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Genus Polypogon Family Poaceae
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 
1Glumes entire, acute or mucronate with an awn <1 mm long, the keels with stiff hyaline bristles to 0.5 mm longPolypogon chilensis
Glumes notched at the apex, with an awn 1 mm or more long, variously hairy but without bristles on the keel2
2Awn on glumes to 3 mm long; panicles rather loose with branches visiblePolypogon lutosus
Awn on glume 4–9 mm long; panicle dense, the branches concealed by spikelets
                       Back to 1
Polypogon monspeliensis

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