Kobresia kobresioidea

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Kobresia kobresioidea


Leaves longer than the stems, flat or canaliculate, shortly acuminate, 1½-3 mm wide; Inflorescence paniculate, decompound and rather lax below, compound and dense above, narrowly oblong, 6-8(-12) cm long.


Asia-Tropical, Atjeh present, Gajo Lands present, Goh Lembuh present, Kemiri present, Mts Losir present, N. Sumatra present
Malesia: N. Sumatra (Atjeh, Gajo Lands: Mts Losir, Kemiri, and Goh Lembuh).


When describing this remarkable species discovered by VAN STEENIS in 1937, KÜKENTHAL, although stating that to him it represents the last 'missing link' between Kobresia and Schoenoxiphium, referred it to the latter genus. In his monograph of the Caricoideae (1909) these two genera were kept apart for geographical and supposed phylogenetical reasons; the only definitely stated morphological difference (rachilla elongated and flattened in Schoenoxiphium, inconspicuous in Kobresia) is illusory. In referring the Sumatran plant to the African genus, KÜKENTHAL made the geographical reason for separation also ineffective. The nearest allies of the plant in question are undoubtedly some Kobresia spp. with paniculate inflorescence from Central Asia, e.g. K. laxa NEES, and there is no reason whatever for generic separation. All Schoenoxi- phium spp. of the African continent are much more remote; the Madagascan S. gracile CHERM. may be rather closely allied.
In my opinion the numerous attempts to distinguish between Schoenoxiphium and Kobresia in morphological terms have completely failed.
BENTHAM (1881, 1883) restricted Schoenoxiphium to a single species and accommodated the other ones together with some Indian Kobresias into a new genus, Hemicarex, with all the characters of Carex except that the prophyll is open to below the middle or even quite to the base, the rachilla present but not exceeding the glume. As he included the typespecies of Schoenoxiphium in Hemicarex, the latter name is nomenclaturally a later synonym of the former. In doing so BENTHAM had to place two forms of Kobresia laxa with different distribution of sexes into two genera (Hemicarex laxa and Kobresia pseudolaxa), and even in two different tribes (Cariceae and Sclerieae), obviously not recognizing either the homology of the open prophyll and the closed utricle, or of the spikes with several female spikelets and those in which only the female flower in the cladoprophyll is present.
To be concluded. The treatment of Carex and Uncinia is to be concluded in a later volume. Unfortunately Dr KERN’S Mss were not finished at the time of his death.


KÜK. 1944 – In: Fedde, Rep. 53: 102