Common Name: Plumegrasses
Description: Tufted annuals or perennials.
Leaves with ligule membranous; blade flat or convolute, usually scabrous, often pubescent.
Inflorescence a dense spike-like or loose to open panicle.
Spikelets solitary, pedicellate, narrow, numerous and overlapping on the short branches, disarticulating above the glumes; one bisexual floret, rachilla usually not produced as a bristle. Glumes subequal or unequal, narrow, subulate, keeled on the single, scabrous nerve. Lemma shorter than the glumes, firm, entire or 2-fid, faintly nerved, awned from below the apex, the awn slender, curved or bent, column usually twisted; callus hairy. Palea narrow, slightly shorter than the lemma. Stamens 1–3.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 10 species, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific islands. Australia: c. 9 species (native), all States except N.T.
A genus of c. 10 species fron Australasia. Cool seeason grasses with rough leaves and are common and probably useful components of natural pasture. Dichelachne species are cool-season grasses and are common and probably useful components of natural pasture. The stems of D. crinita have been used to make paper.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & K. L. McClay
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Awns 2.5 cm long or longer and 4–6 times as long as their lemmas; panicle dense and spike-like with no branching visible and awns usually concealing the spikelets||Dichelachne crinita|
|Awns 0.8–3.3 cm long and 2–5 times as long as their lemmas; panicle dense or open||2|
|2||Lemma usually < 4 mm long||3|
|Lemma 4 mm or longer|
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|3||Lemma longer than at least the lower glume; inflorescence sparse, with branches and pedicles clearly visible, only slightly contracted at anthesis; branches flexuose||Dichelachne parva|
|Lemma usually shorter than glumes; inflorescence dense with spikelets and awns concealing the branches; branches not flexuose|
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|4||Awn 10–22 mm long; usually 1 anther||Dichelachne micrantha|
|Awn < 10 mm long; anthers 3|
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|5||Lemma usually at least 6 mm long, hispid pubescent; plants often hairy||Dichelachne hirtella|
|Lemma mostly less than 6 mm long, hispid, scabrous or glabrous; plants sometimes hairy|
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|6||Lemma subequal to lower glume||Dichelachne rara|
|Lemma longer than lower glume, sometimes longer than both glumes|
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|7||Culms and nodes hairy or scabrous to pubescent; lemma usually scabrous; awn column slightly twisted at maturity||Dichelachne sieberiana|
|Culms and nodes glabrous; lemma mostly smooth, sometimes scabrous; awn colume only slightly twisted at maturity|
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|8||Palea 4 mm long or less; awn arising 0.5 mm or less from lemma apex; inflorescence < 24 cm long||Dichelachne inaequiglumis|
|Palea > 4 mm long; awn arising 0.5 mm or more from lemma apex; inflorescence > 24 cm long|
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