17. KYLLINGA Rottbøll, Descr. Icon. Rar. Pl. 12, plate 4, fig. 3. 1773.
Greenhead sedge, spikesedge [for Peter Kylling, Danish botanist, d. 1696]
Gordon C. Tucker
Cyperus Linnaeus subg. Kyllinga (Rottbøll) J. V. Suringar
Herbs, annual or perennial, cespitose or not, rhizomatous or not. Culms solitary or not, trigonous. Leaves basal; ligules absent; blades flat or V-shaped in cross section. Inflorescences terminal, rarely pseudolateral, spikes 1–4, sessile, densely ovoid or cylindric; spikelets [15–]40–150 per spike, not readily distinguished by unaided eye; involucral bracts 2–4, spreading or erect, leaflike. Spikelets: scales 2(–3), distichous; proximal scale subtending bisexual flower; distal scale empty or subtending 1–2 stamens, often abortive. Flowers bisexual or staminate; perianth absent; stamens 1–3; styles linear, 2-fid, base persistent. Achenes biconvex, laterally compressed.
Species 40–45 (5 in the flora): mostly tropical or warm-temperate regions worldwide.
Tropical Africa contains the greatest diversity of Kyllinga species.
The genus is closely related to Cyperus and has been treated as a subgenus.
Delahoussaye, A. J. and J. W. Thieret. 1967. Cyperus subgenus Kyllinga (Cyperaceae) in the continental United States. Sida 3: 128–136. Padhye, M. D. 1971. Studies in the Cyperaceae. III. Life history of Kyllinga brevifolia Rottb. with a brief discussion on the taxonomic position of Kyllinga. Bot. Gaz. 132: 172–179. Tucker, G. C. 1984. A revision of the genus Kyllinga Rottb. (Cyperaceae) in Mexico and Central America. Rhodora 86: 507–538.