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Ficinia gracilis complex (Cypereae, Cyperaceae) revisited– Species delineations and description of a new species from South Africa

Muasya, A.M.
South African journal of botany 2018 v.119 pp. 230-235
Cyperaceae, culms, fruits, fynbos, grasslands, habitats, leaves, new species, scanning electron microscopy, Eastern Africa, South Africa
The name Ficinia gracilis has been misapplied to multiple taxa occurring from the Cape Peninsula through the Drakensberg into Afromontane habitats in eastern Africa. This broad circumscription encompasses at least five species (F. filiformis, F.rigida, F.gracilis, F.cinnamomea and an additional unnamed taxon). These taxa have been suggested (e.g. Gordon-Gray 2008) to be inseparable on gross morphology, and recent floras apply the broad concept of F.gracilis. This study re-examines species delineation, using ecology, gross morphology, and studies of nutlet morphology based on scanning electron microscopy, recognizing three groups of species, namely, F.gracilis (including F.undosa; sticky leaf sheaths, rugose nutlets, in grasslands), F.cinnamomea (together with the unnamed taxon; non sticky leaf sheaths, minutely papillose nutlets, in grasslands) and F.filiformis(together with F.rigida; sticky leaf sheaths, rugose nutlets, in fynbos). Ficinia eligulata Gordon-Gray ex Muasya is named and described, diagnosed by filiform culms and leaves, non sticky leaf sheaths and with leaves lacking a ligule, and minutely papillose nutlets.