Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Dactyloctenium aegyptium (L.) Willd.

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Herbarium specimen. © DERM

Willdenow, C.L. von (1809) Enumeratio Plantarum Horti Regii Botanici Berolinensis 2: 1029.

Common name

Coast Button Grass


Annual. Culms slender to moderately robust, geniculately ascending more often shortly stoloniferous and mat-forming, 15-60 cm tall, rooting at the nodes.


Leaf sheaths glabrous with ciliate margins; leaf blades flat, margin thickened, 5-20 × 0.2-0.6 cm, tuberculate-pilose on both surfaces, apex acute or acuminate; ligule membranous, 0.5-2 mm with a ciliate margin.


Inflorescence digitate with 2-9 (mostly 4) linear to narrowly oblong racemes, often radiating horizontally. Rachis triangular in cross section, exceeding spikelets. Spikelets densely arranged in 2 overlapping rows on one side of rachis, broadly ovate, 3-4.5 mm, long hairs at base of florests, florets 3-4; lower glume narrowly lanceolate, with a thick hispidulous keel; upper glume elliptic to narrowly obovate, keel smooth, extended into a stout scabrid awn 1/2-2 times length of glume body; lemmas ovate, 2.6-4 mm, keel gibbous and hispidulous above middle, often extended into a stout mucro; palea equal to lemma, keels winged, wings ciliolate, tip 2-toothed.


Grain ca. 1 mm, broadly obtriangular and prominently transversely rugose.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 680 m. Grows in rainforest margins, in Eucalypt forest, various types of woodland and grassland. Also from tropical and warm-temperate regions of the Old World.

Natural History & Notes

A weed of disturbed places and cultivation. A fodder grass.

Cynosurus aegyptius L., Species Plantarum 1: 72(1753).
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