Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Monocotyledon Literature for Heteropogon contortus
Wagner et al., 1990, 1999.
   Poaceae -- The Grass Family Bibliography
      Heteropogon contortus

Common name(s): lule, pili, pili grass, tanglehead, twisted beardgrass
General Information
DistributionWidely distributed throughout the tropics.In the Hawaiian Islands, indigenous to Ni`ihau, Kaua`i, O`ahu, Moloka`i, Lana`i, Maui, Kaho`olawe, Hawai`i.

Click here for detailed USGS map by Jonathan Price
Perennials; culms tufted, erect, 4-10 dm tall, compressed, glabrous, often glaucous.
Sheaths 6-10 cm long, compressed, keeled, glabrous or sparsely hispid at throat, usually glaucous; ligule a ciliate membrane ca. 1 mm long; blades pale bluish green, firm, flat to slightly involute, 10-30 cm long, 3-7 mm wide, striate, scabrous.
Racemes solitary at apex of flowering culm, secund, often slightly nodding, 4-7 cm long, the slender rachis continuous in the lower part, bearing pairs of staminate spikelets, the remainder disarticulating obliquely at base of each joint, the joint forming a sharp barbed callus below the fertile spikelet, the pedicellate spikelet readily falling; upper sessile spikelet ca. 7 mm long, slender, awns 5-12 cm long, bent, flexuous, often tangled, appressed pilose in lower part, scabrous toward apex; lower sessile spikelet and pedicellate spikelet ca. 10 mm long, first glume firm, asymmetrical, papillose-hispid near margins and the acuminate apex, overlapping and nearly concealing the sessile spikelets.
2n = 20, 39-44, 50, 60, ca. 69-80, 90