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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 22 | Poaceae | Paspalum

9. Paspalum vaginatum Swartz, Prodr. 21. 1788.

海雀稗 hai que bai

Digitaria vaginata (Swartz) Magnier ex Debeaux; Paspalum distichum subsp. vaginatum (Swartz) Maire; Paspalum distichum var. vaginatum (Swartz) Grisebach; Sanguinaria vaginata (Swartz) Bubani.

Perennial with short rhizome and long stolons. Culms solitary or tufted, many-noded, 10–50 cm tall. Leaf sheaths imbricate, often keeled, margins membranous; leaf blades distichous, linear, rather stiffly ascending, 2.5–15 × 0.3–0.8 cm, apex acute; ligule 0.5–1 mm. Inflorescence of (1–)2(–3) racemes arising together at culm apex; racemes 2–5 cm, usually closely approximate when young, later spreading; spikelets single, in 2 rows; rachis 1–2 mm wide. Spikelets pale brownish green, narrowly lanceolate-oblong, strongly flattened, 3.5–4 mm, acute; lower glume absent or rarely a tiny vestige; upper glume thinly papery, weakly 5-veined, midvein often suppressed, glabrous; lower lemma resembling upper glume; upper lemma pale green, 2.5–3 mm, shorter than spikelet, cartilaginous, apex minutely pubescent. Fl. and fr. Jun–Sep.

Sandy seashores, swamps, along the margins of slow-moving streams. Hainan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Yunnan [tropics and subtropics throughout the world].

This is one of the first plants to colonize the seashore. It is an efficient sand binder and a common saltmarsh plant, where it may form pure stands. It is sometimes also found in inland saline marshes.


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