Carex brunnea

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Carex brunnea


Leaves subbasal, shorter to longer than the stems, rigid, flattish or condupli- cate, rarely subfiliform, usually asperous above, gradually attenuated towards the apex, (1-)2-6 mm wide. Inflorescence with (2-)4-8 fascicles of 2-7 spikelets (rarely all the spikelets solitary), narrow, erect or more or less nodding, c. 5-50 cm long, upper fascicles or spikelets approximate and some fastigiate, lower rather distant, one of the spikelets at each node (especially at the lower ones) usually longer than the others and with some smaller spikelets branching from it.


Asia-Temperate, Asia-Tropical: Borneo (Sarawak present); India present; Jawa (Jawa present); Maluku (Maluku present); New Guinea present; Philippines (Philippines present); Sulawesi (Sulawesi present), Australasia: New South Wales (New South Wales present); Queensland (Queensland present), Bohol present, Buru present, Ceylon present, Farther India present, Flores present, Gajolands present, Japan present, Ketambe present, Lesser Sunda Is present, Lombok present, Luzon present, Madagascar present, Mascarene Is present, Mindanao present, N. Sumatra present, NW. Borneo present, Negros present, New Caledonia present, Pacific: Hawaii present, Pajakumbuh present, Sumbawa present
Widely distributed from Madagascar and the Mascarene Is. to Ceylon, India, Farther India, China, Japan, the Hawaiian Is., New Caledonia, Australia (New South Wales and Queensland); in Malesia: New Guinea, Moluccas (Buru), Philippines (Luzon, Bohol, Negros, Mindanao), Celebes, Lesser Sunda Is. (Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores), NW. Borneo (Sarawak), Java (a few localities in W., Central & E.), N. Sumatra (Pajakumbuh; Gajolands: Ketambe).


As will be seen from the above description C. brunnea in the sense accepted here is extremely polymorphic, which is to be expected in so wide-ranging a species. Especially Japanese taxonomists have split it up into several micro- species and infraspecific taxa among which I do not see sharp distinctions. To me it is even very doubtful whether 59. C. teinogyna and 56. C. bilateralis, both closely related to C. brunnea, but which I have decided to treat provisionally as separate species, can be upheld as such in future.
Typical C. brunnea, described from Japan, has small, broadly ovate, c. 2.5 mm long utricles subtended by distinctly shorter glumes. Malesian specimens approaching this have only been found in N. Luzon.
According to Koyama (1962) the greater part of the Malesian specimens belong to C. hattoriana Nakai ex Tuyama, occurring from Bonin and Formosa through Malesia to Australia. To him it is quite distinct from C. brunnea by the strikingly large utricles 4-4.5 mm long, the longer glumes, and the larger male part of the spikelets.
Carex spadiceo-vaginata Ohwi, from New Guinea, is said to differ from C. brunnea by its looser spikelets, sparsely setulose, 3 mm long utricles with longer beak.
The type of C. buruensis Nelmes is a very delicate plant with almost filiform leaves and reduced inflorescences, which may be due to the habitat. Essential differences with C. brunnea I cannot find. It is connected with broader-leaved specimens of C. brunnea by a collection from New Guinea, which to Nelmes "represents a new variety or perhaps a new species".
I share the opinion of Koyama that C. meyenii Nees (C. brunnea subsp. meyenii (Nees) Koyama) differing from typical C. brunnea by the lanceolate, 3-4.5 mm long, long-beaked utricles setulose only on the margins, falls within the variability of C. brunnea, but refrain from maintaining it as a subspecies. I also agree with Koyama in the reduction of C. kanehirae Ohwi from Micronesia, to C. brunnea. I expect that several other 'species' described from Japan and the Pacific will have to be reduced to the polymorphic C. brunnea.
Carex brunnea var. subteinogyna Kuk. (non C. subteinogyna Ohwi), from the Philippines was described as having looser spikelets, lighter coloured, longer, acuminate glumes 5 mm long, and very long-beaked and sparsely setulose utricles with longer stipe. Nelmes (1950) altered this circumscription considerably so as to cover also specimens from Celebes and New Guinea, and described moreover a var. doliehocarpa Nelmes with 5-5¾ mm long utricles from Java. The latter variety is undoubtedly the same as C. megaearpa Koyama. I fail to see how to draw a line between the two varieties.
The collection de Wilde 14068 from the Gajolands often has 3 styles and accordingly trigonous (fertile) nuts, and the terminal spikelets are wholly male. This might be a hybrid with 20. C. verticillata. — (Noot.).


Camus 1922 – In: Fl. Gen. I.-C.: 194
Ohwi 1936 – In: Mem. Coll. Sc. Kyoto Imp. Un.: 466
Koyama 1964 – In: Micronesica: 109
Akiyama 1955: Car. Far East. Reg. Asia: 103: t. 82, f. 1
Thunb. 1951 – In: Reinwardtia: 357
Merr. 1923 – In: En. Philip.: 137
Thunb. 1955 – In: Kew Bull.: 309
Thunb. 1904 – In: J. Linn. Soc. Bot.: 5
Thunb. 1910 – In: Fedde, Rep. 8: 8
Koyama 1962 – In: J. Fac. Sc. Un. Tokyo: 164
Kuk. 1909 – In: Pfl. R. Heft: 599
Boeck. 1875 – In: Linnaea: 145
Kunth 1837 – In: En.: 513
Nelmes 1950: Kew Bull.: 201
Ohwi 1942 – In: J. Jap. Bot.: 138
Benth. 1878 – In: Fl. Austr.: 442
Kern 1968 – In: Back. & Bakh.f., Fl. Java 3: 493
Nelmes 1951 – In: Reinwardtia: 360
Schkuhr 1806: p. 16. – In: Riedgr.: t. Xx f. Ill
Clarke 1894 – In: Fl. Br. Ind.: 705
Thunb. 1911 – In: Philip. J. Sc.: Bot. 63
Boott 1858: p. 59. – In: Ill.: t. 154-156
Krauss 1950: pp. 264-267. – In: Pac. Sc.: f. 8-9
Nelmes 1954 – In: Reinwardtia: 379
Ohwi 1936 – In: Mem. Coll. Sc. Kyoto Imp. Un.: 466
Raymond 1959 – In: Mem. Jard. Bot. Montreal: 58
Thunb. 1907 – In: Philip. J. Sc.: Bot. 107