Ascolepis capensis (Kunth) Ridl.
  • Trans. Linn. Soc. London, Bot. 2: 164 (1884) 

Notes: Distribution: Trop. & S. Africa

General Description

Inflorescence similar in size to A. protea, but with a more solid appearance due to the broader scales; wet ground, generally amongst grasses.

glabrous; rhizome short, weak; stems 8–16 in. long, tufted, striated, hardly trigonous, each with 1 head of 1–3 Spikelets ; leaves as long as the stem, or only half as long, 1/8 in. broad, enrolled in the dry state; bracts 3, spreading, similar to the leaves, with a broad short, dilated base, lowest 1–4 in. long; heads 1/3– 2/3 in. in diam., white or white straw-colour; Spikelets with the tips of the numerous scales spreading on all sides, completely obscuring the narrow oblong small Glumes ; scale utricular, flattened, with a slit on the posticous face through which the style peeps, and a large, solid, linear-conic, obtuse, white beak; style-branches 2; nut 1/2– 2/3 the length of the scale (without its beak), black.

Glabrous. Rhizome seen up to 2 in. long, slender, black, usually 0. Stems 8–20 in. long, densely tufted, slender. Leaves 1/2– 3/4 the length of the stem, 1/12– 1/8 in. broad. Head of 3–1 (fused or nearly distinct) spikelets, white or straw-coloured; bracts 3, spreading, similar to the leaves, from a short broad base, lowest 1–4 in. long. Spikelets 1/3– 1/2 in. long, ovoid, dense. Glume oblong, shorter than the squamella. Squamella flattened from front to back, shaped as a watch-pocket, the margins connate on the posticous side nearly to the top, the beak from the anticous side 1/20– 1/6 in. or more long, very variable, also the beaks of the marginal flowers often elongate, so that the heads are more or less rayed. Style much shorter than the nut; branches 2, scarcely exserted from the mouth of the pocket. Nut sessile, 1/2– 2/3 the length of the pocket, oblong-ellipsoid, compressed, smooth, black.


; wet ground, generally amongst grasses.


South Africa Stockenstrom Div.; Kat Berg, 4000–5000 ft., {i}Drège!{/i}

Mali: Duong 1732! Sabalibougou, Mt. Irémandio (Mar.) J. & A. Raynal 5618! Sotuba (Dec.) Adam 11440!

Mashonaland Bryce!

Niger Nupe, Barter!

South Africa without locality, {i}Zeyher{/i}, 1762!

Angola Huilla; in spongy places near Lopollo and on the higher parts of Morro de Lopollo, Welwitsch, 1676! 1677! near Ferrao de Sola, Welwitsch, 1676 B! Serra d' Uiahoia, Welwitsch, 1677 B! Humpata and Huilla, Johnston! Newton! Ovamboland; Höpfner, 81!

S. Nig.: Old Oyo F.R., 8 miles E. of Igboho, Oyo Dist. (Feb.) Keay FHI 23445! Obudu (Apr.) Haines 98!

British Central Africa Urungu; Fwambo, Carson, 83! Nutt!

Ghana: Sampa (Dec.) Morton A2626! Banda, Wenchi Dist. (Dec.) Morton 25203! Ejura (Aug.) Hall CC 319! Kintampo (Dec.) Morton A1201! Bimbila (Mar.) Hepper & Morton A3094!

Iv. C.: Bégue 129! Sourougban (Apr.) Aké Assi 8741! confluence of R. Sassandra and R. Bafing, nr. Daton (May) Chev. 21760b! Haut Sassandra and Haut Cavally Portères 707!

German East Africa Lower Plateau, north of Lake Nyasa, Thomson!

Guin.: Timbi (June) Adam 14644!

Matabeleland Bryce!

N. Nig.: Kabba (Oct.) Parsons 24! Nupe Barter ! Abinsi (Sept.) Dalz. 814! Vom, Jos Plateau (Feb.) McClintock 209! Kakara, Mambila Plateau (Jan.) Hepper 1773!

U. Volta: 18 km. N. of Banfora (May) Leeuwenberg 4352!

Portuguese East Africa Namuli Mountains, Last!

South Africa Tembuland; damp places at the foot of Bazeia Mountain, 2300 ft., {i}Baur{/i}, 133! Pondoland; near the mouth of the Umtentu River, {i}Drège!{/i} Natal; near Durban, {i}Sutherland!{/i} Noods Berg, {i}Wood{/i}, 126! Inanda, {i}Wood{/i}, 307! and without precise locality, {i}Buchanan{/i}, 89! 305! {i}Gerrard{/i}, 486!

South Africa Orange Free State; Nelsons Kop, {i}Cooper{/i}, 911! Transvaal; Pretoria, at Koedus Poort, {i}Rehmann{/i}, 4638! Magalies Berg, {i}Burke!{/i} Hooge Veld, by the Komati River, {i}Nelson{/i}, 12!

Nyasaland Shire Highlands, Buchanan, 27! Mount Zomba, 4000–6000 ft., Whyte! Mount Malosa, 4000–6000 ft., Whyte! Mount Mlanji, Whyte! between Lake Shirwa and Lake Chiuta, Cunningham, 4! and without precise locality, Buchanan, 994! 1457!

British East Africa Upper Nile, Petherick! Jur; Jur Ghattas, Schweinfurth, 1467! 1505! Jur Awet, Schweinfurth, 1565!


in Trans. Linn. Soc. ser. 2, Bot. ii. 164. —C. B. Clarke in Durand and Schinz, Conspect. Fl. Afr. v. 651 incl. var. ? lacera, in Bull. Herb. Boiss. iv. Append. iii. 31, in Dyer, Fl. Cap. vii. 266, and in Trans. Linn. Soc. ser. 2, Bot. iv. 54; Engl. Hochgebirgsfl. Trop. Afr. 144; K. Schum. in Engl. Pfl. Ost-Afr. C. 127; Rendle in Cat. Afr. Pl. Welw. ii. 131.

in Trans. Linn. Soc. ser. 2, ii. 164

in Trans. Linn. Soc. ser. 2, 2: 164 (1884); F.T.A. 8: 477.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Africa East Tropical Africa Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Northeast Tropical Africa Ethiopia
  • Sudan
  • South Tropical Africa Angola
  • Malawi
  • Zambia
  • Southern Africa Cape Provinces
  • Free State
  • KwaZulu-Natal
  • Northern Provinces
  • Swaziland
  • West Tropical Africa Benin
  • Burkina
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Ivory Coast
  • Mali
  • Nigeria
  • Sierra Leone
  • Togo
  • West-Central Tropical Africa Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Gabon


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  • 2 Hoenselaar, K., Verdcourt, B. & Beentje, H. (2010). Cyperaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa: 1-466.
  • 3 Figueiredo, E. & Smith, G.F. (2008). Plants of Angola. Strelitzia 22: 1-279. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • 4 Govaerts, R. & Simpson, D.A. (2007). World Checklist of Cyperaceae. Sedges: 1-765. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 5 Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (eds.) (2006). Flore Analytique du Bénin: 1-1034. Backhuys Publishers.
  • 6 Sosef, M.S.M. & al. (2006). Check-list des plantes vasculaires du Gabon. Scripta Botanica Belgica 35: 1-438.
  • 7 Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mt. Mulanje, Malawi. Scripta Botanica Belgica 34: 1-199.
  • 8 Govaerts, R. (1995). World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 1-529. MIM, Deurne.
  • 9 Brunel, J.F., Hiepo, P. & Scholz, H. (eds.) (1984). Flore Analytique du Togo Phanérogames: 1-751. GTZ, Eschborn.
  • 10 Boulvert, Y. (1977). Catalogue de la Flore de Centrafrique 2(2): 1-94. ORSTOM, Bangui.

 Information From

Flora Capensis
Flora Capensis. Published on the Internet;
Flora of West Tropical Africa
Flora of West Tropical Africa. Published on the Internet;
Flora of Tropical Africa
Flora of Tropical Africa. Published on the Internet;
WCS higher taxonomy
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World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
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