Platonia elata Kunth, Rev. Gram. 1: 139. 1829; 2: 327. t. 76. 1830.
Planotia elata (Kunth) Munro, Trans. Linn. Soc. 26: 71. 1868.
Planotia nobilis Munro, Trans. Linn. Soc. 26: 72. 1868.
Neurolepis nobilis (Munro) Pilger in Engler & Prantl, Pflanzenf. Erganz. 2: 21. 1906.
Type. Ecuador. Loja ("Loxa in frigidis"), Humboldt & Bonpland 3351 (US,
fragment ex B ) .
I find no distinction between Neurolepis nobilis and N. elata, type species of the
genus. Munro makes the statement that this species (under the name Planotia
nobilis) has the largest leaves of any grass known, quoting Purdie who collected it
on the Paramo de Ruiz, in Colombia: "This noble and beautiful grass forms quite
a feature in the scenery of the highest wooded mountains of the Paramo de Rinz
[Ruiz]; and the leaves, often attaining a foot in diameter and 15 feet in length, are valuable for making huts." Herbarium collections are few, but show a distribution
in Colombia and Ecuador in paramo forests at 2700-3500 m. Individuals of this
species and A^. pittieri probably attain the largest size of any members of the genus.
The punctate-roughened palea, curiously sulcate toward the tip, readily separates it
from A^. pittieri which has a smooth shining palea that is not indented. This pecuhar
type of palea is confined to N . elata and N . aristata and perhaps points to a close
relationship between the two.