Photographer Judy West (CANB)

Australopyrum pectinatum

Australopyrum velutinum

Distribution of species

Genomic constitution

W, by definition. Only diploids are known.

Distinguishing features

Perennial plants with solitary spikelets. Spikelets usually strongly divergent to reflexed, several times longer than the adjacent internodes. Glumes not keeled from the base.




Plants perennial, loosely tufted. Culms 10-70 cm tall; lowest internode 0.5-2.2 mm thick.  

Leaf blades 0.5-3.5 mm wide, flat to loosely involute.

Inflorescence spikelike, 1.5-13 cm long; rachis tough, usually prolonged beyond the base of the distal spikelet up to 3.5 mm; lowest internode  3-12 mm long; middle internodes 2-7 mm long; disarticulation below the glumes.

Spikelets solitary, tangential to the rachis, 7.5-19 mm long, with 3-9 florets, not pedicellate or on pedicels to 1 mm long, tangential to and usually strongly divergent or reflexed from the rachis, sometimes ascending.

Glumes 5-9 mm long, stiff, narrowly lanceolate, to awnlike.

Lemmas 4.8-11 mm long, awned, awns to 4 mm, straight. Paleas from 3/4 as long as to equaling the lemmas, keel veins with widely spaced long, coarse teeth, often extending beyond the intercostal region, converging to a narrow tip, the keel veins often extending beyond the intercostal region. Lodicules ??. Anthers 1-6 mm long.


There are five species, three native to Australia, one to New Zealand, and one to New Guinea.


Australasian - one being native to New Guinea, three to Australia, and one to New Zealand.


Alternative interpretations

Australopyrum has been a well accepted genus since . Lve first raised it to generic rank in 1984. It was first recognized as a taxon by Tsvelev who, in 1973, proposed it be recognized as Agropyron sect. Australopyrum.

Type species

Australopyrum pectinatum (Labill.) . Lve

Known problems

There are no known problems concerning Australopyrum


Species pagesDichotomous key to species


Connor, H.E. 1994. Indigenous New Zealand Triticeae: Gramineae. New Zealand Journal of Botany 32: 125-154.

Edgar, E.. and H.E. Connor. 2000. Flora of New Zealand, volume 5. Gramineae. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, New Zealand.

Jacobs, S.W.L., R.D.B. Whalley, and D.J.B. Wheeler. 2009. Grasses of New South Wales. Ed. 4. University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Autralia.