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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 22 | Poaceae

150. Tragus Haller, Hist. Stirp. Helv. 2: 203. 1768.

锋芒草属 feng mang cao shu

Authors: Shou-liang Chen & Sylvia M. Phillips

Nazia Adanson, nom. rej.

Annuals or perennials. Leaf blades narrow, flat; ligule a line of hairs, sometimes from a membranous base. Inflorescence linear, cylindrical, spikelike, dense, axis bearing numerous very short racemes; racemes subsessile or shortly pedunculate, falling entire as spiny burrs; spikelets 2–5, contiguous or on a short rachis, sometimes the upper reduced. Spikelets elliptic to lanceolate, floret 1; lower glume a tiny scale or suppressed; upper glume as long as spikelet, rounded, prominently 5–7-veined, veins forming ribs armed with conspicuous, stout, hooked spines, thin between ribs, apex acute to acuminate; lemma ovate, almost as long as glume, flattened, membranous, 3-veined, pubescent around midvein, apex entire; palea slightly shorter than lemma. Caryopsis ellipsoid to oblong, slightly dorsally compressed.

Seven species: tropical and warm-temperate regions of the Old World; introduced in America; two species in China.

Both species occurring in China have been confused with the Mediterranean, African, and SW Asian Tragus racemosus (Linnaeus) Allioni, which differs in having 7 veins (vs. 5) in the upper glume.

1 Lower spikelet 3.5–4 mm, upper spikelet subequal, 3.2–3.7 mm; apex of upper glume extended beyond spines as long point.   1 T. mongolorum
+ Lower spikelet 2–3 mm, upper spikelet clearly smaller, 1.5–2.2 mm; apex of upper glume scarcely extended beyond spines.   2 T. berteronianus

Lower Taxa


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