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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Cladus: Commelinids
Ordo: Poales

Familia: Poaceae
Subfamilia: Panicoideae
Tribus: Paniceae
Subtribus: Boivinellinae
Genus: Oplismenus
Species: O. burmannii – O. compositus – O. flavicomus – O. fujianensis – O. hirtellus – O. thwaitesii – O. undulatifolius

Oplismenus P.Beauv., Fl. Oware 2: 14 (1810), nom. cons.
Type species: Oplismenus hirtellus (L.) P.Beauv., Ess. Agrostogr.: 54, 170 (1812)


Hippagrostis Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 776 (1891), nom. superfl.
Orthopogon R.Br., Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holl.: 194 (1810), nom. inval.
Hekaterosachne Steud., Syn. Pl. Glumac. 1: 118 (1854)


Palisot de Beauvois, A.M.F.J. (1810) Flore d'Oware 2: 14, pl. 68, f. 1.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2013. Oplismenus in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2013 Nov. 24. Reference page.
Simon, B.K., Clayton, W.D., Harman, K.T., Vorontsova, M., Brake, I., Healy, D. & Alfonso, Y. 2013. GrassWorld, Oplismenus. Published online. Accessed: 2013 Nov. 24. 2013. Oplismenus. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 24 Nov. 2013.
International Plant Names Index. 2013. Oplismenus. Published online. Accessed: 24 Nov. 2013.
Scholz, U. (1981) Monographie der gattung Oplismenus (Gramineae). Phanerogamarum monographiae Tomus XIII. J. Cramer, Vaduz, Germany. 217 pp. With 46 figures and 2 tables. English translation by Anthony McIntyre, Spencer Atkins, and Felix Tweraser. [1]

Oplismenus is a small genus of annual or perennial grasses, commonly known as basketgrass,[3] found throughout the tropics, subtropics, and in some cases, temperate regions of the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia.[4] The systematics of the genus are unclear, with over 100 described species, only 7 species are officially recognized as of 2016.[5]

Accepted species

The following list includes all currently recognized species of the genus Oplismenus accepted by the Catalogue of Life and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families as of March 2016, sorted alphabetically. For each, binomial name is followed by author citation.[6][7]

Oplismenus burmannii (Retz.) P.Beauv.
Oplismenus compositus (L.) P.Beauv.
Oplismenus flavicomus Mez
Oplismenus fujianensis S.L.Chen & Y.X.Jin
Oplismenus hirtellus (L.) P.Beauv.
Oplismenus thwaitesii Hook.f.
Oplismenus undulatifolius (Ard.) P. Beauv.


The members of this genus are scrambling or trailing herbaceous grasses, both annual and perennial. The stems trail along the ground and can root at the nodes.[8] The leaf blades are generally lance-shaped or acuminate to ovate and are covered in scattered hairs, and the leaf sheaths are hairy.[9]
O. hirtellus growing as a groundcover, Sydney, Australia

These plants generally grow in shaded habitats such as the forest floor.[10] Annual-type species will usually die off in cooler or drier months while the perennial species typically have much more tolerance. Some species have considerable invasive potential. Unlike some of their relatives, members of this genus use C3 photosynthesis.[10]

The French naturalist Palisot de Beauvois described the genus in August or September 1810 in his Flore d'Oware et de Benin.[11] At a later date, however, it was noted that Robert Brown had also defined the genus earlier the same year, as Orthopogon, in his work Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae.[12] Nevertheless, because the name Oplismenus had been universally used for many years, it was ruled a nomen conservandum (conserved name) in 1978. The generic name is derived from the Ancient Greek hoplismenos ("armed"), because the glumes have awns.[10]

The number of species is unclear, with some disagreement among botanists. In Australia, Oplismenus aemulus and O. imbecillis are recognised as separate species by the Queensland and New South Wales Herbaria, but not by the National Herbarium, which classifies them as synonyms of O. hirtellus.[13]

A multiple discriminant analysis published in 1978 of the characteristics used to define the species of Oplismenus worldwide found a high degree of overlap in Australia, indicating O. aemulus and O. imbecilis fell within the parameters of O. hirtellus, as did the American taxon O. setarius. The other American taxon, O. rariflorus, fell within O. compositus. The authors proposed the recognition of only five species:[14]

Oplismenus burmannii - pantropical
Oplismenus thwaitesii - Sri Lanka (may be synonymous with O. burmannii)
Oplismenus compositus - Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, Pacific
Oplismenus hirtellus - tropics, but replaced in India and Indochina by O. compositus
Oplismenus undulatifolius - widespread

The German botanist Ursula Scholz published a monograph in 1981, having studied the genus throughout the world and examined over five thousand specimens, including 61 type specimens. She recognized nine species and 18 infraspecific taxa.[10]

Section Scabriseta
O. affinis Schult.
O. affinis var. affinis
O. affinis var. humboldtianus
O. baronii
O. burmannii
O. burmannii var. burmannii
O. burmannii var. lanatus
O. burmannii var. multisetus
O. flavicomus
O. gracillimus
O. humbertianus

Oplismenus hirtellus

Section Oplismenus
O. aemulus
O. aemulus var. aemulus
O. aemulus var. flaccidus
O. aemulus var. densiflorus
O. compositus
O. compositus var. compositus
O. compositus var. rariflorus
O. compositus var. sylvaticus
O. hirtellus
O. hirtellus subsp. hirtellus
O. hirtellus subsp. acuminatus
O. hirtellus subsp. capensis
O. hirtellus subsp. fasciculatus
O. hirtellus subsp. imbecillis
O. hirtellus subsp. japonicus
O. hirtellus subsp. microphyllus
O. hirtellus subsp. psilostachys
O. hirtellus subsp. setarius
O. hirtellus subsp. tsushimensis
O. hirtellus subsp. undulatifolius


Variegated forms have been cultivated as house plants in Europe.[10] Locally occurring species in Australia have been used for revegetation and reclamation in shady or wet areas, though some can be invasive.[8] Some have been promoted as local native plants for wildlife gardens,[15] and as lawn grass.[16] They are edible to livestock.[9]

Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
Tropicos, Orthopogon R. Br.
USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Oplismenus". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
Palisot de Beauvois, Ambroise Marie François Joseph. 1810. Flore d'Oware et de Benin en Afrique 2: 14, pl. 68, f. 1.
Oplismenus, The Plant List
"Oplismenus". Catalogue of Life. ITIS. Species 2000. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
"Oplismenus". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
Elliot, Rodger W.; Jones, David L.; Blake, Trevor (1997). Encyclopaedia of Australian Plants Suitable for Cultivation:Volume 7 – N-Po. Port Melbourne: Lothian Press. pp. 106–07. ISBN 0-85091-634-8.
Quattrocchi, Umberto (2006). CRC World Dictionary of Grasses: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology, Volume 1. CRC Press. pp. 1410–11. ISBN 0-8493-1303-1.
Scholz, Ursula (1981). Monograph of the genus Oplismenus (Gramineae) (PDF). Translated by McIntyre, Anthony; Atkins, Spencer; Twerase, Felix. Vaduz: J. Cramer. ISBN 3-7682-1292-0. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-26.
"Oplismenus P.Beauv. [ nom. cons. ]". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government.
"Orthopogon R.Br". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government.
"Oplismenus hirtellus (L.) P.Beauv". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government.
Davey, J. C.; Clayton, W. D. (1978). "Some multiple discriminant function studies on Oplismenus (Gramineae)". Kew Bulletin. 33 (1): 147–57. doi:10.2307/4110116. JSTOR 4110116.
Seidenberg, Charlotte (1995). The Wildlife Garden: Planning Backyard Habitats. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 200. ISBN 0-87805-835-4.
Daniels, Stevie (1999). Easy Lawns: Low Maintenance Native Grasses for Gardeners Everywhere. Brooklyn Botanic Garden. p. 68. ISBN 1-889538-12-4.

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