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Genus Hierochloe Family Poaceae

Description: Tufted or rhizomatous perennials sweetly scented with coumarin.

Leaves with ligule membranous; blade flat.

Inflorescence a loose panicle, the branches spreading, with golden brown spikelets towards the branch ends.

Spikelets laterally compressed, broad, disarticulating above the glumes, the florets falling together; florets 3, the lower 2 male, the uppermost bisexual. Glumes equal, broad, usually translucent, shining, keeled, 1–3-nerved. Lemmas shorter than or about as long as the glumes, male lemmas broad-elliptic, often hairy along the margins, firm, sometimes short-awned. Fertile lemma slightly hardened, awnless, smooth or ciliolate near the tip, 3–5-nerved. Paleas of male florets 2-keeled, and of bisexual floret 1-keeled, all shorter and narrower than their lemmas.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 20 species, in cool-temperate montane regions of Northern & Southern Hemispheres and the Arctic. Australia: 4 species (native), N.S.W., Qld, Vic., Tas.

Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & S. M. Hastings
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Culms wiry, often scrambling, much branched both from upper and lower nodes; leaf blades c. 2 mm wide; glumes c. 50% as long as the spikelet, green and purplishHierochloe rariflora
Culms compressible, erect and unbranched except from basal nodes; leaf blades 3–12 mm wide; glumes c. as long as the spikelet, translucent, not coloured2
2Spikelets 6–8 mm long; lemmas of the male florets with dorsal awns equal to or exceeding the lemma in length; upper surface of blades with deep groovesHierochloe redolens
Spikelets 5–6 mm long; lemmas of male florets awnless or with a 0.5 mm long awn, not reaching the apex of the lemma; upper surface of blades with distinct ribs but not deeply grooved
                       Back to 1
Hierochloe submutica

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