Imperata cylindrica (L.) Raeusch.

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Imperata cylindrica

Photo: Bart Wursten
Greystone Park NR

Imperata cylindrica

Photo: Bart Wursten
Cleveland Dam, Harare

Imperata cylindrica

Photo: Bart Wursten
Old cottages at Katiyo Tea Estate

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Synonyms: Imperata angolensis Fritsch
Imperata arundinacea Cirillo
Imperata arundinacea var. africana Andersson
Imperata arundinacea var. thunbergii (Retz.) Stapf
Imperata cylindrica var. africana (Andersson) C.E. Hubb.
Imperata cylindrica var. koenigii (Retz.) Pilg.
Imperata cylindrica var. major (Nees) C.E. Hubb.
Imperata cylindrica var. thunbergii (Retz.) T. Durand & Schinz
Imperata dinteri Pilg.
Imperata koenigii var. major Nees
Lagurus cylindricus L.
Saccharum koenigii Retz
Saccharum thunbergii Retz
Common names: Cottonwool grass (English) Kwenyama (Setswana) Silver spike (English)
Perennial, a water loving creeping grass, spreading with long rhizomes and often forming dense stands. The inflorescences are silvery and narrow when young, opening up into broad cottonwool spikes later. Culms 10–120 cm high. Panicle 3–22 cm long, 1–3 cm wide, spiciform but occasionally the lowest branches loose. Spikelets 2.2–6 mm long, obscured in copious silky white hairs; stamens 2.
Derivation of specific name: cylindrica: cylindric
Habitat: Locally frequent in seasonally wet places (vleis) and streamsides. Aggressive weed of disturbed and cultivated places
Flowering time:Aug - Jun
Worldwide distribution: Throughout the Old World tropics, extending to the Mediterranean region, SW Asia and Chile
Botswana distribution: N
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: Cnaphalocrocis trapezalis (Larval foodplant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 353. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 33.

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 21.

Cope, T.A. (2002). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(4) Pages 10 - 12. (Includes a picture).

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 46. As Imperata cylindrica koenigii

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 105.

Roodt, V. (2015). Grasses & Grazers of Botswana and the surrounding savanna Struik Nature, South Africa Pages 144 - 145. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 139.

Siebert, S. & Mössmer, M. (Editors) (2002). SABONET Southern Mozambique Expedition 2001; Provisional Plant Checklist of the Maputo Elephant Reserve (MER) and Licuati Forest Reserve (LFR) SABONET News 7(1) Page 28.

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 149.

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 190.

Other sources of information about Imperata cylindrica:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: Imperata cylindrica
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Imperata cylindrica
Flora of Malawi: Imperata cylindrica
Flora of Mozambique: Imperata cylindrica
Flora of Zambia: Imperata cylindrica
Flora of Zimbabwe: Imperata cylindrica

External websites:

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

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: Imperata cylindrica., retrieved 25 July 2024

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