Digitaria scalarum (Schweinf.) Chiov.

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Synonyms: Digitaria abyssinica auct.
Digitaria abyssinica var. scalarum (Schweinf.) Stapf
Digitaria ciliaris Vanderyst
Digitaria hackelii (Pilg.) Stapf
Digitaria mutica Rendle
Digitaria scalarum var. elgonensis C.E. Hubbard & Snowden
Digitaria somalensis Chiov.
Digitaria tangaensis Henrard
Digitaria vestita Fig. & DeNot. var. scalarum (Schweinf.) Henrard
Panicum hackelii Pilg.
Panicum muticum Hochst. ex A. Rich.
Panicum scalarum Schweinf.
Common names:
Status: Native
A rhizomatous perennial, rhizome conspicuously well developed, growing deeply, straight with vertically growing offshoots, much branched at groundlevel, sometimes stoloniferous. Culms (10)20–40 cm., ascending from a creeping base, glabrous, nodes dark, glabrous or hairy. Leaf sheaths often with many bulbous based bristles, sometimes scaberulous. Ligule 1–3 mm. long, truncate, erose or subentire. Leaf laminae 5–10 × 0.3–0.6 cm., linear, flat or involute, glabrous or sometimes loosely hairy on both surfaces, scabrous along the crisped margin. Inflorescence composed of (2)4–10(12) racemes, (1)3–10 cm. long, erect to patent, sometimes branched at the base, solitary along a well developed common axis. Rhachis triquetrous, narrowly winged, up to 0.4 mm. broad, smooth to scaberulous, with scaberulous margins. Pedicels 2 nate, 0.5–2.5 mm. long, subterete to triangular, scaberulous, scarcely broadened at the apex. Spikelets (1.6)1.7–2.2(2.4) mm. long, oblong-ovate, swollen. Inferior glume 1/10–1/4 of the spikelet, conspicuously heteromorphic, often erose or truncate, nerveless, glabrous, hyaline, sometimes purplish. Superior glume c.4/5 of to as long as the spikelet, ovate to oblong, 5(7)-nerved, glabrous or with some short, fine hairs in a marginal row, pale green, often purplish tinged. Inferior lemma as long as the spikelet, ovate-oblong with recurved margins, 7-nerved, glabrous or with a marginal row of short, fine hairs, pale green, often purplish tinged. Superior lemma as long as the spikelet, ovate-oblong, apiculate, swollen, bluish green to dark brown.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: Sandy flood plains, wet spots in disturbed sandy soils, weed in gardens.
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: from Cameroon to Ethiopia, southwards to South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Botswana distribution: N
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 21.

Clayton, W.D. (1989). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(3) Pages 159 - 161. (Includes a picture).

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 36.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 102.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 134.

Other sources of information about Digitaria scalarum:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Digitaria scalarum
Flora of Mozambique: Digitaria scalarum
Flora of Zambia: Digitaria scalarum
Flora of Zimbabwe: Digitaria scalarum

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Digitaria scalarum
African Plant Database: Digitaria scalarum
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Digitaria scalarum
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Digitaria scalarum
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Digitaria scalarum
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Digitaria scalarum
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Digitaria scalarum
JSTOR Plant Science: Digitaria scalarum
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Digitaria scalarum
Plants of the World Online: Digitaria scalarum
Tropicos: Digitaria scalarum
Wikipedia: Digitaria scalarum

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Botswana: Species information: Digitaria scalarum.
https://www.botswanaflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=107750, retrieved 23 July 2024

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