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Vascular Plants of California
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Sporobolus cryptandrus

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: SporobolusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb. Stem: generally ascending to erect, 2--20 dm, generally tufted, +- solid in ×-section. Leaf: generally basal; cauline few, ascending or curving away; distal sheath margin and collar glabrous or hairy; ligule < 1 mm, hairy or membranous, fringed; blade flat to inrolled, generally glabrous or scabrous, occasionally short-soft-hairy. Inflorescence: terminal, also occasionally axillary, panicle- or spike-like, generally partly enclosed by sheath; branches spreading or appressed. Spikelet: < 6 mm, generally pale to gray-green or +- purple; glumes generally unequal, upper < or > lemma, membranous to translucent, 1-veined; floret bisexual, generally breaking above glumes; lemma texture generally like glumes, 1(3)-veined; palea < or > lemma. Fruit: utricle-like, when wet gelatinous with seed emergent from split ovary wall.
Etymology: (Greek: to throw seed, from deciduous seeds)
eFlora Treatment Author: Michael Curto
Reference: Peterson et al. 2003 FNANM 25:115--139
Unabridged Reference: Baaijens & Veldkamp 1991 Blumea 35: 393--458; Colbry 1957 Cont US Natl Mus 34:1--24; Veldkamp 1990 Taxon 39:327--328
Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) A. Gray
Habit: Perennial herb. Stem: tufted, erect, 3--10(12) dm. Leaf: base dull, green to brown, margin glabrous or ciliate, collar with conspicuous hairs to 4 mm; ligule < 0.5--1 mm, fringe hairs to 4 mm; blade 5--25 cm, 1--6 mm wide. Inflorescence: generally terminal, exserted to sheathed completely, spike-like initially, generally pyramid-shaped at maturity, open; 1° branches ascending, lowest generally > 3 cm, > internodes, 2° weakly spreading or appressed, bearing 3°, spikelets to near obscure base. Spikelet: 1.5--3 mm, green to purple or lead-colored; glumes narrowly lanceolate, tip acute, unequal, lower 0.5--1.1 mm, upper 1.5--2.7 mm, > 0.6 × lemma; lemma 1.5--2.5 mm, glabrous, ovate to lanceolate, tip acute; anthers 0.2--1 mm. Fruit: 0.7--1 mm, ellipsoid, striate, light- to red-brown. Chromosomes: 2n=36,38,72.
Ecology: Rocky to sandy washes, slopes, scrub, woodland; Elevation: 350--2800 m. Bioregional Distribution: SNH, SnGb, SnBr, PR, SNE, D, naturalized CaRF, ScV, waif in SnJV, SCoRO, SCo; Distribution Outside California: widespread southern Canada, United States (except Florida), northern Mexico, Argentina. Flowering Time: Apr--Oct
Synonyms: Sporobolus nealleyi Vasey, misappl. from San Luis Obispo Co.
Unabridged Note: FNANM 25:131 places Sporobolus nealleyi Vasey in San Luis Obispo Co. However, the only collection there (San Miguel, Keil 18434, OBI36541!) is Sporobolus cryptandrus. Seeded for erosion control or revegetation.
Jepson eFlora Author: Michael Curto
Reference: Peterson et al. 2003 FNANM 25:115--139
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: Michael Curto 2012, Sporobolus cryptandrus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 18, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 18, 2024.

Sporobolus cryptandrus
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©2023 Neal Kramer
Sporobolus cryptandrus
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©2012 Steve Matson
Sporobolus cryptandrus
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©2012 Steve Matson
Sporobolus cryptandrus
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©2012 Steve Matson
Sporobolus cryptandrus
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©2012 Steve Matson

More photos of Sporobolus cryptandrus
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Geographic subdivisions for Sporobolus cryptandrus:
SNH, SnGb, SnBr, PR, SNE, D, naturalized CaRF, ScV, waif in SnJV, SCoRO, SCo
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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).