping off the culm, scaberulous along the nerves. Ligule up to 4 mm. long, lanceolate-oblong or triangular-oblong, acute to subobtuse, often lacerate. Leaf-laminae 2-7 x 0.02-0.06 cm., filiform, subsetaceous, almost always convolute, usually erect, rarely spreading, scaberulous along the nerves on both surfaces and along the margins, glabrous. Panicle 0.9-7.5 cm. long, ovate to oblong or obovate in outline, erect, somewhat contracted or open and loose; rhachis filiform, glabrous, smooth, branches paired or rarely solitary, bearing spikelets in the upper 1/2, very slender, almost capillary. Pedicels 2-10 mm. long, capillary. Spikelets 2.5-4.5 mm. long, ovate to broadly oblong in lateral view, pallid green or silvery-grey, sometimes tinged with purple, slightly glossy. Glumes 2.75-4.5 mm. long, broadly lanceolate, minutely scaberulous along the keel. Lemmas 1.75-2.5 mm. long (excluding the awn), ovate-lanceolate with the apex acute to subobtuse, dorsally asperulous towards the apex; awn 3-4 mm. long, usually brown; callus appressed-pilose. Anthers c. 0.3 mm. long. Caryopsis c. 1 mm. long.
Notes: Specimens of an Aira from Eastern Zimbabwe have been included for the time being under the name A. caryophyllea which is the one applied to the plants from Malawi.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: Along roads, in open grassland, in disturbed areas, also abandoned fields, etc., usually on thin soil
Altitude range: (metres)
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: European species, also distributed through western Asia, North Africa, west tropical Africa, extending throughout east tropical Africa to the Cape Prov
Zimbabwe distribution: E
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 338. (Includes a picture).

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 27. As Aira carophyllea

Launert, E. (1971). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(1) Pages 79 - 81. (Includes a picture).

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 186.

Other sources of information about Aira caryophyllea:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: Aira caryophyllea
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Aira caryophyllea
Flora of Malawi: Aira caryophyllea

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Aira caryophyllea., retrieved 21 April 2024

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