Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Scleria lithosperma (L.) Sw. var. lithosperma

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Herbarium specimen. © CSIRO

Bentham, G. (1878) Flora Australiensis 7: 430.

Common name

Florida Keys nutrush; Slender nutrush


Tufted perennial with slender stems 40-60 cm or more tall.


Leaves with an obtuse apex, lamina glaucescent, 1-4 mm wide; sheaths pubescent in the middle of the sides; contraligule short, obtuse, ovate to triangular, hirsute or ciliate.


Inflorescence narrow, very loose and up to 30 cm long, with a terminal panicle and 2-3 diatant axillary ones; spikelets few; primary bracts usually much exceeding their panicles. Spikelets bisexual, 1-3 in clusters, with 1 female flower and a few to several male flowers, 3-5 mm long. Glumes ovate to lanceolate, acuminate, with a green scabrid keel, rest streaked reddish brown. Disc reduced to a narrow, brown, minutely glandular ring concrete with the base of the nut.


Nut ovoid or oblong-ovoid, obtusely trigonous, minutely umbonulate, about as long as the glumes, at the base with 3 depressions which are rugulose by transverse, wavy, minutely glandular ridges, otherwise the surface is smooth and shining.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NT and CEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 400 m. Occurs in rainforest, notophyll vine forest, deciduous vine thicket and in Eucalypt woodland. A Pantropical species that occurs throughout Malesia and New Guinea.

Scleria lithosperma (L.) Sw., Nova Genera & Species Plantarum seu Prodromus : 18(1788). Scirpus lithospermus L., Species Plantarum 1: 51(1753), Type: Rheede, Hort. Malab, pl. 48 (1693).
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