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Herbarium specimen. Copyright DERM
Heteropogon contortus (L.) Roem. & Schult.
Roth, A.G. in Roemer, J.J. & Schultes, J.A. (1817) Systema Vegetabilium Edn. 16 2: 836. Type: ?.
Andropogon contortus L., Species Plantarum Edn. 1 2: 1045(1753), Type: Habitat in India.
Bunch Speargrass; Black Speargrass
Tufted perennial. Culms slender, usually geniculate at base, 20-100 cm tall.
Leaf sheaths keeled with lower part flattened; leaf blades flat or folded, 10-20 × 0.3-0.6 cm, scabrid or adaxial surface pilose at base, apex obtuse or shortly acute to apiculate; ligule a ciliate membrane 0.5-1.0 mm high and with a few long hairs on the shoulders. Old leaves pinkish brown.
Inflorescence terminal or racemes gathered into a scanty panicle; spatheoles linear, tightly rolled around peduncle; peduncles mostly long-exserted. Racemes 3-7 cm (excluding awns), narrowly cylindrical, 7-12-awned, (1-)3-10(-12) pairs of flat green homogamous spikelets below the awned fertile pairs. Sessile spikelet 5-7 mm, dark brown; callus 2-3 mm, fiercely pungent, brown bearded; lower glume linear becoming cylindrical at maturity, sometimes hispidulous between veins; awn 6-10 cm, dark brown, column white-hirtellous, tips of successive awns often twisting together. Pedicelled spikelet 6-11 mm, lower glume oblong-lanceolate, greenish, laterally asymmetrically winged, glabrous or sparsely to densely pilose or tuberculate-hispid or white setose.
Features not available.
Distribution and Ecology
Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CQ and NSW. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 900 m. Grows in openings in rainforest, in Eucalypt forest, various types of woodland and grassland. Also from warm-temperate areas to the tropics and subtropics of the world.