Chrysopogon aciculatis

Name and classification

Chrysopogon aciculatis (Retz.) Trin.
Family Poaceae, Tribe Andropogoneae

Common names

pilipiliula, love grass

Disseminule

spikelet cluster of sessile spikelet with two pedicellate spikelets, or sessile spikelet with two pedicels; disarticulation of pedicellate and sessile spikelets at their bases

Description

Spikelets heteromorphic. Sessile spikelets 3.4–4.3 mm long (not including callus), 0.5–0.6 mm wide, of 1 fertile floret and 1 basal sterile lemma. Callus 3–7 mm long, pointed, +/– densely covered with golden-colored hairs. Glumes dissimilar, margins of upper glume overlap lower glume; lower glume cartilaginous, flatter than upper glume, 2-keeled on margins of upper half, keels scabrous, apex truncate; upper glume acuminate to mucronate, 1-keeled in center, keel scabrous. Sterile lemma hyaline. Fertile lemma with apical awn 3.5–8 mm long. Pedicels mostly glabrous, more than half the length of the sessile spikelet, slender. Pedicellate spikelets 4.4–7.1 mm long, sterile; glumes acute to acuminate.

Identification considerations

Distinguishing characteristic of Chrysopogon aciculatis: pedicels glabrous and more than half the length of sessile spikelet.

Distribution

Indian subcontinent to Southeast Asia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan; Australia and the Pacific Islands; Hawaii

native to India and China

Habitat

open areas and rocky slopes, meadows; a weed in pastures, lawns, rangelands, wastelands, perennial crops

General information

Chrysopogon aciculatis is a quickly-spreading, erect rhizomatous perennial grass with creeping stolons, to 50 cm tall. The spikelets of this grass cling to animal hair, where the sharp callus works its way into the animal’s flesh, causing ulcerations. The sharp, callused spikelets also become embedded in dogs’ feet. Propagation is by grain, stolons and rhizomes.

sessile spikelets, all with two pedicellate spikelets except second from right, with just pedicels

sessile spikelets, all with two pedicellate spikelets except second from right, with just pedicels

sessile spikelets, detail

sessile spikelets, detail

caryopses, extracted from bracts (left 2 specimens) and with awned lemma and palea still attached (right)

caryopses, extracted from bracts (left 2 specimens) and with awned lemma and palea still attached (right)

A, sessile spikelet, including callus and awn; B–D, sessile spikelet with two pedicels; B, side view; C, dorsal view; D, ventral view; E, caryopsis in ventral view; F, caryopsis in dorsal view; drawing by Lynda E. Chandler

A, sessile spikelet, including callus and awn; B–D, sessile spikelet with two pedicels; B, side view; C, dorsal view; D, ventral view; E, caryopsis in ventral view; F, caryopsis in dorsal view; drawing by Lynda E. Chandler