Plants annual or perennial; rhizomatous, stoloniferous,
or cespitose. Culms
5-150 cm, not woody, branched above the base; internodes hollow. Leaves
cauline; auricles sometimes present; ligules membranous,
sometimes ciliate; blades flat or rolled, with or without cross
terminal, usually contracted, dense panicles, distal 1/2 of the rachises
concealed by the spikelets; branches fused to the rachises or free
and appressed to ascending; pedicels with discoid apices; disarticulation below
the glumes and below the upper florets. Spikelets bisexual, with
2 florets, rounded to acute; rachilla internodes not swollen. Glumes unequal,
prominently veined, unawned; lower glumes 3-7-veined; upper
as long as or exceeding the upper florets, distinctly saccate or gibbous,
lower florets 0.8-1.9 mm, sterile or staminate, less than 1/2 as
long as the spikelets; lower lemmas resembling the upper glumes
but not saccate, sometimes with a transverse row of hairs, 5-9-veined,
unawned; lower paleas
present or absent, 0-2-veined; upper lemmas subcoriaceous to subindurate,
dorsally compressed, glabrous, smooth, margins inrolled or flat, never
hyaline, faintly 3-5-veined; upper paleas similar to the lemmas,
2-veined; lodicules 2,
fleshy, glabrous. x = 9. Name from the Greek sakkion, small
bag, and lepis, scale, alluding to the saccate upper glumes.
Sacciolepis is a genus of 30 species. It is represented throughout the tropics and subtropics, primarily in Africa. Two species grow in the Flora region. One is native; the other is an introduction that has become established. Most species grow along and in ponds, lakes, streams, ditches, and other moist areas. The prominently multi-veined, saccate upper glumes and contracted panicles distinguish Sacciolepis from all other grasses in the Flora region.
Primary branches fused to the rachises for at least 3/4 of their length; lower branches 0.1-0.5 cm long; upper glumes 9-veined; paleas of the lower florets 0.5-1 mm long, to 1/2 as long as the lower lemmas ..... 1. S. indica
Primary branches ascending, free from the rachises; lower branches 0.4-11.5 cm long; upper glumes 11(12)-veined; paleas of the lower florets 2-4 mm long, 3/4 to almost as long as the lower lemmas ..... 2. S. striata
1. Sacciolepis indica (L.) Chase
Plants annual; cespitose. Culms 5-100 cm, decumbent, spreading, trailing, often rooting at the lower nodes; nodes glabrous. Sheaths and collars glabrous; ligules 0.1-0.7 mm long, membranous, truncate; blades 1-14.3 cm long, 1.5-5.5 mm wide, glabrous, not cordate at the base. Panicles 0.5-9(13) cm long, 4-7 mm wide, contracted; primary branches fused to the rachises for at least 3/4 of their length; lower branches 0.1-0.5 cm; pedicels 0.3-1.8 mm. Spikelets 2.1-3.3 mm, with or without papillose-based hairs on the upper glumes and lower lemmas, green to dark purple. Lower glumes 1.1-1.9 mm, glabrous, 3-5(7)-veined, margins hyaline; upper glumes 2-3.3 mm, slightly saccate, glabrous adaxially, 9-veined; lower florets sterile (rarely staminate); lower lemmas 1.9-3.1 mm, 7-9-veined, veins equidistant; lower paleas 0.5-1 mm long, 0.1-0.2 mm wide, 1/2 or less as long as the lower lemmas, narrow, membranous, white, not veined; upper lemmas 1.3-1.6 mm, subcoriaceous, glabrous, shiny, white, with 3-5 obscure veins, acute; anthers 3, 0.5-0.8 mm, dark reddish-brown to reddish-purple; styles purple. Caryopses 1-1.3 mm long, 0.5-0.7 mm wide, glabrous. 2n = 18, 36.
Sacciolepis indica is native to the Eastern Hemisphere tropics. It is now established in the coastal states of the southeastern United States, where it grows in and along streams, ponds, lakes, ditches, and other moist places. It flowers from late summer to fall.
2. Sacciolepis striata (L.) Nash
Plants perennial; with or without rhizomes. Culms 80-150 cm, erect or decumbent, sprawling, trailing, often rooting at the lower nodes; nodes glabrous or pubescent. Sheaths mostly glabrous or with papillose-based hairs, margins sometimes ciliate; collars pubescent adaxially, usually glabrous abaxially, margins ciliate; ligules 0.2-0.7 mm, membranous, ciliate; blades (2.3)4-28.5 cm long, 2.9-22 mm wide, glabrous or with papillose-based hairs, bases cordate, margins ciliate basally. Panicles 3-29.5 cm long, 0.7-3.1 cm wide, contracted; branches ascending to appressed, not fused to the rachises; lower branches (0.4)1-11.5 cm; pedicels 0.1-5.1 mm. Spikelets 2.9-5 mm, green (occasionally mostly purple), tips of the upper glumes and the sterile lemmas dark purple. Lower glumes 0.8-1.7 mm, 3-5-veined, margins hyaline; upper glumes 2.9-4.8 mm, conspicuously saccate, 11(12)-veined, sparsely puberulent in the distal 1/3, obtuse to acute; lower florets staminate; lower lemmas 2.8-4.9 mm, 5-7-veined, veins unequally spaced, lateral veins near the margin, margins hyaline and usually overlapping the palea distally; lower paleas 2-4 mm long, 0.8-1 mm wide, 3/4 to almost equaling the lower lemmas; anthers 3, 1.1-1.7 mm, yellow to yellow-red to purple; upper lemmas 1.5-2 mm, subcoriaceous, shiny, white, glabrous, with 5 obscure veins, rounded to truncate, margins membranous, not inrolled over the paleas, scabridulous; upper paleas similar to the lemmas; anthers 3, 0.7-1 mm, yellow; styles purple. Caryopses 1-1.3 mm long, 0.7-0.9 mm wide, glabrous. 2n = 36.
Sacciolepis striata is native to the southeastern United States and the West Indies, and from the Guianas to Venezuela and Brazil (Amapá). It grows along and in ponds, lakes, streams, and ditches, and flowers in late summer to fall.