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Mnesithea mollicoma

Description from Flora of China

Rottboellia mollicoma Hance, J. Bot. 9: 134. 1871; Coelo-rachis mollicoma (Hance) Bor; Mnesithea pubescens Ridley.

Perennial. Culms erect, 60–85 cm, softly pilose. Leaf sheaths densely pilose or with caducous tubercle-based hairs; leaf blades linear-lanceolate, 10–60 × 0.5–2 cm, tapering to base and apex, softly pubescent; ligule 1–2 mm, glabrous or ciliolate. Racemes solitary in the upper leaf axils, cylindrical, ca. 12 cm × ca. 2.5 mm, sessile spikelets paired at each node and separated by a pedicel, or occasionally only one sessile spikelet present; rachis internodes strongly clavate, marked with dark lines between the veins on narrow lower portion, base shortly bearded. Sessile spikelet 3–4 mm; lower glume obliquely ovate, with 6–8, prominent, riblike veins separated by deep slits, slits interrupted by tubercle-based hairs along their length, margins narrowly winged toward apex; upper glume keeled toward apex, keel winged; lower floret reduced; upper lemma and palea subequal. Pedicel free, linear, flattened, pilose, bearing a vestigial 0.5–1 mm spikelet. Fl. and fr. Jul–Nov.

Mnesithea mollicoma is the only grass in China to have racemes usually with 2 sessile spikelets separated by a pedicel at each rachis node, although sometimes plants occur with some or all raceme segments bearing only 1 sessile spikelet. The species is also well marked by its softly hairy vegetative parts and ornamented sessile spikelet.

Grassy hill slopes; 100–500 m. Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan [Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam].


 

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