native perennial grass most commonly found near scrub or forest
margins on poorer hill country, but sometimes persisting for many
years on steeper banks in improved pastures. There are approximately
25 species in the genus, with wide variability in growth form.
For example, leaves may be almost 10 mm wide, or so narrow that
the plant is similar in appearance to fine fescue.
The New Zealand common name, Danthonia, is a previous Latin name,
now replaced by Rytidosperma in New Zealand. In mainland
Australia and Tasmania where some species of this grass are also
found, the Latin name now in use is Austrodanthonia.
of the large number of species, best identified by the seed-head:
always a fringe of hairs; in this plant a tuft of longer hairs
in place of the auricle;
usually ribbed and similar to ryegrass in colour;
usually loosely tufted with open space between tillers (see
seeded spikelets, not unlike fescue, poa, or brome grasses.
Usually about 6 - 10 spikelets per head; may be spaced along
a single stem (a raceme) or loosely clustered on branches forming
a small panicle;
lemma (outer scale on the seed) has three "tails",
the centre one long, straight when the seed-head is immature,
but twisting in a distinctive way and protruding at an angle
as the seeds develop;
have three rows of hairs across the back of the lemma (visible
with a low power microscope), and differences in length and
density of these is one character used to distinguish the different