Caribbean cupgrass Eriochloa polystachya, copyright Cyril Crusson.

Belongs within: Poaceae.
Contains: Andropogoneae, Panicum, Brachiaria, Digitaria, Pennisetum, Cenchrus, Paspalum, Setaria, Echinochloa.

The Panicoideae are a clade of over 3200 species of grasses. It is one of the largest grass groups to possess the C4 photosynthetic pathway that is believed to be associated with adaptation for arid climates, though many species within the Panicoideae have reverted to the more standard C3 pathway. Major subgroups include the Paniceae, members of which bear deciduous, two-flowered spikelets with a staminate or barren lower floret and an indurated, fertile upper floret enclosing the caryopsis (Flora of China). Members of the genus Arundinella, found in many of the warmer regions of the world, have spikelets that become disarticulated at maturity below the upper fertile floret. In the genus Isachne, the mature spikelet disarticulates further down, above the glumes.

Characters (from Grass Phylogeny Working Group 2001): Plants annual or perennial (rhizomatous, stoloniferous, caespitose or decumbent), primarily herbaceous, of the tropics and subtropics, but also diverse in the temperate zone. Culms solid or less commonly hollow. Leaves distichous; abaxial ligule usually absent, occasionally present as a line of hairs; adaxial ligule a fringed or unfringed membrane, or a fringe of hairs, or sometimes absent; blades relatively broad to narrow, sometimes pseudopetiolate, venation parallel; sheaths usually nonauriculate. Inflorescences panicles, racemes, or spikes, or complex combinations of these, bracts outside of the spikelets present (Andropogoneae) or absent (Paniceae). Spikelets bisexual or unisexual (if the latter plants dioecious or monoecious), frequently paired in combinations with long and short pedicels, usually with glumes 2, sterile lemma 1, and female-fertile floret 1, dorsally compressed or less commonly not compressed or laterally compressed, disarticulating below the glumes (above the glumes in Arundinelleae) or the inflorescence axes breaking apart; lemma lacking uncinate macrohairs, if awned, the awn single; palea well developed (Paniceae) or reduced to absent (Andropogoneae); lodicules 2 or sometimes absent, cuneate, free, fleshy, usually glabrous; stamens 3; ovary usually glabrous, apical appendage absent, haustorial synergids absent, styles 2, free or fused, close, stigmas 2 (rarely 1 or 3). Caryopsis with the hilum usually short; endosperm hard, without lipid, containing simple or less commonly compound starch grains; embryo usually large, epiblast absent or rarely present, scutellar cleft present, mesocotyl internode elongated, embryonic leaf margins overlapping or rarely meeting. Foliar mesophyll radiate or nonradiate, an adaxial palisade layer absent, fusoid cells absent except in Homolepis and Streptostachys, arm cells usually absent; Kranz anatomy present or absent; midrib simple or rarely complex; adaxial bulliform cells present. Foliar stomata with triangular or dome-shaped subsidiary cells; bicellular microhairs present, panicoid-type, rarely absent; papillae absent or present (mostly in the Andropogoneae).

<==Panicoideae [Andropogonoideae, Rottboellioideae, Saccharoideae]
    |--Danthoniopsis GPWG01
    |    |--D. dinteri GPWG01
    |    `--D. petiolata GPWG01
    `--+--+--Andropogoneae GPWG01
       |  `--Arundinella Raddi 1823 KC01 [Arundinelleae GPWG01]
       |       |--A. ciliata S03
       |       |--A. leptochloa S03
       |       |--A. nepalensis LK14
       |       |--A. purpurea S03
       |       |    |--A. p. var. purpurea S03
       |       |    `--A. p. var. laxa S03
       |       `--A. setosa S03
       `--Paniceae GPWG01
            |--Panicum GPWG01
            |--Brachiaria GPWG01
            |--Digitaria GPWG01
            |--Zygochloa paradoxa M99
            |--Pennisetum PL04
            |--Cenchrus C06
            |--Paspalum GPWG01
            |--Ichnanthus pallens Munro 1861 [=Panicum pallens Sw. 1788] S06
            |--Setaria S06
            |--Echinochloa V72
            |--Leptoloma cognatum V72
            |--Spinifex C06
            |    |--S. hirsutus [incl. Ixalum inerme] C06
            |    |--S. littoreus M99
            |    |--S. longifolius KM08
            |    `--S. sericeus M99
            |--Oplismenus Beauv. 1807 [incl. Hippagrostis Rumpf. 1749 (pre-Linnean), Orthopogon Br. 1810] S06
            |    |--O. burmanni C55
            |    |--O. compositus S06 [=P. compositum S06; incl. P. hirtellum S06, Oplismenus hirtellus H03]
            |    |    |  i. s.: O. c. var. loliaceus (Lam.) Hackel in Stuckert 1906 (see below for synonymy) S06
            |    |    |--O. c. ssp. compositus H03
            |    |    `--O. ‘hirtellus’ ssp. imbecilis H03
            |    `--O. undulatifolius (see below for synonymy) C06
            |--Dichanthelium S57
            |    |  i. s.: D. oligosanthes GPWG01
            |    `--‘Panicum subg. Dichanthelium’ sect. Commutata S57
            |         |--P. albomaculatum Scribner 1900 S57
            |         |--P. clivum Sohns 1957 S57
            |         |--P. hintonii S57
            |         `--P. joorii S57
            `--Eriochloa S06
                 |--E. acuminata [incl. E. gracilis] H93
                 |--E. aristata H93
                 |--E. australiensis LK14
                 |--E. contracta H93
                 |--E. crebra LK14
                 |--E. montevidensis S06
                 |    |--E. m. f. montevidensis S06
                 |    `--E. m. f. subcolorata S06
                 |--E. polystachya F92
                 `--E. procera S03

Panicoideae incertae sedis:
  Homolepis GPWG01
  Streptostachys GPWG01
  Hubbardieae GPWG01
  Isachne [Isachneae] GPWG01
    |--I. australis A27
    |--I. bourneorum S03
    |--I. deccanensis S03
    |--I. dispar S03
    |--I. elegans S03
    |--I. kunthiana SR07
    |--I. oreades S03
    |--I. rigidifolia J87
    `--I. walkeri S03
  Steyermarkochloa [Steyermarkochloeae] GPWG01

Oplismenus compositus var. loliaceus (Lam.) Hackel in Stuckert 1906 [=Panicum loliaceum, Hippagrostis loliaceus, Orthopogon loliaceus] S06

Oplismenus undulatifolius [incl. Op. aemulus, Orthopogon aemulus, Hekaterosachne elatior, Panicum imbelicille, Oplismenus setarius] C06

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A27] Andersen, J. C. 1927. Popular names of New Zealand plants. Part 2. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 905–977.

[C55] Candolle, A. de. 1855. Géographie Botanique Raisonée: Ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle vol. 2. Librairie de Victor Masson: Paris.

[C06] Cheeseman, T. F. 1906. Manual of the New Zealand Flora. John Mackay, Government Printer: Wellington.

[F92] Fan Z. 1992. Key to the Common Flies of China 2nd ed. Science Press: Beijing.

[GPWG01] Grass Phylogeny Working Group. 2001. Phylogeny and subfamilial classification of the grasses (Poaceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 88 (3): 373–457.

[H03] Heads, M. 2003. Ericaceae in Malesia: vicariance biogeography, terrane tectonics and ecology. Telopea 10 (1): 311–449.

[H93] Hickman, J. C. (ed.) 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press: Berkeley (California).

[J87] Judd, W. S. 1987. Floristic study of Morne La Visite and Pic Macaya National Parks, Haiti. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum—Biological Sciences 32 (1): 1–136.

[KM08] Keighery, G. J., & W. Muir. 2008. Vegetation and vascular flora of Faure Island, Shark Bay, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 75: 11–19.

[KC01] Kirk, P. M., P. F. Cannon, J. C. David & J. A. Stalpers. 2001. Ainsworth & Bisby's Dictionary of the Fungi 9th ed. CAB International: Wallingford (UK).

[LK14] Lyons, M. N., G. J. Keighery, L. A. Gibson & T. Handasyde. 2014. Flora and vegetation communities of selected islands off the Kimberley coast of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 81: 205–244.

[M99] Matthews, M. 1999. Heliothine Moths of Australia: A guide to bollworms and related noctuid groups. CSIRO Publishing.

[PL04] Pohl, G., & I. Lenski. 2004. Zur Verbreitung und Vergesellschaftung von Pennisetum orientale Rich. in Nordeuböa (Griechenland) (Poaceae, Paniceae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 83 (2): 209–223.

[SR07] Sankar, R. V., K. Ravikumar, N. M. Ganesh Babu & D. K. Ved. 2007. Botany of Anapady MPCA, Palghat district, Kerala with special emphasis on species of conservation concern. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 49: 165–172.

[S03] Singh, J. N. 2003. Grasses and their hydro-edaphic characteristics in the grassland habitat of Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve, Tamil Nadu. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 45: 143–164.

[S57] Sohns, E. R. 1957. New grasses from Mexico. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 46 (12): 376–388.

[S06] Stuckert, T. 1906. Segunda contribución al conocimiento de las gramináceas Argentinas. Anales del Museo Nacional de Buenos Aires, serie 3, 6: 409–555.

[V72] Voss, E. G. 1972. Michigan Flora. Part I. Gymnosperms and Monocots. Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium.

Last updated: 22 March 2020.

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