Xyris surinamensis

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Xyris surinamensis


Cespitose, hard-based, often bulbous, perennial, 25-40 cm high, stem short. Leaves 15-30 cm, often nearly as long as scapes, ascending or slightly spreading sheath strongly ciliate, firm, rugose, red to purple or castaneous, eligulate, blade flattened, 2-4 mm wide, margins mostly pale, incrassate, ciliate or scabro-ciliate, rarely papillose, surface mostly rugulose, strongly veined. Scapes distally flattened, 2-3 mm wide, with strong ribs forming edges, these pale-pilose-ciliate or scabrid; spikes ovoid to subglobose, becoming turbinate, 0.8-1 cm, brown to red-brown, with many stiff bracts in a spiral, empty ones several, lowest very small grading into the flowering ones, these oblong to obovate, 6-8 mm, slightly carinate, obtuse angled or rounded, dorsal area large, often venose, in lower ones frequently white-pilose. Lateral sepals free, subequilateral to inequilateral, narrow, 5-7 mm, curved, keel firm, lacerate, villosulous or ciliolate from middle to tip; petals broadly obovate, 5-6 mm; staminodes bearded; anthers ca. 2 mm. Capsule 4-5 mm, placentation basally axile, valves with strong septa; seeds few, cylindric-fusiform, ca. 1 mm, pale amber.


S Venezuela present, SE Colombia present, Suriname present, contiguous Amazonian Brazil present
SE Colombia eastward through S Venezuela to Suriname and S into contiguous Amazonian Brazil.


This species is highly variable in indumentum, in some collections scape edges are white-pilose, in others virtually smooth. In the savannas around and west of Mt. Roraima its pale yellow petals, along with those of X. bicephala and X. involucrata do much to decorate the expanses.