Machaerina rubiginosa

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Machaerina rubiginosa


Stamens 3; Panicle erect, narrow, dense or interrupted, (10-)20-50 cm long, consisting of 3-7 fascicles of branches, the lower branches distant, subtended by long-sheathing, shortly laminate bracts;


Asia-Tropical: Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia present, Singapore present); Maluku (Maluku present); New Guinea present; Philippines (Philippines present); Sumatera (Sumatera present), Australasia, Bengal present, Buru present, Central Java present, Ceylon present, Danau swamp in Bantam present, Dieng present, Japan present, Khasia present, Lake Lanao present, Mindanao present, New Caledonia present, New Zealand present, Rawah Tembaga near Djakarta present, Ryu Kyu Islands present, W. Java present
From Ceylon, Bengal, Khasia, the Ryu Kyu Islands, and Japan to Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia, in Malesia: Sumatra, Malay Peninsula (Singapore), W. Java (Danau swamp in Bantam and Rawah Tembaga near Djakarta), Central Java (Diëng), Philippines (Mindanao: Lake Lanao), Moluccas (Buru), and New Guinea.


In Sumatra and W. Java the leaves are sometimes used for making mats. These mats are of inferior quality as they are not damp-proof. In New Guinea used as a temporary tying material, also to plait children's baskets.


In the circumscription here accepted M. rubiginosa is extremely polymorphic; the extremes look like different species. KÜKENTHAL (1940, 1942) distinguished Cladium crassum (THW.) KÜK. from M. rubiginosa by the taller and broader stems, the thicker obsoletely septate leaves (not or very obsoletely septate in M. rubiginosa*), the longer inflorescence with less densely clustered spikelets, the longer style-base, and the larger nuts. I fail to see in what way he distinguished between Cladium crassum, C. rubiginosum var. subriparium (with stems up to 120 cm and leaves 4-6 mm thick), and C. rubiginosum var. subseptatum (with obsoletely septate leaves). In his keys these varieties are not taken into account at all. The type-collection of Cladium crassum (THWAITES CP845 from Ceylon), and also the specimens from India and Western Malesia (which perfectly agree with the Ceylon specimens) can easily be distinguished from typical M. rubiginosa by most of the characters indicated by KÜKENTHAL, although the leaves are certainly not more septate than in M. rubiginosa. The most striking differences are found in the larger spikelets (c. 7 mm long) and the larger nuts (c. 5 mm long including the c. 1 mm long pyramidal style-base). In typical M. rubiginosa the spikelets are 4-6 mm long, the nuts c. 3 mm with a much depressed style-base. In the few New Guinea collections available the spikelets are 5 mm long, the nuts 4 mm with small style-base, but stems and leaves are almost as coarse as in Cladium crassum. The only Philippine collection known was referred to Cladium rubiginosum var. subriparium by KÜKENTHAL, but I do not find any difference with C. crassum. The specimen from the Moluccas (Buru) is in flower; KÜKENTHAL referred it to C. crassum. Several of the collections from Australia and New Caledonia (all in flower only) are as coarse as C. crassum.
CLARKE (1894) treated the Ceylon and Indian specimens as a variety of the W. Australian Cladium riparium, but referred the Singapore ones, which are not separable, to Cladium glomeratum R.BR. (= M. rubiginosa).
As most collections I could study are in flower, I cannot solve the problem whether Cladium crassum is racially or even specifically distinct from M. rubiginosa.
, distinguished the Japanese plants as Cladium nipponicum, but I do not see any reason for separating them specifically from M. rubiginosa.


Clarke 1909: Ill. Cyp. f. 5-8
S. T. BLAKE 1948 – In: J. Arn. Arb. p 97
KERN 1968 – In: Back. & Bakh.f., Fl. Java 3. p 482
BACK. 1949 – In: Bekn. Fl. Java, (em. ed.). fam. 246, p. 8
Clarke 1894 – In: Fl. Br. Ind. p 675
Merr. 1915 – In: Philip. J. Sc. Bot. 288
R.BR. 1922: p. 115. – In: Exk. Fl. Java. f. 286
Koord. 1911 – In: Exk. Fl. Java. p 201
HJ. EICHL. 1965: Suppl. Fl. S. Austr. p 75
KÜK. 1942 – In: Fedde, Rep. 51. p 166
STEEN. 1932: Arch. Hydrobiol: 281-282. f. 3, 51, 52
Benth. 1878 – In: Fl. Austr. p 404
Ridl. 1907 – In: Mat. Fl. Mal. Pen. (Monoc.). p 85
KÜK. 1942 – In: Fedde, Rep. 51. p 171
BOECK. 1874 – In: Linnaea. p 238
Ridl. 1925 – In: Fl. Mal. Pen. p 166
1923 – In: En. Philip. p 129