G.534. Cenchrus L. - Starburs



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

Zambia: 11 taxa.

The larvae of the following species of insect eat species of this genus:
Borbo fatuellus (Long-horned swift)
No image yet

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

SpeciesFZ divisionsProvincesContent
americanus (L.) MorroneEWDescription, Image
biflorus Roxb.B,C,SN,S,WDescription, Image
ciliaris L.SDescription, Image
geniculatus Thunb.NNDescription
macrourus (Trin.) MorroneB,N,SN
pedicellatus (Trin.) Morrone SS
polystachios (L.) Morrone subsp. atrichus (Stapf & C.E. Hubb.) MorroneB,N,W,CLp,Lk,WDescription
polystachios (L.) Morrone subsp. polystachios N,W,C,ENw,C
purpureus (Schumach.) MorroneN,W,C,E,SNw,Lk,SDescription, Image
setaceus (Forssk.) MorroneC,SLk,SDescription, Image
unisetus (Nees) MorroneN,W,C,ECb,N,E,Lk

Other sources of information about Cenchrus:

Our websites:

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

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Cenchrus
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Cenchrus
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Cenchrus
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Cenchrus
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Cenchrus
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Cenchrus
JSTOR Plant Science: Cenchrus
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Cenchrus
Plants of the World Online: Cenchrus
Tropicos: Cenchrus
Wikipedia: Cenchrus

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-24

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2024). Flora of Zambia: Genus page: Cenchrus.
https://www.zambiaflora.com/speciesdata/genus.php?genus_id=212, retrieved 25 May 2024

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