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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 22 | Poaceae

70. Colpodium Trinius, Fund. Agrost. 119. 1822.

小沿沟草属 xiao yan gou cao shu

Authors: Zhen-lan Wu & Sylvia M. Phillips

Catabrosella (Tzvelev) Tzvelev; Colpodium subg. Catabrosella Tzvelev; Colpodium subg. Paracolpodium Tzvelev; Paracol-podium (Tzvelev) Tzvelev.

Small perennials, tufted or rhizomatous. Leaf sheaths with partially connate margins, rarely split to base; leaf blades linear, flat or folded, apex hooded; ligule membranous. Inflorescence an open or contracted panicle or reduced to a raceme. Spikelets with 1–4 florets, glistening; rachilla disarticulating below each floret, extension above floret(s) short or absent; glumes unequal to subequal, upper glume 1/2 as long as to equaling or exceeding florets, lower glume 1-veined, upper glume 3-veined; lemmas ovate or oblong, thinly membranous becoming hyaline at apex, keeled, 3–5-veined below middle, intermediate veins often obscure or absent, veinless toward apex, glabrous or hairy on lower veins or back, apex obtuse to acute; palea about equal to lemma, keels smooth, glabrous or often hairy. Stamens 2 or 3. Caryopsis free or lemma and palea partially adherent; hilum elliptic to oblong. x = 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9.

Twenty-two species: Turkey eastward through the Caucasus to the Himalayas and E Siberia, also on a few mountains in Africa; five species in China.

Colpodium species usually occur on high mountains. They often resemble Poa morphologically, but can be distinguished by the thinner lemmas with veinless tips and smooth palea keels. Species with long glumes, a single floret, and 3-veined lemmas are not easily recognizable as members of tribe Poeae.

1 Spikelet with 2–4 florets; plant densely tufted; culms tuberously thickened at base.   1 C. humile
+ Spikelet with 1 floret; plant shortly rhizomatous; culms not tuberously thickened   (2)
2 (1) Glumes equaling or longer than floret, lanceolate   (3)
+ Glumes shorter than floret, at least the lower, oblong-lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate   (4)
3 (2) Leaf blades 3–4 mm wide; panicle branches bearing 3–4 clustered spikelets; lemma veins densely pilose below middle   2 C. tibeticum
+ Leaf blades 1–2 mm wide; panicle branches capillary, mostly with a single spikelet; lemma veins shortly pubescent below middle   3 C. wallichii
4 (2) Leaf blades green, 2–5 mm wide; panicle contracted, lower branches spreading; spikelets usually purple.   4 C. altaicum
+ Leaf blades glaucous, 1–3 mm wide; panicle very narrow, branches suberect to appressed; spikelets usually whitish green.   5 C. leucolepis

Lower Taxa


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