Hemarthria altissima (Poir.) Stapf & C.E. Hubb.

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Hemarthria altissima

Photo: Bart Wursten
Cleveland Dam

Hemarthria altissima

Photo: Bart Wursten
Cleveland Dam

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Synonyms: Hemarthria compressa subsp. altissima (Poir.) Maire
Hemarthria fasciculata (Lam.) Kunth
Manisuris altissima (Poir.) Hitchc.
Rottboellia altissima Poir.
Rottboellia compressa L. var. fasciculata (Lam.) Hack.
Rottboellia fasciculata Lam.
Rottboellia heterochroa Gand.
Common names: Red swamp grass (English) Red vlei grass (English) Swamp couch (English)
Status: Native
Stoloniferous perennial; culms up to 250 cm long and 2–4 mm in diameter, prostrate and rooting at the nodes below. Leaf laminas 5–15 cm × 3–4 mm, flat. Racemes 4–10 cm long, mostly borne singly in the axils and exserted from the axillary sheath. Sessile spikelet elliptic-oblong, with a triangular callus; inferior glume 4–6 mm long, with or without a constriction near the apex, obtuse to emarginate at the apex; superior glume obtuse to acute at the apex. Pedicelled spikelet narrowly triangular, 4–6 mm long, truncate at the base and without a callus, subacute to acute at the apex.
Notes: Perennial mat-forming grass, growing from creeping rhizomes. Inflorescences are often inconspicuous and difficult to distinguish from the actual culms. Spikelets often sunken into the flattened raceme, except when young (see image).
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: In vleis, along river banks and on the shores of dams and lakes.
Flowering time:Nov - May
Worldwide distribution: Mediterranean region and widespread in Africa, Madagascar, Borneo, Burma and Thailand; introduced in America.
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 31.

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 20.

Cope, T.A. (2002). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(4) Page 166.

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 42.

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.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 138.

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 Hemarthria altissima:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: Hemarthria altissima
Flora of Malawi: Hemarthria altissima
Flora of Mozambique: Hemarthria altissima
Flora of Zambia: Hemarthria altissima
Flora of Zimbabwe: Hemarthria altissima

External websites:

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

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: Hemarthria altissima.
https://www.botswanaflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=109170, retrieved 24 April 2024

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