Microlaena stipoides

Microlaena stipoides (Labill.) R. Br. Prodr. 210 (1810).

Classification. (GPWG 2001) : Subfamily Ehrhartoideae. Tribe Ehrharteae.

Basionym and/or Replacement Name:  Ehrharta stipoides Labill., Nov. Holl. Pl. 1: 91, t. 118 (1804).

Type of Basionym or Protologue Information: HT: Labillardière s.n., Australia: Tasmania: Capite van-Dieman (FI).

Recent synonyms: Ehrharta stipoides.

Key references (books and floras): [1810]. R.Brown, Prodromus (210), [1878] G.Bentham, Flora Australiensis 7 (552), [1952] C.A.Gardner, Flora of Western Australia 1 Gramineae (16), [1969] E.E.Henty, Manual Grasses New Guinea (125), [2002] D.Sharp & B.K.Simon, AusGrass, Grasses of Australia, [2002] J.Wheeler, N.Marchant & M.Lewington, Flora of the South West (423), [2006] J.Jessop, G.R.M.Dashorst, F.M.James, Grasses of South Australia (58), [2008] S.W.L.Jacobs, R.D.B.Walley & D.J.B.Wheeler, Grasses of New South Wales (300), [2009] A.Wilson (ed.). Flora of Australia, Vol 44A. Poaceae 2 (381 as var. stipoides, & var. breviseta ).

Illustrations: [1952] C.A.Gardner, Flora of Western Australia 1 Gramineae (15, Pl.1), [2006] J.Jessop, G.R.M.Dashorst, F.M.James, Grasses of South Australia  (59, fig. 23 &; plate 2 as var. stipoides), [1984] N.T.Burbidge. rev. S.W.L.Jacobs, Australian Grasses  (183), [2008] S.W.L.Jacobs, R.D.B.Whalley & D.J.B.Wheeler, Grasses of New South Wales, 4th edn (300), [2009]. A.Wilson (ed.), Flora of Australia 44A: Poaceae 2 (382, Fig 52 as var. stipoides, var. breviseta).

Habit. Perennial. Rhizomes present, short. Culms erect or geniculately ascending or decumbent, 30–75 cm tall. Mid-culm internodes glabrous. Leaf-sheath auricles absent, or present. Ligule a fringed membrane, a ciliolate membrane, 0.3–0.5 mm long, membranous. Leaf-blades flat or involute, 2.5–25 cm long, 1–5(–10) mm wide.

Inflorescence. Inflorescence compound, a raceme, a panicle of racemes or a panicle. Panicle linear, effuse, 7–19 cm long.

Spikelets. Spikelets pedicelled. Fertile spikelets many flowered, with at least 2 fertile florets, comprising 2 basal sterile florets, comprising 1 fertile floret(s), without rachilla extension, linear, laterally compressed, 15–50 mm long. Rhachilla internodes elongated between glumes.

Glumes. Lower glume ovate, keeled, 0–1 -nerved. Upper glume ovate, 0.3–3.7 mm long, 0–1 -nerved. Florets. Basal sterile florets 2 or more, barren, without significant palea. Lemma of lower sterile floret coriaceous, 1-keeled, 5–7 -nerved, awned. Lemma of upper sterile floret 8–15 mm long, awned.

Fertile lemma 5.5–11 mm long, keeled, 5–7 -nerved. Lemma apex muticous or mucronate. Palea 0–1 -nerved, 1-keeled. Lodicules present. Anthers 4.

Continental Distribution: Africa, Tropical Asia, Australasia, and Pacific.

Australian Distribution: Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, Norfolk I, Lord Howe.

Western Australia: Drummond, Menzies, Warren, Eyre. South Australia: Flinders Ranges, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South-eastern. Queensland: Cook, Darling Downs, Leichhardt, Moreton, North Kennedy, Port Curtis, South Kennedy, Burnett, Wide Bay, Warrego. New South Wales: North Coast, Central Coast, South Coast, Northern Tablelands, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands, North-Western Slopes, Central-Western Slopes, South-Western Slopes, North-Western Plains. Victoria: East Gippsland, Eastern Highlands, Gippsland Highlands, Gippsland Plain, Grampians, Midlands, Otway Plain, Otway Range, Wilsons Promontory, Riverina, Volcanic Plain, Wannon, Wimmera. Tasmania: Furneaux Group, North West, North East, West Coast, Central Highlands, Midlands, East Coast, South West.

Notes. Morphologically variable; some specimens from W.A. have, relatively speaking, much longer glumes than commonly seen, and a large, robust spikelet. The stipe of the first sterile lemma is also very variable in length, as is spikelet size and scabridity of the sterile lemmas.

Extends to Norfolk Is., New Zealand, New Guinea and the Phillipines. Usually grows in damp, shady areas.

Infra-specific taxa: var. stipoides, var. breviseta.

Awns of sterile lemmas more than twice as long as lemmas               M. stipoides var. stipoides

Awns of sterile lemmas shorter than to as long as lemmas                 M. stipoides var. breviseta 





Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith