Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Fimbristylis dichotoma (L.) Vahl

Click/tap on images to enlarge
Inflorescences. © CSIRO
Flowers. © CSIRO
Flowers. © CSIRO
Herbarium specimen. © DERM

Vahl, M.H. (1805) Enumeratio Plantarum 2: 287.

Common name

Common fringe sedge


Tufted perennial with very short rhizome. Culms slender to rather stout, compressed, 10-75 (rarely to 100) cm high, 1-2 mm diam.


Leaves from much shorter than to equalling culms, 1.5-5 mm wide, scabrid on the margins; ligule a dense fringe of short hairs, sometimes absent; leaf sheath with a broad papery margin covered in long hairs; top of ligule with dense long white hairs.


Inflorescence consists of 3-4 umbellate clusters of spikes on a peduncle. Each cluster subtended by linear leaf-like bracts up to 200 mm long. Spikes 8-14 mm long, the flowers spirally arranged. Glumes glabrous, brownish, ca. 3 x 1.5 mm, keel green consisting of 3 veins and area on sides of keel glossy, smooth and reddish brown. Anthers about 0.5 mm long. Rachilla strongly winged. Ovary obovoid, about 0.5-0.8 mm long. Style narrowed, articulate at the apex of the ovary, slightly enlarged, flattened and hairy at the apex. Stigmas 2.


Nut biconvex, obovoid or broad-obovoid, shortly stipitate, 0.7-1.3 x 0.6-1 mm, smooth or sparsely verruculose, conspicuously trabeculate by 5-10 (rarely more) longitudinal ribs on either face and numerous cross-bars, glistening white to pale yellow, rarely yellow-brown, with epidermal cells transversely elliptic to oblong.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and widespread through much of Australia. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1160 m. Grows in moist places along paths and roads in rainforest, also in rianforest margins, Eycalypt forest, Melaleuca forest and in moist places in various types of woodland and wooded grassland. Also occurs in all warmer parts of the world.

Natural History & Notes

Tends to become a weed of cultivation (Kern 1974).

Scirpus dichotomus L., Species Plantarum 1: 50(1753), Type: India. Herb. Hermann 40, v.2, f.63. Fimbristylis diphylla (Retz.) Vahl, Enumeratio Plantarum 2: 289(1805).
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.