Charles M. Allen and David W. Hall
Plants annual or perennial; cespitose, rhizomatous, or stoloniferous. Culms 3-400 cm, erect, spreading or prostrate, sometimes trailing for 200+ cm. Sheaths open; auricles sometimes present; ligules membranous. Inflorescences terminal, sometimes also axillary, panicles of 1-many spikelike branches, these digitate or racemose on the rachis, spreading to erect, 1 or more branches completely or partially hidden in the sheaths in some species; branch axes flattened, usually narrowly to broadly winged, usually terminating in a spikelet, sometimes extending beyond the distal spikelet but never forming a distinct bristle; disarticulation below the glumes. Spikelets subsessile to shortly pedicellate, plano-convex, rounded to acuminate, dorsally compressed, not subtended by bristles or a ring like callus, solitary or paired (1 spikelet of the pair reduced in some species), in 2 rows along 1 side of the branches, with 2 florets, first rachilla segment not swollen, upper glumes and upper lemmas adjacent to the branch axes; lower florets sterile; upper florets sessile or stipitate, bisexual, acute or rounded. Lower glumes absent or present only on some spikelets of each branch, without veins or 1-veined, unawned; upper glumes and lower lemmas subequal, membranous, apices rounded, unawned; lower paleas absent or rudimentary; upper lemmas convex, indurate, smooth to slightly rugose, stramineous to dark brown, margins scarious, involute, clasping the paleas; upper paleas indurate, smooth to slightly rugose, stramineous to dark brown. Caryopses orbicular to elliptical, plano-convex or flattened, white, yellow, or brown. x = 10, 12. Name from the Greek paspalos, a kind of millet.
SELECTED REFERENCES Banks, D.J. 1966. Taxonomy of Paspalum setaceum (Gramineae). Sida 2:269-284; COTECOCA (Comisión Técnico Consultiva de Coeficientes de Agostadero). 2000. Las Graminéas de México, vol. 5. Secretaria de Agricultura, Ganaderia y Desarrollo Rural, México, D.F., México. 466 pp.; Pohl, R.W. and G. Davidse. 1994. Paspalum L. Pp. 335-352 in G. Davidse, M. Sousa S., and A.O. Chater (eds.). Flora Mesoamericana, vol. 6: Alismataceae a Cyperaceae. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Biología, México, D.F., México. 543 pp.
T.A. Cope (1995) . Flora of Somalia 4:232
Plants annual or perennial. Leaves: ligules membranous, short. Inlforescences of numerous short, spikelike branches, these terminal and paired, digitate, or attached to an elongate axis, rarelysolitary; branch axes flat, narrowly or braodly winger, bearing single or paired spikelets in 2-4 rows; Spikelets round to oblong or ovate, usually plano-convex; lower glumes almost always absent, rarely a minute scale; upper glumes membranous, equaling the fertile floret; lower florets sterile, their lemmas resembling the upper glumes, paleas absent; upper florets: lemmas coriaceous to crustaceous, usually obtuse, margins inrolled and clasping the edges of the paleass; paleas usually obtuse, sometimes acute but not reflexed. Caryopses plano-convex.
Paspalum includes about 350 species. They are native in tropical regions throughout the world but are most abundant in the New World. One species, Paspalum vaginatum., grows in both Somaliland and Somalia.