Description: Small tufted annual or cushion-forming perennial herbs.
Leaves linear, innermost usually reduced to a short membranous glabrous sheath.
Scapes erect and leafless or scape absent; inflorescence a terminal cymose head enclosed by 2 primary bracts; bracts with dilated sheathing bases, unequal, glume-like; each bract enclosing 1–numerous pseudanthia; pseudanthia each consisting of 1–30 ± fused female flowers superimposed in 1 or 2 rows, styles usually fused at base, usually with 1 male flower at base; secondary bracts 2 or 3 per pseudanthium or absent, veinless, hyaline or scarious.
Infructescence compound, dry, membranous; each follicle 1-seeded, dehiscing by an outer slit; seed ovoid to fusiform.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 25 spp., Aust., N.Z., Malesia. Aust.: 20 spp. (19 spp. endemic), all States.
A small genus of species formerly included in Agropyron with Elymus scaber and Elytrigia repens; Agropyron is now restricted to the crested wheat grasses of inland Eurasia. Key from Wheeler et al. (1990).
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & S. M. Hastings
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Glumes sharply reflexed outwards and downwards at maturity; spike not noticeably compact||2|
|Glumes not reflexed as above, remaining adjacent to the lemmas; spike compact||Australopyrum velutinum|
|2||All hairs on the rachis retrorse (backwards facing)||Australopyrum retrofractum|
|Hairs on the rachis between the spikelets antrorse (forward facing), hairs on the rachis at the nodes (between the spikelets) retrorse|
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