Common Name: Beargrass
Description: Annual or perennials; culms loosely tufted or solitary.
Leaves with ligule thinly membranous; blade flat, scabrous.
Inflorescence a dense, soft, bristly, spike-like panicle.
Spikelets laterally compressed, 1 bisexual floret, disarticulating below the glumes, spikelet falls entire. Glumes subequal, hairy, entire or apex 2-fid, usually with a slender straight awn between the lobes. Lemma much shorter than glumes, thin, soft, obscurely 5-nerved, usually with straight, slender awn, apex blunt, minutely toothed. Palea shorter than lemma, finely 2-nerved.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 10 species in temperate areas of the northern hemisphere. Europe, Japan & North America. Australia: 4 species (naturalized), all States except N.T.
Of the species sometimes listed as naturalised in Australia, 1 is thought by some to be a hybrid with a species of Agrostis and included in the genus XAgropogon, (treated as Polypogon here). Agrostis viridis is sometimes regarded as a species of Polypogon because the spikelets fall intact; it is treated here as a species of Agrostis. Derivation: from the Greek words for ‘many’ and ‘bearded’, referring to the awns.
Text by Jacobs, S.W.L., Whalley, R.D.B. & Wheeler, D.J.B.
Taxon concept: Grasses of New South Wales, Fourth Edition (2008).
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Glumes entire, acute or mucronate with an awn <1 mm long, the keels with stiff hyaline bristles to 0.5 mm long||Polypogon chilensis|
|Glumes notched at the apex, with an awn 1 mm or more long, variously hairy but without bristles on the keel||2|
|2||Awn on glumes to 3 mm long; panicles rather loose with branches visible||Polypogon lutosus|
|Awn on glume 4–9 mm long; panicle dense, the branches concealed by spikelets|
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