Gynerium sagittatum

Gynerium sagittatum

Gynerium sagittatum is a sweet grass and the only species of the genus and the tribe gynerium Gynerieae of the subfamily of Panicoideae. Its natural range is Central and South America.


The sweet grass is included inflorescence 2 to 10, sometimes to 15 meters high. It forms both the bottom surface and underground rhizomes streamers. The foothills often break off from the parent plant, so that several independent plants originate. The Halmknoten are massive, the stalks are completely enveloped by the long leaf sheaths. The leaves are two lines on the stalks, they are in a leaf sheath that covers the blade, and organized a leaf blade. At the junction of the two leaf parts is the membranous, ciliate ligule, it can also consist of the hair. The leaf blade is not auriculate, bezitzt at the base but tufts of hair. The leaf blade is 1.5 to 2 m long, it is lanceolate to oblong- lanceolate, rough around the edges by forward-facing shed. The lower leaf blades fall off with time, while the leaf bases remain on the plant.

The dioecious plant forms a terminal, paniculate, up to 1,3 m tall inflorescence. The female flowers are in spikelets zweiblütigen. The lower glume is smaller and thinner in texture than the upper. The lemmas have at the end of long, silky hair, but no beards. There are two fused membranous, not overgrown Lodiculae, these are occasionally occupied with some hair. In addition to two styluses can be found in the female flower also trained two rudimentary stamens. The female spikelets break in two places, each below the lemmas, apart. The male flowers are about two to four together in spikelets. Your glumes are about the same size, the lemmas are membranous, glabrous or short hair. Again, there are two non- intergrown Lodiculae. There are two stamens and a rudimentary ovary present. The fruit is an oblong caryopsis.

The chromosome number is x = 11

Distribution and habitat requirements

Because of its flexibility gynerium has sagitatum widespread. So it is from the Antilles in the north to Chile and Argentina to the south, on the Pacific coast in the west and in the Amazon basin in the east, correspond varied is the appearance of the plant. The climate there is gynerium sagitatum in the wetlands of the Amazon basin as well as in the deserts of the Peruvian coast.

Systematics and history of research

The first description under the name Saccharum sagittatum comes from Aublet. Palisot de Beauvois presented later a separate genus, gynerium, for this grass on. The name comes from the Greek words Gyne ( γυνε: female) and erion ( εριον: wool) and refers to the characteristics of the female flowers this dioecious species.

The genus is monotypic. Gynerium was expected due to the reed-like growth on the Arundineae ( subfamily Arundinoideae ). Initial studies of ribosomal DNA yielded contradictory results: gynerium in a broad subfamily Arundinoideae or gynerium as related to the Panicoideae and Centothecoideae. Studies with advanced data confirmed the classification near the Panicoideae and Centothecoideae, the exact position remained uncertain. Therefore beat Sánchez- Ken and Clark 2001 a separate tribes Gynerieae for this isolated genus.

A cladogram representing the presumed relationships:


Gynerium sagittatum



Gynerium sagittatum is used for the manufacture of arrows, harpoons and spears used, and for the manufacture of wood pulp, in the building of huts and for the production of braided fibers for floor mats, baskets and hats. The fibers are obtained by drying the Blattnervatur. The frugal pioneer plant is also sometimes used for fixing sand dunes. The root has diuretic effect and the resin is very sweet.

The Sombrero Vueltiao, traditional headdress from the coastal region of Colombia, is made from gynerium - sagittatum fibers.