G.534. Cenchrus L. - Starburs

BECKEROPSIS Fig. & De Not.

PENNISETUM Rich.

Chemisquy, M.A., Giussani, L.M., Scataglini, M.A., Kellogg, E.A. & Morrone, O. (2010) Phylogenetic studies favour the unification of Pennisetum, Cenchrus and Odontelytrum (Poaceae): a combined nuclear, plastid and morphological analysis, and nomenclatural combinations in Cenchrus Annals of Botany 106 107-130

Description of the genus

Annuals or perennials. Inflorescence a cylindric, spike-like panicle, bearing deciduous clusters of 1-several spikelets subtended by an involucre of bristles, these flexuous or spiny, filiform and free to the base or ± flattened and united below. Spikelets: lower glume up to 1/2 length of spikelet, sometimes 0; upper glume and lower lemma as spikelet or a little shorter; upper lemma chartaceous to thinly coriaceous with flat thin margins.

Derivation of name: From cenchros, the Greek word for millet

Comment: We have followed Chemisquy et al. (2010) in including Pennisetum within Cenchrus, on the grounds that Pennisetum, Cenchrus (and Odontelytrum) form a monophyletic group and that morphological differences, such as whether the bristles subtending the spikelets are free or partially fused, do not effectively separate the genera.

Worldwide: 30 species in warm and dry regions of America, Africa and India

Mozambique: 8 taxa.

The larvae of the following species of insect eat species of this genus:
Borbo fatuellus (Long-horned swift)
Cenchrus ciliaris

Links to taxa:     View: living plant images - herbarium specimen images - all images for this genus

SpeciesFZ divisionsContent
americanus (L.) MorroneZ,MS,GI,MDescription, Image
biflorus Roxb.N,GI,MDescription, Image
ciliaris L.MS,MDescription, Image
incertus M.A. CurtisM
mitis AnderssonN
polystachios (L.) Morrone subsp. polystachios N,Z
purpureus (Schumach.) MorroneN,Z,T,MSDescription, Image
unisetus (Nees) MorroneN,Z,MS

Other sources of information about Cenchrus:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Cenchrus
Flora of Caprivi: Cenchrus
Flora of Malawi: Cenchrus
Flora of Zambia: Cenchrus
Flora of Zimbabwe: Cenchrus
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Cenchrus

External websites:

ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Cenchrus
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Cenchrus
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Cenchrus
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Cenchrus
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Cenchrus
Kew Monocotyledon checklist: Cenchrus

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave 2007-19

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2019). Flora of Mozambique: Genus page: Cenchrus.
https://www.mozambiqueflora.com/speciesdata/genus.php?genus_id=212, retrieved 20 August 2019

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