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Pakistan | Family List | Pakistan V. 206 | Cyperaceae

15. Cyperus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 44. 1753; Gen. Pl., ed. 5: 26. 1754; Boiss., Fl. Or. 5: 363. 1882; C.B.Clarke in Hook.f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 6: 597. 1893; R. R. Stewart, l.c. 86. 1972; Kukkonen in Rech.f., Fl. Iranica 173: 85. 1998.

Perennials or sometimes annuals, to 150 cm or more. Rhizome often sturdy and long creeping, producing stolons or tillers, sometimes tuberous. Stem trigonous or terete, rarely septate. Leaves from shorter than to much longer than stem; blades sometimes reduced, ligule mostly 0. Inflorescence variable, from a few spikes to a compact head-like structure or compound anthelodium. Bracts of several lowest partial inflorescences foliose. Spikes in ultimate distal partial inflorescences (cluster of spikes) spicately or digitately arranged, supported by glume-like bracts, and with binerved glume-like, often spongy prophylls; glumes from 3 to more than 50, distichous, or (in subg. Micheliani) eventually, spirally arranged; sides of glumes often extending as rachis wings down spike rachis and enclosing flower and nut on opposite side of rachis; glumes or sometimes whole spikes caducous; whole spike axis sometimes swollen, articulated. Flowers bisexual, with 1-3 stamens, stigmas 2 or 3. Nut trigonous or bi-convex, flat side pressed against the spike axis.

A genus with c. 600 species, distributed in tropical and warm regions; represented in Pakistan by c. 40 species.

The classification of the highly variable genus Cyperus is still unstable. Kern (in Fl. Malesiana, 1974), following K√ľkenthal (Das Pflanzenreich IV.20, Heft 101: 1-671. 1935-36) with some modifications, not only treated the genus Cyperus collectively, but recognized only 3 subgenera (see also Fl. Europaea 5, 1980). Haines and Lye (Sedges and Rushes of E. Afr., 1983) at the other extreme accepted no fewer than 15 subgenera. The rather conservative view of Goetghebeur (l.c., 1989) is followed here, i.e. the genera Pycreus and Kyllinga are maintained. Within Cyperus several subgenera are recognized instead of only the two by Goetghebeur.

1 (1) Inflorescence small and compact, stigmas 2, nut lenticular.   (1)
+ Inflorescence mostly large anthelodium, stigmas 3, if 2 then inflorescence large and nut mostly trigonous.   (2)
2 (1) Inflorescence globose head.   3 subg. Micheliani
+ Inflorescence pseudolateral compact group of spikes.   4 subg. Juncellus
3 (3) Spike axis persistent when the glumes and nuts have fallen off.   (3)
+ Spike axis disarticulating, falling off with nuts and glumes.   5 subg. Mariscus
4 Spikes spicately arranged along distal partial inflorescence axis (cluster of spikes).   1 subg. Cyperus
+ Spikes digitately arranged on distal partial inflorescence axis (cluster of spikes).   2 subg. Pycnostachys

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