Description: Tussocky or creeping dioecious perennials.
Sheaths short, broad, loose; ligule a row of cilia; blade ± convolute.
Male and female inflorescences very dimorphic but both globular or hemispherical and consisting of clusters of few to many spikes subtended by large bract-like spatheoles; male spikes bearing several spikelets and terminating in a bristle; bisexual or female spikes becoming detached from the plant at maturity and behaving as a diaspore each with a solitary sessile spikelet near the base and the rachis continued as a very long scabrid bristle.
Distribution and occurrence: A genus of c. 4 species from the coasts of Asia and Australasia These grasses should not be confused with the many species of Spinifex in inland Australia that belong to the genera Triodia and Plectrachne, that achieved the common name ‘Spinifex’ through a mistranslation of a French explorer’s journal. Spinifex sericeus is a sand-binding and colonising grass on coastal sand dunes and has been planted to take benefit of these characteristics. The name S. hirsutus is now confined to the species with stolons >9 mm diam. on the S.A. and southern W.A. coasts. Aust.: 3 spp., all States.
Derivation: from the Latin for ‘thornmaker’, referring to the pungent leaves of the Asian species first described.
Text by Jacobs, S.W.L., Whalley, R.D.B. & Wheeler, D.J.B.
Taxon concept: Grasses of New South Wales, Fourth Edition (2008).
|One species in NSW: Spinifex sericeus|