Scientific Name:
Centrolepis Labill., Nov. Holl. Pl. 1, 7, t. 1 (1804)
  • = Alepyrum R.Br., Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holland. 253 (1810)
  • = Devauxia R.Br., Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holland. 252 (1810)
  • = Pseudalepyrum Dandy, J. Bot. 70: 330 (1932) nom. nov.
From Greek kentron (a sting or prick) and -lepis (scale), a reference to the sharp points on the primary bracts of C. fascicularis

Perennial or annual, moss-like cushions or small solitary tufts. Monoecious. Leaves cauline and densely distichous along short-branching stems or leaves radical. Leaf-sheaths membranous to scarious; apex of sheath sometimes auricled; mouth aligular, or minutely ligular, or pilose; leaf-lamina papillate. Inflorescence a terminal spike of 2 opposite or sub-opposite unequal sheathing bracts, each subtending 1 to numerous reproductive units, which are female and/or bisexual, with or without subtending secondary hyaline scales. Androecium, stamens 1, free. Gynoecium a single ovary with 1 carpel or a multiloculate ovary of superposed connate carpels in 1 or 2 rows along an axis; each carpel with a single style; styles united to above the ovary then free; styles stigmatic above the ovary, with papillae, crimson. Fruit a capsule, simple with 1 seed or multiloculate. Seeds dehiscing via a longitudinal line of weakness (dorsal slit).


The bisexual reproductive unit of Centrolepis is interpreted here as a male flower reduced to a single stamen and a female flower with one to many carpels (Hieronymus 1873, Prakash 1969, Sokoloff et al. 2009). The anatomical evidence provided by Sokoloff et al. (2009) supports the unusual vertical stack of carpels being an elaboration of the gynoecium (a single multilocular ovary) rather than an aggregation of separate flowers (Eichler 1875, Hamann 1962, Moore & Edgar 1970), however it is still unclear whether the androecium belongs to the same flower or is a separate unisexual flower reduced to a single stamen.

1Leaves glabrous2
Leaves hairy; only the leaf-sheath or both leaf-sheath and lamina3
2Cushion habit, leaves cauline, perennialC. pallida
Tufted habit, leaves radical, annual (semi-aquatic)C. glabra
3Floral bracts glabrousC. ciliata
Floral bracts hairy4
4Leaves hairy, flowering stems with retrorse pilose hairsC. strigosa
Leaves hairy on the leaf-sheath, but mostly glabrous on the lamina, flowering stems glabrousC. fascicularis

New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea, Sumatra and Sulawesi (Indonesia), Borneo (Malaysia), Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Hainan (China).

Indigenous (Non-endemic)
Number of species in New Zealand within Centrolepis Labill.
Indigenous (Endemic)2
Indigenous (Non-endemic)2
Exotic: Casual1
Briggs, B.G. 2002: Chromosome numbers of some native and naturalised plant species in Australia . Telopea 9: 833–835.
Brown, R. 1810: Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae et Insulae Van-Diemen. Johnson, London.
Cooke, D.A. 1992: A Taxonomic Revision of Centrolepis (Centrolepidaceae) in Australia. Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens 15: 7–63.
Dandy, J.E. 1932: Pseudalepyrum Dandy. Journal of Botany, British and Foreign 70: 330–331.
Eichler, A.W. 1875: Blüthendiagramme. Vol. 1. Engelmann, Leipzig, Germany.
Ford, K.A. 2014: Centrolepidaceae. In: Breitwieser, I.; Brownsey, P.J.; Heenan, P.B.; Wilton, A.D. (ed.) Flora of New Zealand — Seed Plants. Fascicle 2. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
Ford, K.A. 2014: Taxonomic notes on the New Zealand flora: a new species of Centrolepis for New Zealand, Centrolepis glabra (F.Muell. ex Sonder) Hieron., and the taxonomic status of Centrolepis minima Kirk (Centrolepidaceae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 52(2): 262–266.
Hamann, U. 1962: Beitrag zur Embryologie der Centrolepidaceae mit Bemerkungen über den Bau der Blüten und Blütenstände und die systematische Stellung der Familie. Berichte der Deutschen Botanischen Gesellschaft 75: 153–171, 219.
Hieronymus, G.H.E.W. 1873: Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Centrolepidaceen. Abhandlungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft zu Halle 12: 115–222.
Labillardière, J.J.H. de 1804: Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen. Vol. 1(1). Huzard, Paris.
Mabberley, D.J. 2008: Mabberley's plant book, a portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses. Edition 3. Cambridge University Press.
Prakash, N. 1969: The floral development and embryology of Centrolepis fascicularis. Phytomorphology 19(3): 285–291.
Royen, P.van 1979: The Alpine Flora of New Guinea. Volume 2, Taxonomic Part: Cupressaceae to Poaceae. Vaduz, J. Cramer.
Sokoloff, D.D.; Remizowa, M.V.; Linder, H.P.; MacFarlane, T.; Rudall, P.J. 2010: Arrangement of reproductive units in Centrolepis (Poales: Centrolepidaceae): cincinnus or spikelet? In: Seberg, O.; Petersen, G.; Barfod, S.; Davis, J.I. (ed.) Diversity, Phylogeny, and Evolution in the Monocotyledons. Aarhus University Press, Copenhagen, Denmark. 425–463.
Sokoloff, D.D.; Remizowa, M.V.; Linder, H.P.; Rudall, P.J. 2009: Morphology and development of the gynoecium in Centrolepidaceae: The most remarkable range of variation in Poales. American Journal of Botany 96: 1925–1940.