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Pennisetum ciliare
BUFFEL GRASS

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: GRASS FAMILY
Habit: Annual to woody perennial herb; roots generally fibrous. Stem: generally round, hollow; nodes swollen, solid. Leaf: alternate, 2-ranked, generally linear, parallel-veined; sheath generally open; ligule membranous or hairy, at blade base. Inflorescence: various (of generally many spikelets). Spikelet: glumes generally 2; florets (lemma, palea, flower) 1--many; lemma generally membranous, sometimes glume-like; palea generally +- transparent, +- enclosed by lemma. Flower: generally bisexual, minute; perianth vestigial; stamens generally 3; stigmas generally 2, generally plumose. Fruit: grain, sometimes achene- or utricle-like.
Genera In Family: 650--900 genera; +- 10550 species: worldwide; greatest economic importance of any family (wheat, rice, maize, millet, sorghum, sugar cane, forage crops, ornamental, weeds; thatching, weaving, building materials). Note: Generally wind-pollinated. Achnatherum, Ampelodesmos, Hesperostipa, Nassella, Piptatherum, Piptochaetium, Ptilagrostis moved to Stipa; Elytrigia, Leymus, Pascopyrum, Pseudoroegneria, Taeniatherum to Elymus; Hierochloe to Anthoxanthum; Lolium, Vulpia to Festuca; Lycurus to Muhlenbergia; Monanthochloe to Distichlis; Pleuraphis to Hilaria; Rhynchelytrum to Melinis. The following taxa (in genera not included here), recorded in California from historical collections or reported in literature, are extirpated, lacking vouchers, or not considered naturalized: Acrachne racemosa (Roth) Ohwi, Allolepis texana (Vasey) Soderstr. & H.F. Decker, Amphibromus nervosus (Hook. f.) Baill., Axonopus affinis Chase, Axonopus fissifolius (Raddi) Kuhlm., Coix lacryma-jobi L., Cutandia memphitica (Spreng.) K. Richt., Dinebra retroflexa (Vahl) Panz., Eremochloa ciliaris (L.) Merr., Eustachys distichophylla (Lag.) Nees, Gaudinia fragilis (L.) P. Beauv., Miscanthus sinensis Andersson, Neyraudia arundinacea (L.) Henrard, Phyllostachys aurea Rivière & C. Rivière, Phyllostachys bambusoides Siebold & Zuccarini, Rottboellia cochinchinensis (Lour.) Clayton, Schedonnardus paniculatus (Nutt.) Branner & Coville, Schizachyrium cirratum (Hack.) Wooton & Standl., Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash, Themeda quadrivalvis (L.) Kuntze, Thysanolaena latifolia (Hornem.) Honda, Tribolium obliterum (Hemsl.) Renvoize, Zea mays L., Zizania palustris L. var. interior (Fassett) Dore, Zoysia japonica Steud. Paspalum pubiflorum E. Fourn., Paspalum quadrifarium Lam., are now reported for southern California (J Bot Res Inst Texas 4:761--770). See Glossary p. 30 for illustrations of general family characteristics.
eFlora Treatment Author: James P. Smith, Jr., except as noted
Scientific Editor: James P. Smith, Jr., J. Travis Columbus, Dieter H. Wilken.
Genus: PennisetumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: FOUNTAIN GRASS
Habit: Annual, perennial herb. Stem: generally erect and tufted; internode solid or hollow. Leaf: basal and cauline; sheath generally glabrous; ligule short-hairy or membranous, ciliate. Inflorescence: terminal and/or axillary, generally panicle-like, dense, +- cylindric (raceme-like in Pennisetum clandestinum); spikelets generally many, short-stalked to sessile, generally in clusters of 1--4 on highly reduced branches, subtended by 6--many inner and outer sets of bristles and a single terminal generally >> than the others; spikelet cluster and bristles generally falling as 1 unit. Spikelet: dorsally compressed to +- round in ×-section; glumes 1--2, lower glume < upper when present; upper +- = spikelet; florets 2, lower floret sterile or staminate; upper floret fertile, lemma firm, +- thick or hard, smooth or scabrous, generally dull, margin flat to inrolled, tip blunt; palea < lemma, = in texture; anthers 3.
Species In Genus: +- 80 species: mostly warm temperate, subtropics, tropics. Etymology: (Latin: feather or plume + bristle, conspicuous bristles subtending spikelets) Note: Separation of Pennisetum from Cenchrus remains unsettled. Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br., Pennisetum latifolium Spreng., Pennisetum macrourum Trin., Pennisetum nervosum (Nees) Trin., Pennisetum purpureum Schumach. have been collected in California, but none has become naturalized. Some species cultivated for ornamental, food (pearl millet), fodder, fiber for paper-making; others are aggressive weeds.

Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link
NATURALIZED
Habit: Perennial herb from knotty base, short rhizomes present or 0. Stem: erect, 1--15 dm, glabrous (except sometimes below inflorescence). Leaf: sheath 2--7 cm, glabrous or hairy; ligule 0.5--3 mm; blade 3--25(50) cm, 2.5--13 mm wide, glabrous or pubescent on both sides, green or glaucous. Inflorescence: panicle-like, 2--13 cm; main axis straight; outer subtending bristles 16--90, to 12 mm; inner bristles 7--20, 4--14 mm, fused to 1/4 length, terminal bristle 10--23 mm, long-ciliate. Spikelet: 2.5--5.5 mm, lanceolate to ovate, gray to green; lower glume 1--3 mm, upper +- 1.5--3.5 mm; lower floret staminate or sterile, lemma 2.5--5.5 mm; palea present or 0. Chromosomes: 2n=45.
Ecology: Disturbed areas; Elevation: < 110 m. Bioregional Distribution: SCo, PR, DSon; Distribution Outside California: to Texas, northern Mexico; native to Africa, western Asia, India. Flowering Time: Apr--Oct
Synonyms: Cenchrus ciliaris L.
eFlora Treatment Author: James P. Smith, Jr.
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Citation for this treatment: James P. Smith, Jr. 2016. Pennisetum ciliare, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=36817, accessed on February 11, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on February 11, 2016.


Pennisetum ciliare
click for enlargement
© 2007 Steve Matson
Pennisetum ciliare
click for enlargement
© 2013 Keir Morse
Pennisetum ciliare
click for enlargement
© 2007 Steve Matson
Pennisetum ciliare
click for enlargement
© 2013 Keir Morse
Pennisetum ciliare
click for enlargement
© 2007 Steve Matson
Pennisetum ciliare
click for enlargement
© 2013 Keir Morse

More photos of Pennisetum ciliare in CalPhotos


Geographic subdivisions for Pennisetum ciliare:
SCo, PR, DSon;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.