Enneapogon lindleyanus

Lindley nineawn


Enneapogon lindleyanus

(Domin.) C.E.Hubb. 1934

pronounced: en-nee-uh-POH-gon lind-lee-AY-nuss

(Poaceae — the grass family)

synonyms — Enneapogon oblongus

N.T.Burb. 1941

pronounced: en-nee-uh-POH-gon ob-LONG-guss

Enneapogon pubescens

(Domin.) N.T.Burb. 1941

pronounced: en-nee-uh-POH-gon pew-BESS-kenz

common name: Lindley nineawn

native 4Enneapogon is from the Greek, εννεα (ennea), nine, and πωγων (pogon) , the beard, referring to the nine plumose awn-tipped lobes of the lemmas; lindleyanus is for John Lindley (1799–1856), English botanist. One of the foremost British botanists of his time, he had connections with Australia: he described the plants of Mitchell’s expeditions (1838), and wrote an appendix to the Botanical Register of 1839 describing plants (mainly those collected by Drummond and Molloy) of the Swan River Colony, Western Australia. He was also instrumental in having Charles Moore appointed as Director of the Sydney Botanic Gardens. Moore was Director there from 1848 to 1896, and was an assiduous collector of plants, not only in NSW, but also in many of the Pacific Islands, including Vanuatu, the Queen Charlotte Group, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Lord Lowe Island. He wrote a census of NSW plants (1884) and, with E. Betche, a Handbook to the Flora of New South Wales.

This little grass was photographed near the reservoir above Picnic Bay. It is endemic to Australia, common in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland, and rare in NSW and South Australia. In Queensland, it is found over most of the state, with the exception of much of Cape York Peninsula and the Channel Country. A variable species, it is characterized by small, compactly capitate, prominently exserted panicles, short, entirely plumose lemma lobes and strongly branched culms. It is annual or perennial, and tufted.

With regard to the two synonyms, Enneappogon oblongus was distinguished by relatively long lemma lobes, a partly glabrous palea, simple culms and flat, glaucous blades; but these features are extremely variable and rarely present in combination; and Enneapogon pubescens differed only in its dense pubescence and larger dimensions, but intergraded with Enneapogon lindleyanus.

The delicate culms can grow up to 60 cm or so tall, but are usually much shorter (about 25 cm on the plants photographed). The mid-culm internodes are hirsute. The lateral branches are themselves branched; the ligule is a fringe of hairs. The leaf blades are persistent, filiform, flat or involute, and only 1 – 4 mm wide; they are slightly rough to the touch, and the apex is acute or acuminate.

The inflorescence is a panicle; the peduncle is scabrous; the panicle is elliptic or ovate or globose, 5 – 20 or so mm long, 5 – 15 mm wide.
The spikelets are solitary; the fertile spikelets are at least 3-flowered, comprising 1 or 2 fertile florets, with diminished florets at the apex, oblong, laterally compressed, 2 – 4 mm long, breaking up at maturity. The glumes are persistent, similar, thinner than the fertile lemma. In the florets, the fertile lemma is oblong, 1.5 – 2.5 mm or so long, membranous or cartilaginous, without a keel, and 9-veined. There are 2 or 3 apical sterile florets, 9-awned. The flowers have 2 lodicules and 3 anthers.

The fruit is a grain with an adherent pericarp, ellipsoid or obovoid, plano-convex, 1.3 – 2 mm long, and obtuse.


Photographs taken 2011, above Picnic Bay
Page last updated 19th December 2018