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Vascular Plants of California
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Setaria sphacelata

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: SetariaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb. Stem: generally erect; internode solid to hollow inside. Leaf: basal and cauline; sheath generally glabrous, margins occasionally scabrous or ciliate; ligule short-hairy or membranous, ciliate; blade glabrous, scabrous, or hairy on one or both surfaces. Inflorescence: panicle-like, dense, generally cylindric; 1° branches spreading to appressed; spikelets many, generally clustered on one side of short 2° branches, short-stalked to subsessile, subtended by 1--15 bristles, bristles generally scabrous. Spikelet: falling as 1 unit, generally elliptic; glumes unequal; florets generally 2, +- equal, lower floret sterile or staminate, palea generally < lemma, upper floret fertile, firm, generally hard, rough, margin inrolled, tip blunt.
Species In Genus: +- 140 species: warm temperate, tropical Eurasia, Africa. Etymology: (Latin: bristly) Note: Some species cultivated for food. Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv., millet, common component of birdseed, occasionally collected but not persisting. Setaria megaphylla (Steud.) T. Durand & Schinz, Setaria verticilliformis Dumort. recorded in California from a few sites, but do not appear to be naturalized.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Robert Webster
Reference: Rominger 2003 FNANM 25:539--558
Setaria sphacelata (Schumach.) M.B. Moss ex Stapf & C.E. Hubb.
Habit: Perennial herb, cespitose or not. Stem: 6--30 dm. Leaf: sheath 4--10 cm, glabrous or hairy; ligule 1--2 mm; blade 10--50 cm, 3--15 mm wide, adaxial surface glabrous. Inflorescence: 9--40 cm; 1° branches 5--10 mm, axis glabrous; bristles 5--15; spikelet stalk < 0.5 mm. Spikelet: +- 2--3 mm, 1--1.5 mm wide; lower glume +- 1--1.5 mm, 2-veined, tip acute, upper glume 0.6--0.8 × spikelet; lower floret staminate; lemma 5-veined, tip acute; palea = lemma. Chromosomes: 2n=18,36.
Ecology: Ditch banks; Elevation: < 300 m. Bioregional Distribution: CaRF, GV; Distribution Outside California: southeastern United States, native to Africa. Flowering Time: Jul--Oct Note: Planted experimentally as a pasture grass and occasionally escaping.
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Robert Webster
Reference: Rominger 2003 FNANM 25:539--558
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Robert Webster 2012, Setaria sphacelata, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 07, 2021.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2021, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 07, 2021.

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Geographic subdivisions for Setaria sphacelata:
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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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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).