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Genus Australopyrum Family Poaceae

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
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Glumes sharply reflexed outwards and downwards at maturity; spike not noticeably compact2
Glumes not reflexed as above, remaining adjacent to the lemmas; spike compactAustralopyrum velutinum
2All 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
                       Back to 1
Australopyrum pectinatum

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