Scale bar is 1cm

Wallaby-grasses - native (Rytidosperma species)

Home..... Menu..... Common name index..... Scientific name index..... Glossary ..... Other grasses ...... The grass plant ....... Wallaby-grasses

lemma Wallaby grasses are native perennial grasses. The lemmas are distinctive - the tip of the lemma is divided into two tapering lobes which end in slender bristles. An awn rises from the base of the lobes, and the lemmas have (variably) hairy backs.

The degree of hairiness is important. Usually the hairs are in tufts in three rows. Some of the hair tufts in some of the rows may be absent, or there may be scattered hairs beween the tufts, or the lemmas may be hairy all over.

Members of the wallaby grass group have at times been classified as Danthonia, Austrodanthonia, and Chionochloa or Joycea.

Lemma back hairy all over, or hairy between rows.

pallidum Red-anther Wallaby-grass (Rytidosperma pallidum) Flower stalks often over 1m high from dense tussocks. Leaves narrow and inrolled. Very common forest grass.
kneed Kneed Wallaby-grass (Rytidosperma geniculatum) Tall slender grass. Often with bent stem. Awn about as long as side lobes. Common grassland plant.
short Short Wallaby-grass (Rytidosperma carphoides) Low growing (to 40cm). Lobes of lemma short. Awn short. Flowers in compact egg-shaped spray. Uncommon.
copper-awned Copper-awned Wallaby-grass (Rytidosperma fulvum) Tall (typically 50cm). Lemma hair tufts in 3 rows, hairy between rows. Awn stout, coppery at base. Side lobes taper into short awns.

Hair tufts on lemmas in 3 complete rows, smooth between rows

hill Hill Wallaby-grass (Rytidosperma erianthum) Flowers in a compact spray with a few spikelets. Lemmas triangular. Hair tufts often from cresentic swellings. Common.
lobed Lobed Wallaby-grass (Rytidosperma auriculatum) Low (typically 40 cm). Similar to Hill Wallaby Grass but lemma lobes with more or less triangular wing. Seldom recorded.
bristly Bristly Wallaby-grass (Rytidosperma setaceum) Lemma short (<2.5mm from awn-base to basal tip). Lemma slender. Flower cluster slender or moderately thick. Very common.
common Common Wallaby-grass (Rytidosperma caespitosum) Tall. Lemmas long (>4mm from base to awn base). Lemmas oblong. Leaves strongly tufted. Moderately common in grasslands.
brown-backed Brown-back Wallaby-grass (Rytidosperma duttonianum) Medium sized grass. Lemma back golden-brown on drying. Uncommon.

Some hair tufts absent

shining Shining Wallaby-grass (Rytidosperma laeve) Middle hair-rows lacking, exposing the shiny back. Uncommon.
bristly Striped Wallaby-grass (Rtyidosperma racemosum) Central upper hair tufts absent. Slender grass with narrow lemmas.
velvet Velvet Wallaby-grass (Rytidosperma pilosum) Some upper hair tufts missing. Palea scarcely exceeding base of the awn. Flower clusters usually compact and ovoid. Central awn broad. Grasslands.
penicillatum Slender Wallaby-grass (Rytidosperma penicillatum) Some upper hair tufts missing. Slender grass with slender flower cluster. Central awn slender. Common

Danthonia: in honour of E. Danthonine, an 18th-19th Century French botanist. Austrodanthonia: the southern Danthonias, Rytidosperma: with wrinkled seeds.