Plants perennial, caespitose, stoloniferous. Culms 30-70 cm tall, 1-1.4 mm thick, basal branching extravaginal; nodes 2-3, lower nodes often geniculate; internodes smooth except scabrous below the inflorescence.
Basal leaves: sheaths glabrous or retorsely hairy; collar usually glabrous, occasionally with long hairs; auricles absent or to 1.7 mm long, glabrous or with long hairs; ligule 0.2-0.6 mm, truncate; blade 10-20 cm long, 1.8-7 mm wide, flat, usually green, sometimes glaucous, abaxial surface usually scabrous, sometimes smooth, adaxial surface scabrous or with short hairs.
Inflorescences 8.5-30(50) cm long, with 5-18 spikelets; middle internodes 7-20 mm long, outer surface smooth or scabridulous.
Spikelets solitary, tangential, not pedicellate, 14-35 mm long, with 4-12 florets; .
Glumes more or less equal to unequal, 2-3-veined, 0.7-1.4 mm wide; lower glume 4.2-8.5 mm long, unawned or with an awn to 1.3 mm long; upper glume 4.8-9.2 mm long, 3-5-veined, muticous or with an awn up to 1.2 mm long. Rachilla internodes shortly hiary, distal hairs not overlapping the base of the callus above.
Calluses as wide or wider than long, grooved distally. Lemmas 6.9-12.5 mm long, glabrous and smooth or scabrous distally and on lower portion of margins, lowest lemma unawned, mucronate or with an awn to up 3 mm long, upper lemmas unawned or with straight awns to 17 mm long, varying within a spikelet. Palea 7.7-12 mm long, 90-100% as long as the lemma body, keels straight distally, with teeth 0.5-1 mm long, keel tips separated by 0.38-0.6 mm, intercostal region retuse, truncate or rounded. Lodicules 0.8-1.25 mm, simple, linear. Anthers 2-5.1 mm long, purple or yellow.
Caryopsis 7-10 mm long; embryo about 1 mm long.
There are two varieties, A. multiflora var. multiflora and A. multiflora var. kingiana. The latter differs from A. multiflora var. multiflora in the multiplicity of small prickle-teeth on its glumes and lemmas and in having straight awns to 17 mm long and 1.3-1.6 times as long as the lemma body. (From Connor 1994).
Anthosachne multiflora var. multiflora
AUSTRALIA: South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales
NEW ZEALAND: North Island: offshore islands and coastal throughout, inland at Hawkes Bay; South Island: coastal from Nelson to Banks Peninsula and Three Kings Island.
Anthosachne multiflora var. kingiana
Coastal sand dunes and coastal and inland riparian habitats in Australia (Jacobs et al. 2009); Cliffs and rocks of various substrates, frequently limestone; from sea level to 600 m (Edgar and Connor 2000).
2n = 42, presumably StWY
Currently treated as Elymus multiflorus in works from Australia and New Zealand; Anthosachne multiflora (Banks & Sol. ex Hook. f.) C. Yen & J.L. Yang was published in 2006. The combination for the Norfolk Island endemic has not ben published.
The most distinctive feature of this species is the short awns of the lemmas. Specimens of A. multiflora from New Zealand have shorter awns and narrower leaves that those that I have seen from Australia. The Australian specimens are very similar to those from Norfolk Island. M. Barkworth, 2009.
Formal citation of name
The combination for this species in Anthosache has not yet been published. It is in a manuscript that Barkworth and Jacobs will submit shortly.
Edgar, E. and H.E. Connor. 2000. Flora of New Zealand, volume 5. Grasses. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, New Zealand.
Jacobs, S.W.L., R.H. D. Whalley, and D.J.B. Wheeler. 2008. Grasses of New South Wales, ed. 4. University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia.
Wang, S., M.J. Henwood, and C.M. Weiller. 2009. Elymus, pp. 96-99 in Flora of Australia, vol. 44a. Poaceae 2. CSIRO Publishing