Eriachne aristidea F. Muell. Fragm.
5: 205 (1866).
Classification. (GPWG 2001) : Subfamily
Type of Basionym or
Protologue Information: HT: Oldfield s.n., Australia: Western
Australia: Eremaean Province, near Oolingara, Murchinson River (MEL; IT: BR, K,
E. aristidea var. minor, E. gardneri.
(books and floras):  G.Bentham, Flora Australiensis 7 (629),
 C.A.Gardner, Flora of Western Australia 1 Gramineae (46),
 M.Lazarides in J.Jessop (ed)., Flora of Central Australia (442 as
E. aristidea var. aristidea),  D.Sharp & B.K.Simon, AusGrass,
Grasses of Australia,  J.Jessop, G.R.M.Dashorst, F.M.James, Grasses
of South Australia (419),  S.W.L.Jacobs, R.D.B.Walley &
D.J.B.Wheeler, Grasses of New South Wales (260).
 C.A.Gardner, Flora of Western Australia 1 Gramineae (47
& 53, Pl. 12 & 13),  J.Jessop, G.R.M.Dashorst, F.M.James, Grasses
of South Australia (420, fig. 350),
 S.W.L.Jacobs, R.D.B.Whalley & D.J.B.Wheeler, Grasses of New South
Wales, 4th edn (260).
Habit. Annual or
perennial. Culms geniculately ascending, 6–48 cm tall, 1–3 -noded. Mid-culm
nodes bearded. Lateral branches simple or sparsely branched or fastigiate.
Leaf-sheaths glabrous on surface or hairy. Ligule a fringe of hairs.
Leaf-blades flat or conduplicate or involute, 7–19 cm long, 3–6 mm wide.
Leaf-blade surface smooth or scabrous, glabrous or indumented.
Inflorescence compound, a panicle. Panicle elliptic, 4–10 cm long, 2–6 cm wide.
Spikelets pedicelled. Fertile spikelets 2-flowered, both fertile, comprising 2
fertile floret(s), without rachilla extension, ovate, laterally compressed,
8–10 mm long.
Glumes similar, thinner than fertile lemma. Lower glume lanceolate or ovate,
membranous, without keels, 9–13 -nerved. Lower glume surface glabrous or
indumented. Lower glume apex muticous. Upper glume lanceolate or ovate,
4.5–9.3(–11.5) mm long, membranous, without keels, 9–13 -nerved. Upper glume
surface glabrous or indumented. Upper glume apex muticous.
Fertile lemma 5.8–9 mm long, without keel, 5–7 -nerved. Lemma surface
indumented. Lemma apex awned, 1 -awned. Median (principal) awn 4–10 mm long
overall. Palea apex lobed, awned (2). Grain 2.8–3.8 mm long.
Distribution: Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia,
Queensland, New South Wales.
Gardner. Canning, Keartland, Giles, Fortescue, Ashburton, Carnarvon, Austin. Northern
Territory: Victoria River, Barkly Tableland, Central Australia North,
Central Australia South. South Australia: Lake Eyre. Queensland:
Burke, South Kennedy, Port Curtis, Leichhardt, Gregory North, Gregory South,
Mitchell, Warrego, Maranoa. New South Wales: North-Western Plains, North
Far Western Plains.
Typical plants of the species can be diagnosed by the leafy compact short-lived
habit, panicles scattered throughout the plant, large spikelets, hairy
tubercled glumes, awned bisulcate lemmas concealed by indumentum, two-awned
paleas, and strongly compressed caryopsis. There is considerable variation in
spikelet dimensions, awn length, and the indumentum on foliage and spikelets.
characteristic species of the arid interior, but extending into semi-arid areas
in Qld and N.S.W. A common species of sand dunes, sand plains and sand hills;
also of seasonally flooded, alluvial sandy or loamy floodplains, levees and
swales; sometimes also in shallow, stony soils on sandstone and quartzite
outcrops and ridges. Flowers and fruits in all seasons in N.T., S.A. and Qld,
and chiefly Apr.-Nov. (autumn to spring) in W.A. and N.S.W.