romantic grasses 2015-2016


Oct 9, 2015

romantic grass of the week: Chrysopogon pallidus (false beard grass, ribbon grass) a type of vetiver grass native to north australia, grows in sandy soil 100-150cm, dense, tufted, 3-5noded, leaf blades 20-40cm long, hairy, scabrous or round projections on them, folded in or rolled in on itself. a panicle of rames 18-30cm long 3cm wide (1 cluster spikelet attached to base, 2 cluster companion spikelet on small stalk, awned) 

Sep 14, 2015

romantic grass of the week: Sarga Plumosum. a native sorghum..
one of the three native wheats. a tufted perennial. compound inflorescence - a panicle of rames 12.5-45cm long, 2.5cm wide. red brown when mature. spikelets are companioned a sessile and a pedicilled one.. the sessile one has a long awn attached. distinctive bearded node. leaves have a white midrib from shiny green blades to blue green sands. found on red earth, loams, watercourses, swamps, valleys. north coast Qld, NT, WA. prevalent in townsville (thanks to JCU)

Jan 7, 2015

romantic grass of the week: found on our bushwalk in the border ranges national park there is a "lost world" area, fully in the clouds.. full of what looks like south east asian rainforest and we found this grass growing in the misty clouds - stout bamboo grass austrostipa ramosissima. found Usually in moist, well-drained gullies, near forest or woodland margins in eastern mainland States, including Lord Howe Island. perennial. 100-250 cm tall.. grows together in clumps like bamboo, woody, 6-9 nodes coming from clump. quite delicate looking

Jan 15, 2015
Esperanza Leticia sent me a pic of weeds in her garden at Lismore so I am doing a bit of a tall weed identifying section here..

Pennisetum purpureum renamed Cenchrus purpureus in 2010. is tall as fuck, growing to 4m, can resemble sugar cane when fully mature. Pale green leaves up to 4cm wide with a prominent midrib tapering to a tip. Flowerheads are 30cm in length and range in color from yellow to purple. when you try pulling it out it has a stem like lemongrass a bit. Cenchrus p. will never be declared a pest coz cows love it and its good for them :-). Another unique thing about Cenchrus p. is that it can also grow geniculately ascending - flat then bend up at a sharp angle opposed to decumbent like Eragrostis c. which lies mostly along the ground and with only the extremity curving upward.

1) & 2)


Megathyrsus maximus grows to 200cm tall (unless its a mutant that will die within a year and is 400cm tall). If you take a look at the panicle inflorescence u will see that Cenchrus P (the yellow one) is solid and the spikelets/seeds are sessile (no small branch attaching them) while Megathyrsus has a compound inflorescence (branching into an oblong or pyramid shape) with spikelets/seeds pedicelled (on a small branch).  First picture is from #election2013 and now #qldelection2015. Leaf blades are linear or lanceolate.


Sporobolus natalensis' flower even tho its a compound inflorescence with pedicelled spikelets like Megathyrsus m. looks more like Cenchrus p. because its primary branches are contracted. Of course the inflorescence looks like a rat's tail I recommend looking closer at the flower to ID.


Eragrostis curvula - so if the inflorescence is wide with branched spikelets it could be a Megathyrsus m. or an Eragrostis curvula (they r both around the same size). A spottable difference is if the leaves are filiform (thin like string) or convulute or curled, then you probably have an Eragrostis. Eragrostis can be a bit purple in the green stage of flower so be careful identifying just on flower color.  The other identifiers kind require a magnifying glass but try seeing if the floret is on a bendy stem coming off the branch or a straight stem. Eragrostis c have bendy stems (rachilla). Sporobolus n. and Eragrostis c. are not that good for cows. oh plus. If it's a bushy looking flower then its a Megathyrsus m. its not such a good identifier coz its only a small stage of the flowering process.

NB. Arundo donax (Giant Reed) may be a tall weed too but it grows in and around freshwater, and is handy to burn as a biofuel, someone send me a pic of water weeds and I can do a water weeds section?

Plus coming is a weeds under 1m section and includes several varieties of Paspalum, Rhodes Grass, the shorter American Rat's Tail Grass, Molasses Grass, Para Grass... aargh my head is spinning.

Feb 5, 2015

Sida Rhombifolia - (Queensland Hemp) - Join the campaign to keep this a native, it is being classified as a weed because of the secret properties I am gonna tell u about. The pounded leaves are used to relieve swelling, the fruits are used to relieve headache, the mucilage is used as an emollient, and the root is used to treat rheumatism (Parrotta 2001). Australian Aborigines use the herb to treat diarrhea. Leaves are smoked in Mexico and a tea is prepared in India for the stimulation it provides. It is really easy to identify coz of its straggly appearance. After the first 6 months the leaves start getting smaller and sparser. Leaves are shaped like arrows and the yellow flower is an easy identifier. The stalks grow up from low on ground. Its shrubby doesnt grow much more than 1.5m but is about 1m wide. We have a lot growing in our yard and there's a few on the Beenleigh line. We have one drying in our house, if you come visit, ask us to make a tea "-)

March 30, 2015

romantic grass of the week: Aristida Vagans - a grass you could find in Sydney Ironbark Turpentine Forest. i love grasses with awns, not only are they pretty but they assist seed burial. i thought kangaroo grass was the only one then i found heaps at the kuring-gai nursery.. so aristia vagans is three awn spear grass, an erect tufted 80cm grass, open angular flower. longevity 2-25 years. Thanks to Macleay Grass Man for the photos

Jun 11, 2015

romantic grass of the week: romantic grass of the week has a home again! celebrating with a rainforest grass - Baloskion tetraphyllum (tassel-cord-rush) - tufted plant to 1.5mtall with many clusters of slender, bright green divided branchlets in axils of leaf sheaths. Numerous spikelets 3-6mmlong, in long loose narrow panicles above branchlets.. its a messy looking one, prefers it real shady but can't be inundated with more than 2cm water - its our first new house plant, great color

August 9, 2015

romantic grass of the week: warm waves of winter, Rytidosperma Longifolium formerly Danthonia Longifolium - a long leaved wallaby grass.. not as furry as the common wallaby grass, but has awned florets in a lanceolate panicle 5-15cm long, found along east coast down from Brisbane.. likes high altitudes, easiest spotting feature is slightly curled filiform blades.... spotted in Redbank at Timothy Green's.

NB. Tardy Disclaimer: Since moving to Sydney haven't been getting out bushwalking much or seeing grasses, also so much academic reading has made me question how the romantic grasses and I fit in with the apocalypse of the Internet and any kind of leftist revolution. Made a new years resolution to get out more (in general).

Feb 9, 2016

Empodisma minus (Spreading Rope Rush) - endemic to Australia and NZ. from Restionacae family of rushes whose leaves are reduced to open sheaths on stem. the Empodisma has a slightly reflexed tip 1-6mm long. spikelets few flowered 4-7mm long and nut ovoid. tufted herb with short erect glabrous stems less than 1m long. flexuouse with many branches often forming a tangled mass in moist shady places. landscaping: looks great under banksia or tall-medium shrubs, used extensively at Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island. sandy soil, in boggy, creek banks, wet cliffs, heath and open forest. Qld, NSW, Vic, Sa, Tas, NZ. last 3 photos by Totterdell C.

Feb 10. 2016

Lepyrodia scariosa (Scale-rush)- found NSW and Qld. Common on Coast and ranges. damp sandy or peaty soil in heath or open forest. stems 30-90cm tall and unbranched,  straw coloured leaf sheath 15-30mm long, loose, open. male and female flowers similar, female flowers with consipcuous pale stigmas. flowers aug-jan.  first photo by phil diemar at nelson bay, others by John Tann at Dharawal and Heathcote National Parks.

Feb 12, 2015

Leptocarpus tenax -  (slender twine rush) smooth greyish green stems 60-100cm tall; leaves reduced to scaly, dark brown leaf sheaths with membranous tip weathering to aristate point. Male flowers in numerous narrow stalked purplish brown spikelets 4mm long in drooping panicles. female spikelets reddish brown less than 10mm long, nearly sesile, few, in erect inflorescences. Nut narrow-ellipsoid 2-3mm long. damp sandy soils in heath sedgeland and low woodland mainly coast in all states of australia. genus entirely endemic to Australia

Feb 14, 2016

Baloskion gracile (slender cord-rush) Herb with slender stems 50-100cm x 0.5-1.5mm crowded on rhizome root; leaf sheaths 20-30mm long pretty flush against the stem. spikelets in narrow inflorescences with bract exceeding the lowest spikelet. male spikelets 5-10mm long on slender sltalks, ellipsoid. female spikelets 6-16mm long, cylindrical, purplish, sessile. wet sandy peaty soils, swamps and sedgeland.. photos from royal national park and dharawal national park by John Tann. a supspecies occurs n Richmond, Agnes Banks, Castlereagh and Wyong where the bract on bottom of inlorescence, has its apex displaced by spikelets

Feb 15, 2016

romantic grass of the week: Chordifex dimorphus - this is a plant endemic only to the greater sydney area on the coast from Woy Woy to Cataract Dam. genus chordifex have collicuate seeds, see glossary below. stems 30-100cm long, divided near base into flexuouse branchlets, flowering branches extra flexi.  leaf sheaths 5-13mm long broad, loose, glabrous at maturity, brown. male spikelets numerous ovoid 4-6mm with 3-8 flowers; female spikelets few, narrrow with 1 flower and several barren glumes. grows on sandstone in shallw soils

glossary: A : colliculate B: muricate C: warty D: papillate E: glandular F: bullate G: wrinkled H: striate

Feb 16, 2016

romantic grass of the week: Chordifex fastigiatus broader range than yesterday's C.dimorphus.. from Budawangs to Gosford but also found in Queensland in sandy ground in heath and scrub. its a stripey one iwth dark broawn closely appressed leaf sheaths, erect 30-100cm, branched but branchlets are sparse and barren. spikelets narrow 4-7mm long, male spikelets with everal flowers femal spikelets with 1 fertile flower. can differentiate from other stripey rushes because the sheath stripe is straight and the stems dont get into a tangled or flexi mess. Photos by John Tann

Feb 17, 2016

romantic grass of the week: Centrolepis fascicularis Perennial herb forming clumps to 8cm high and 12cm across. Leaves narrow-linear with blunt apex, 10-40, less than 1mm diameter, crowded. flower stalk different from leaf blade has furrows, cylindrical 2-6cm long.  flower is a pseudanthium like a sunflower (where one flower is actually made up of many tiny flowers with the ones on the edge of the inner disc also having a petal). C.fascicularis only has 2-4 female florets making its flower enclosed in bracts that are almost equal in lenght that either form an apex or awn and are hairy. Fasicularis from Latin, meainng bunched together. found in all states on coast and ranges but most common in NSW and Victoria, uncommon in other states. Sydney subspecies (pictured in middle) is tufted rather than clump or mat-forming and bract is short and pointy rahter than long and fine.

Feb 18, 2016

romantic grass of the week: Juncus planifolius last seen juncus genus (J. prismatocarpus and J. uitatus) at Nov 13, 2015, Juncus genus are very stemmy rushes.  Here in Sydney the Juncus species are highly hybridised, and hard to identify. one a little easier identified is J. planifolius. its inflorescence is umbel like (terminal, diffuse or head-like) 3-12cm long, open; bract shorter than inflorescence, clustered at the apex of branches 8-30 per cluster, brown scaly tepal. seed capsule a bit longer than tepal, ellipsoid, shiny brown. tufted annual or shortly lived rush with cylindrical or slightly compresssed stems 10-60cm all and leaves shorter than stemms blade 5mm wide.sheath pale brown or pinkish.

Feb 19, 2016

romantic grass of the week: Luzula ovata (Clustered Wood-Rush) - if you got cheap petrol yesterday its time to head to the mountains. found in the mountains and tableland swampy areas in NSW and Vic (rare in SA). its a small one at 30cm tall with onion-like bulb. tufted at base, leaves to 12cm are flat and linear (very grass-like) hairy on the margins and apex is obtuse. and culms 10-30cm tall. inflorescence a single ovate cluster or several heads clustered less than 10mm long. edges of flower -red-brown and pointy with pale margins, surrounded by 1-4 large bracts. fruit capsule a deep red, as long as tepal.


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