Stephan L. Hatch
Plants annual or perennial; tufted, stoloniferous, or rhizomatous. Culms 5-115(160) cm, erect or decumbent, often rooting at the lower nodes, not branching above the base. Sheaths not overlapping, open, keeled; auricles absent; ligulesmembranous, membranous and ciliate, or of hairs; blades flat or involute. Inflorescences terminal, panicles of 2-11, digitately arranged spicate branches; branches with axes 0.8-11 cm long, extending beyond the spikelets, terminating in a point, the spikelets imbricate in 2 rows on the lower sides. Spikelets with 3-7 bisexual florets, additional sterile florets distally; disarticulationusually above the glumes, the florets falling as a unit. Glumes unequal, shorter than the adjacent lemmas, 1-veined, keeled; lower glumes acute, mucronate; upper glumes subapically awned, awns curved; calluses glabrous; lemmas membranous, glabrous, 3-veined (lateral veins sometimes indistinct), strongly keeled, apices entire, mucronate, or awned; paleas glabrous; anthers 3, yellow; ovaries glabrous; styles fused. Fruit utricles; seeds falling free of the hyaline pericarp, transversely rugose or granular. x = 10. Name from the Greek daktylos, finger, and ktenion, a little comb, describing the comblike inflorescence branches.
SELECTED REFERENCES Black, J.M.1978. Gramineae. Pp. 88-249 in J.M. Black. Flora of South Australia, Part I, ed. 3 (rev. J.P. Jessop). D.J. Woolman, Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. 466 pp.; Clayton, W.D., S.M. Phillips, and S.A. Renvoize. 1974. Flora of Tropical East Africa. Gramineae (Part 2) (ed. R.M. Pohill). Whitefriars Press, Ltd., London, England. 373 pp.; Jacobs, S.W.L. and S.M. Hastings. 1993. Dactyloctenium. Pp. 527-529 in G.J. Harden (ed.). Flora of New South Wales, vol. 4. New South Wales University Press, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia. 775 pp.; Koekemoer, M. 1991. Dactyloctenium Willd. Pp. 99-101 inG.E. Gibbs Russell, L. Watson, M. Koekemoer, L. Smook, N.P. Barker, H.M. Anderson, and M.J. Dallwitz. Grasses of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). National Botanic Gardens, Botanical Research Institute, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa. 437 pp.
Cope, T.A. (1995) Poaceae in Flora of Somalia 4: 148-270
Plants annual or perennial herbs. Ligules membranous. Inflorescences of paired or digitate spikelike branches; branches with overlapping spikelets, eventually disarticulating at the base, terminating in naked tips. Spikelets with several florets; disarticulation above the glumes, usually not between the florets; upper glumes with an oblique awn arising from just below their tips; lemmas strongly keeled, membranous, glabrous, acute to shortly awned, tips often recurved. Grains with free pericarp.
Dactyloctenium includes about 13 species and grows around the Indian Ocean from Natal to northern India and Australia. One species, Dactyloctenium aegyptium is a cosmopolitan weed.
Key to the species of Dactyloctenium in Somaliland and Somalia.