Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A new grass: Poa auriculata

Image from original publication
The Poaceae family of flowering plants known as grasses. The group contains the cereal grasses, bamboos and the grasses of natural grassland and cultivated lawns as well as pasture. The name is derived from the Greek word Poa which means fodder. With 12,000 species this family is one of the largest among the plants.

This new species was found on a dry cliff face in the Cordillera de los Andes, Peru near Chachapoyas at an altitude of 3100–3200 m. The species name refers to some triangular auricles that are found on the top of the sheaths, a feature that is unique among species of Poa.

For the experts: In this study the peculiar Andean grass genus Aphanelytrum, with two species, is reduced to Poa subsect. Aphanelytrum comb. & stat. nov. A third species, Festuca reclinata, is assigned to the subsection, which shows states transitional between a more typical Poa and Aphanelytrum. Poa subgen. Poa supersect. Homalopoa sect. Dioicopoa subsect. Aphanelytrum comb. & stat. nov. is characterized in having stooling perennials with decumbent to spreading culm bases that continuously branch and often root at low to mid-culm nodes, glabrous spikelets with long rachillas 1.2–4.2 mm long, short glumes less than ½ the length of the florets, and lemmas with bifid apexes that are mucronate to short-awned. We provide for the three species taxonomic discussions, morphological and anatomical descriptions, keys, illustrations, and a list of specimens. Also, we provide two new names, Poa hitchcockiana nom. nov. and Poa sanchez-vegae nom. nov., and one new combination, Poa reclinata comb. nov. A new species, Poa auriculata sp. nov. from Peru, not thought to be a member of P. subsect. Aphanelytrum, is presented. It is the first in the genus with prominent auricles. In addition, we place Poa apiculata in Poa subgen. Poa supersect. Homalopoa sect. Dioicopoa subsect. Tovarochloa comb. & stat. nov.

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