Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Centotheca lappaceum (L.) Desv., 1810

Species:C. lappaceum
Common Names:Barbed Grass
Status:Critically endangered


The culms are tufted, erect, 20-80 cm long and up to 2.5 cm in diameter. The leaf sheath is rounded, smooth to sparsely hairy at the tip with the basal sheath reduced. The ligule is membraneous and 1-1.5 mm long. The leaf blade is 3.5-11 x 1.3-2.8 cm, hairy and margin wrinkled. The inflorescence is a panicle with the main stalk 11-20 cm long and with many branches, the longest being 6-10 cm long and about 0.2 mm wide. The spiklets are single and 2-3 flowered. The uppermost marginal areas of the lemmas at maturity have up to 10 reflexed bristles of up to 0.8 mm long. The spikelets persist till they are dried and easily detached by passing animals due to the presence of the stiff reflexed hairs on the lemmas.

Read more about the Poales order.
Read more about the Poaceae family.


Africa, Tropical Asia and Polynesia.


Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, MacRitchie Reservoir Park.

Locality Map

General Biology

This is a forest grass growing along shady forest paths where the soil is moist.

Ecological Role

The spikelets have reflexed hairs that get attached to the body of passing animals and the clothes of humans who thus help spread the grass.


Duistermaat, H., 2005. Field guide to the grasses of Singapore (Excluding the bamboos). Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore Supplement 57. 176 pp. 

Gilliland, H. B., 1971. A revised floras of Malaya. Vol. III Grasses of Malaya. Botanic Gardens Singapore. 319 pp.

Henderson, M. R., 1954. Malayan wild flowers - Monocotyledons. Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur. 357 pp.

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