categoryZGrasses Grasses List 

GALINGALE

Cyperus longus

Sedge Club- & Spike-Rush Family [Cyperaceae]

month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct

category
category8Grasses
status
statusZnative
flower
flower8brown
inner
inner8cream
petals
petalsZ0
type
typeZspiked
stem
stem8triangular

26th Aug 2016, ponds, Seaforth, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
It usually stands erect up to 1.5m tall, but wind and rain have made it bend over backwards for you.


26th Aug 2016, ponds, Seaforth, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
But here are one or two still more or less upright.


26th Aug 2016, ponds, Seaforth, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Has long grass-like leaves and many spikelets of petal-less inflorescences.


26th Aug 2016, ponds, Seaforth, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The spikes are reddish-brown. The leaves are about as long as the stems and 4mm-7mm wide and corrugated / keeled for rigidity (sometimes flat).


26th Aug 2016, ponds, Seaforth, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Here's one I caught earlier, but still madly dancing in the wind. The main stem is solid, smooth and triangular in cross-section with two faces concave and one nearly flat, 4mm across flats. The inflorescences are in a loosely-branched compound umbel of long spikes. At the base of the main umbel emerge several leaf-like bracts (3 in the one shown above).


26th Aug 2016, ponds, Seaforth, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Each spike on a thin stalk mainly directly proportional to its length, which is sometimes quite long.


26th Aug 2016, ponds, Seaforth, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Showing how the leaf-like bracts peel-off the end of the main stem.


26th Aug 2016, ponds, Seaforth, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
One or two spikelets in the 'armpit'.


26th Aug 2016, ponds, Seaforth, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Spikelets about a centimetre long, linear to narrow-oblong, compressed and with their lower glumes empty and only about 1mm long whilst the upper glumes are fertile and bisexual (with protruding anthers and stigmas) and 2.5mm long.


26th Aug 2016, ponds, Seaforth, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The florets of Galingales are not spirally-arranged (as in other Sedges). The florets are alternately at right-angles in opposite pairs. The fertile florets have three white re-curved stigmas (like grappling-hooks) and three cream-coloured anthers. The nuts (not visible here) are 1mm long, 3-angled, red-brown and retain the 3 stigmas atop.


Not to be semantically confused with : Gale / Sweet Gale (Myrica gale) aka Bog Myrtle [a plant with similar name of a differing family]. Nor to be semantically confused with Cyperus Sedge which is a true Sedge in a differing genus Carex but still within the Cyperaceae family.

Some similarities to : other Galingales such as Brown Galingale (Cyperus fuscus) but that is a much shorter (to 30cm) very rare [RRR] with dark-brown (not reddish-brown) spikelets.

Slight resemblance to : American Galingale (Cyperus eragrostis) but that is a medium height 60cm, with greenish to yellowish-brown spikelets.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature : It's triangular stem and tallness, the multiple and long spikelets which are reddish-brown and narrow.

Galingale is a native (but often planted for ornament), rhizomatous perennial sedge which grows in damp places, by fresh water, ditches and in damp flushes. It grows natively mainly in South Wales, Kent and Cornwall.


  Cyperus longus  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Cyperaceae  

Distribution
 family8Sedge Club- & Spike-Rush family8Cyperaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Cyperus
Cyperus
(Galingales)

GALINGALE

Cyperus longus

Sedge Club- & Spike-Rush Family [Cyperaceae]