Common name: Purple Needlegrass
Triraphis mollis R.Br. APNI*
Description: Caespitose annuals or perennials to c. 80 cm tall. Culms erect, slender, ribbed, scabrous; nodes 2–4, constricted, glabrous, purplish.
Cataphylls to 1 cm long, sometimes the bases pilose with hairs 1–2 mm long; sheath becoming loose with age, shorter than internode, ribbed, glabrous; ligule a ciliate rim with hairs 0.5–1 mm long, each end with several rigid hairs c. 3 mm long; blade 4–25 cm long, ribbed, glabrous.
Inflorescence paniculate, compact, oblong, 6–30 cm long, 1.5–3 cm wide, soft, purple, straw-coloured when mature. Spikelets of 3–9 florets. Glumes narrowly elliptic, unequal, 1-keeled, glabrous, keel and margin scabrous; lower glume 3–4 mm long, mucronate; upper glume 4–5 mm long, 2-toothed around the pointed extension of the nerve. Lemmas narrow, 3–5 mm long, 1-keeled, 3-nerved, nerves pubescent with rigid hairs to 2 mm long, 3-lobed, the lobes c. 1 mm long; central nerve extending to become awn, straight, 5–7 mm long; lateral awns arising from the margins, straight 6–7 mm long; callus c. 0.5 mm long, pubescent with hairs c. 0.25 cm long; palea linear, c. 3 mm long, 2-nerved, membranous.
Flowering: Usually flowers in response to rain.
Distribution and occurrence: Common on sandy soils in many different habitats.
NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, NWS, CWS, NWP, SWP, NFWP, SFWP
Other Australian states: Qld Vic. W.A. S.A. N.T.
Rarely grazed by stock, if eaten in large quantities it can cause cyanide poisoning.
Text by Jacobs, S.W.L., Whalley, R.D.B. & Wheeler, D.J.B.
Taxon concept: Grasses of New South Wales, Fourth Edition (2008).
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
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