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Volume 11, 1878
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Art. LXVIII.—Notice of the Occurrence of the Genus Kyllinga in New Zealand.

[Read before the Auckland Institute, 18th November, 1878.]

Mr. Thos. Ball, of Mongonui, has kindly forwarded to me for determination some specimens of a sedge which I identify with Kyllinga monocephala, Rottb., a species of wide distribution in tropical regions, but not hitherto recorded from any part of New Zealand. Mr. Ball informs me that the plant is abundant in some marshy ground on the north side of Mongonui harbour, but has not been noticed by him elsewhere in the district. So far as I can judge from the information supplied to me, the plant appears to be truly indigenous; indeed, it is precisely one of those species which might naturally be expected to occur in the northern extremity of the island, not yet completely explored in a botanical point of view. Its existence there is quite in harmony with what we know of plant distribution in New Zealand, there being several tropical forms confined to the district between Whangaroa and the North Cape, as Hibiscus diversifolius, Cassytha paniculata, and Ipomæa tuberculata.

Kyllinga can be distinguished from the other genera of Cyperaceé indigenous to New Zealand by the compressed one-flowered spikelets, densely clustered in globose, usually solitary heads, surrounded by a leafy involucre. The following description will enable the species to be recognised:—

Kyllinga monocephala, Rottb.

Rhizome creeping; culms erect, 8–12 inches high, leafy at the base only; leaves narrow linear, flat, scabrid towards the points; involucre 3–4-leaved, spreading. Heads solitary, globose, pale; spikelets compressed, 1-flowered; two lower glumes minute, two upper nearly equal, ovate-lanceolate, sharply keeled, mucronate, about 7-nerved; stamens 2; nut broadly ovate, finely punctate, much shorter than the glumes; style 2-fid.

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K. monocephala has a wide range. It is found in the warmer parts of Australia, and is abundant in the Fiji, Tongan, Samoan, and Society Islands, and elewhere in Polynesia. It also ranges through tropical Asia and Africa, and probably through a considerable protien of America. I am not aware that it occurs in Europe.