Monachather Syn. Pl. Glum. 1: 247 (1854).
Derivation:. From Greek monoarchos (solitary) and ather (spike. a ear of wheat), alluding to the solitary wheat-like spike.
Taxonomic revisions, nomenclatural references:. S.T.Blake, Contr. Queensland Herb. 14: 3–4 (1972).
Key references (keys and floras):. G.Bentham, Flora Australiensis 7: 592 (1878) as Danthonia bipartita; C.A.Gardner, Flora of Western Australia 1 Gramineae 56 (1952) as Danthonia bipartita; M.Lazarides, Flora of Central Australia 439–440 (1981) as Monochather ; J.C.Tothill and J.B.Hacker, Grasses of Southern Queensland 310–311 (1983); J.P.Jessop, Flora of South Australia 4: 1866 (1986); B.K.Simon, Key to Australian Grasses 132 (1993); S.W.L.Jacobs and K.L.McClay, Flora of New South Wales 4: 557 (1993); D.Sharp and B.K.Simon, AusGrass (2002); K.Mallet (ed.), Flora of Australia 44B: Poaceae 3: 21 (2005); J.P.Jessop, Grasses of South Australia 304 (2006); S.W.L.Jacobs, R.D.B.Whalley & D.J.B.Wheeler, Grasses of New South Wales, 4th ed, 302–303 (2008).
W.D.Clayton & S.A.Renvoize, Genera Graminum (1986), genus (275).
Native, endemic. 1 species, from arid mainland Australia. WA, NT, SA, Qld, and NSW.
Habit. Perennial, tufted. Leaf blades narrow. Ligule an unfringed membrane (jagged, often with dense marginal tufts of cilia).
Inflorescence. Inflorescence paniculate, a spike-like panicle, contracted (linear, nearly racemose).
Spikelets. Spikelets laterally compressed, more than 2 flowered, with 2 or more fertile florets, awned, solitary, pedicelled; with naked rachilla extension. Fertile spikelets disarticulating above glumes, with distinctly elongated rachilla internodes between florets.
Glumes. Glumes more or less equal, exceeding florets, long relative to adjacent lemmas (much exceeding them), hairless, glabrous, pointed, awnless, non-keeled, similar (papery). Lower glume 13–19 nerved. Upper glume 11–13 nerved.
Florets. Fertile florets (3–)5–6(–8). Lemmas decidedly firmer than glumes, not becoming indurated, incised, deeply cleft, awned, with a clear germination flap, 9–13 nerved, hairy. Awns 1, from a sinus (from between the long, glabrous lemma lobes), geniculate, much shorter than body of lemma to about as long as body of lemma. Lemma hairs in transverse rows (one row basal, one row beneath the lobes). Palea relatively long (longer than body of lemma), entire (obtuse or truncate) or apically notched (emarginate), leathery, indurated, 2 nerved. Palea keels winged, hairy (ciliate). Callus short, blunt. Lodicules 2. Stamens 3. Grain small, longitudinally grooved (depressed beneath the palea margins, concave along the hilum face), compressed dorsiventrally. Hilum short. Embryo large.
Kranz Anatomy. C3.
2n = 72, 12 ploid.
Habitat. Xerophytic. Arid grassland. Species of open habitats.
Notes. Monachather was separated by from Danthonia sens.lat. by Blake (1972b) on the basis of the broadly turbinate, indurated lemma and the caryopsis shape with the small elliptical hilum, as well as the woolly plant base. Morphologically the genus is quite distinct, and has been generally accepted, but its relationships have remained obscure (Linder and Verboom, 1996).
Types Species. M. paradoxus Steud.
Biogeographic Element. Clifford & Simon 1981, Simon & Jacobs 1990: Endemic.