Common name: Bunch Speargrass, Black Speargrass
Heteropogon contortus (L.) P.Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult. APNI*
Description: Tufted perennial to 1.5 m high, culms erect, branched.
Leaves with sheath glabrous or with a few tubercle-based hairs; ligule c. 1 mm long; blade 2–7 mm wide, glabrous or with scattered hairs.
Racemes 3–7 cm long (excluding awns), spathes leaf-like, 5–15 cm long, the intertwined awns conspicuous. Sessile spikelets 5–7 mm long with a pungent bearded callus; glumes equal to the spikelet, lower 5-nerved, upper 3-nerved. Lower lemma c. 50% the length of the spikelet, sterile, without a palea; upper stipe-like at the base and passing into a brown twisted awn 5–12 cm long. Pedicellate and lower sterile spikelets 6–10 mm long, unawned, the glumes sometimes hairy and enclosing reduced lemmas.
Distribution and occurrence: Widespread in tropical fire-prone open forest and woodland.
NSW subdivisions: NC, NT, NWS, CWS, NWP, NFWP
Other Australian states: Qld W.A. N.T.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & C. A. Wall
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 4 (1993)
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.