Common Name: Hedgehog grasses
Description: Tufted or rhizomatous perennials.
Leaves with ligule short, membranous; blade flat, usually short, scabrous.
Inflorescence a dense spike-like panicle, bristly, ovoid to oblong-cylindrical.
Spikelets 2.5–10 mm long, very shortly pedicellate, disarticulating above the glumes; 1 bisexual floret, rachilla shortly produced beyond the floret. Glumes equal, firm, acute to subulate, 1-nerved with stiff hairs or bristles along the keel and ciliate on the margins. Lemmas 5–11-nerved, the apex acute with 2 slender, erect lobes (occasionally lemma apex entire) and a straight awn arising between or behind them; awn scabrous; callus hairy. Palea 2-nerved, minutely 3-lobed, ciliolate at the apex and along the margins.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 7 species, Australia & New Zealand. Australia: 7 species (native) all States except N.T.
Key from Wheeler et al. (1990).
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & S. M. Hastings
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Awns absent or not conspicuous, 3 mm or less in length||2|
|Awns conspicuous, more than 3 mm long||3|
|2||Panicle bristly; spikelets 2–3.5 mm long, awn on lemma to 3 mm long||Echinopogon mckiei|
|Panicle not bristly; spikelets 3.5–4 mm long; lemma with a mucro to 1.5 mm long|
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|3||Spikelets to 5 mm long; lemma lobes less than 1.5 mm long or absent; glumes acute||4|
|Spikelets 5–10 mm long; lemma with aristulate lobes to 2.5 mm long; glumes acute to subulate|
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|4||Plants rhizomatous with culms loosely clustered or solitary, usually geniculate at the base; leaves with blade linear-lanceolate or linear, 2–8 mm wide, panicle dense||Echinopogon ovatus|
|Plants tufted; culms erect, usually not geniculate; leaves with blade linear, 1–5.5 mm wide; panicle dense or interrupted|
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|5||Panicle stiffly erect; peduncle retrorsely scabrous||Echinopogon intermedius|
|Panicle often nodding or at an angle; peduncle smooth (or very slightly scabrous) below the panicle|
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|6||Spikelets usually more than 7 mm long; glumes often with loose, long hairs as well as rigid bristles on the keels; lemma usually shorter than the glumes||Echinopogon cheelii|
|Spikelets 5–7(-8) mm long; glumes with bristles only on the keels; lemma about the same length as the glumes|
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