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Dactyloctenium aegyptium

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
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: DactylocteniumView Description 

Habit: Annual, perennial herb; tufted, stoloniferous, or rhizomatous Stem: erect or decumbent; 5--115 cm, often rooting at lower nodes. Leaf: ligule membranous; blade flat or inrolled, 4--25 cm, 2--8 mm wide. Inflorescence: terminal, panicle-like, branches 2--11, finger-like, each with 2 rows of overlapping, sessile spikelets along lower side; axis extending beyond spikelets. Spikelet: laterally compressed; glumes unequal, wide, 1-veined, keeled, lower persistent, acute, upper deciduous, short-awned, awn generally curved; axis breaking apart above glumes, florets falling as a unit; bisexual florets 3--7; lemma membranous, keeled, 3-veined, lateral veins generally faint, tip acuminate or short-awned, awn generally curved; palea +- = lemma. Fruit: utricle-like, seed falling free from outer wall.
Etymology: (Greek: finger + a small comb, from spikelet arrangement on branches)
eFlora Treatment Author: James P. Smith, Jr.
Reference: Hatch 2003 FNANM 25:112--114
Unabridged Reference: Koekemoer in Gibbs Russell et al. 1991 Grasses of Southern Africa pp 99--101
Dactyloctenium aegyptium (L.) Willd.
Habit: Annual, stoloniferous perennial herb. Stem: 10--35(100) cm, rooting at lower nodes. Leaf: sheath keeled, with bulbous-based hairs; ligule 0.5--1 mm, membranous, ciliate; blade 5--20 cm, 2--8 mm wide, margin ciliate, hairs bulbous-based. Inflorescence: branches generally 2--5, 1--6 cm. Spikelet: +- 4 mm, +- 3 mm wide; glumes 1.5--2 mm, lower ovate, acute, upper elliptic, obtuse, awned, awn to 2.5 mm; florets 3; lemma +- 3 mm, ovate, midvein extended as curved awn to 1 mm; palea +- = lemma. Chromosomes: 2n=20,36,40,45,48.
Ecology: Disturbed places; Elevation: < 300 m. Bioregional Distribution: SnJV (Kern Co.), SCo, PR, DSon; Distribution Outside California: southern and eastern United States, worldwide in warmer areas; native to Africa. Flowering Time: Jul--Nov
Jepson eFlora Author: James P. Smith, Jr.
Reference: Hatch 2003 FNANM 25:112--114
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Dactyloctenium aegyptium

botanical illustration including Dactyloctenium aegyptium


Citation for this treatment: James P. Smith, Jr. 2012, Dactyloctenium aegyptium, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on August 18, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on August 18, 2022.

Dactyloctenium aegyptium
click for enlargement
© 2014 Neal Kramer
Dactyloctenium aegyptium
click for enlargement
© 2014 Neal Kramer
Dactyloctenium aegyptium
click for enlargement
© 2014 Neal Kramer
Dactyloctenium aegyptium
click for enlargement
© 2014 Neal Kramer

More photos of Dactyloctenium aegyptium in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Dactyloctenium aegyptium:
SnJV (Kern Co.), SCo, PR, DSon
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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).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).