Setaria sphacelata (Schumach.) Moss

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Setaria sphacelata

Riverine woodland
Nsumbu National Park
May 2020
Photo: Nick Wightman

Setaria sphacelata

Riverine woodland
Nsumbu National Park
May 2020
Photo: Nick Wightman

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Synonyms: Panicum sphacelatum Schumach.
Setaria almaspicata de Wit
Setaria alpestris Peter
Setaria anceps Stapf
Setaria anceps var. sericea Stapf
Setaria angustifolia Stapf
Setaria aurea A. Braun
Setaria bussei Herrm.
Setaria cana de Wit
Setaria decipiens de Wit
Setaria flabellata Stapf
Setaria flabelliformis de Wit
Setaria homblei De Wild.
Setaria myosuroides Peter
Setaria neglecta de Wit
Setaria perennis Hack.
Setaria planifolia Stapf
Setaria scalaris Peter
Setaria sphacelata var. aurea (A.Br.) Clayton
Setaria sphacelata var. sericea (Stapf) Clayton
Setaria sphacelata var. splendida (Stapf) Clayton
Setaria sphacelata var. torta (Stapf) Clayton
Setaria splendida Stapf
Setaria stenantha Stapf
Setaria stolzii Stapf
Setaria torta Stapf
Setaria trinervia Stapf
Common names:
Status: Native
Tufted perennial grass, up to 2 m, growing from a short rhizome. Nodes hairless. Inflorescence a dense spike-like panicle. Spikelets 1.5-3.5 mm long, elliptic, oblique but scarcely gibbous or laterally compressed, pink to pale-purplish with golden bristles 1.5-12 mm long, 6–15 below each cluster of 1–4 spikelets. Inferior glume up to 1/2, the superior 1/3–2/3(3/4) length of spikelet and (3)5-nerved. Inferior floret male, its lemma thinly papery. Superior floret rugose, usually strongly so, but occasionally almost smooth.
Type location:
Notes: This is a very varied species, which, as the large number of synonyms shows, has often been divided into separate species. Some of these are still sometimes described as varieties or subspecies.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: In a wide variety of habitats but favouring damp situations.
Altitude range: Up to 2000 m
Flowering time:Oct - May
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in tropical and South Africa.
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): B,N,W,C,E,S
Zambian distribution (Provinces): Nw,C,Lk,W
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: Cnaphalocrocis trapezalis (Larval foodplant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Saturday 25 July 2020

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 362.

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 51. As Setaria sphacelata sericea

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 33. As Setaria sphacelata sericea

Clayton, W.D. (1989). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(3) Pages 98 - 100.

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Pages 139 - 140. under various subtaxa

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 512. (Includes a picture).

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 58. As Setaria angustifolia

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Pages 59 - 60. Also as Setaria splendida and S. stenantha

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 109.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 135.

Roodt, V. (2015). Grasses & Grazers of Botswana and the surrounding savanna Struik Nature, South Africa Pages 182 - 183. as var. sericea (Includes a picture).

Siebert, S. & Mössmer, M. (Editors) (2002). SABONET Southern Mozambique Expedition 2001; Provisional Plant Checklist of the Maputo Elephant Reserve (MER) and Licuati Forest Reserve (LFR) SABONET News 7(1) Page 28.

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 152. as Setaria sphacelata var. sericea

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 192.

Van Oudtshoorn, F.P. (1992). Grasses of South Africa Briza Publications, South Africa Pages 89 - 91. as vars. sericea, sphacelata and torta (Includes a picture).

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 86.

Other sources of information about Setaria sphacelata:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Setaria sphacelata
Flora of Caprivi: Setaria sphacelata
Flora of Malawi: Setaria sphacelata
Flora of Mozambique: Setaria sphacelata
Flora of Zimbabwe: Setaria sphacelata

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-23

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2023). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Setaria sphacelata., retrieved 30 November 2023

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