Anthosachne kingiana subsp. multiflora


multiflora: From late Latin, feminine of multiflorus meaning 'bearing many flowers'

Common Name(s)

blue grass, blue wheat grass

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Data Deficient

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Anthosachne kingiana subsp. multiflora (Banks et Sol. ex Hook.f.) Govaerts



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class



Triticum multiflorum Hook.f., Agropyron multiflorum (Hook.f.) Cheeseman, A. kirkii Zotov, A. multiflorum var. longisetum Hack., A. kirkii var. longisetum (Hack.) Zotov, Elymus multiflorus var. longisetus (Hack.) Á.Löve et Connor; Elymus multiflorus (Hook.f.) Á.Löve et Connor subsp. multiflorus; Anthosachne multiflora (Hook.f.) C.Yen et J.L.Yang subsp. multiflora


Indigenous. In New Zealand present from the Three Kings Islands south throughout North Island to the South Island from Nelson to Banks Peninsula. Also present in Eastern Australia.


Primarily a coastal species of cliff faces, and rocky ground, utilising rocks of various substrates but showing a decided preference for base-rich substrates such as limestone, calcareous mudstone, siltstone and sandstones, basalt or the zeolite-rich facies of greywacke. On offshore islands it occasionally grows on open clay pans


Tufted, stoloniferous, glaucous to green grass. Leaf-sheath 6-10 mm, striate, glabrous or retrorsely short hairy. Ligule 0.2-0.5 mm, margin frayed. Leaf-blade 100-200 × 2-4 mm, flat bright green or glaucous, ribbed, underside with small antrorse teeth or glabrous, upper with antrorse short hairs or prickle-teeth on ribs, margin shortly prickle-toothed. Culm 300-600(-900) mm, erect, suberect or drooping. Inflorescence 100-250 mm, of up to 6-15 spikelets. Spikelets 14-25 mm, of 7-12 florets. Glumes ± equal, 5-9 mm, 3-5-nerved, keeled, broad, margins papery, ciliate; keel and nerves prickle-toothed, sometimes extending into a short awn. Lemma apex often bifid, awn absent or about length of lemma. Palea 9-12 mm, apex truncate, retuse, ciliate. Rachilla 1-2.5 mm, hairy. Callus 0.75-1 mm, with scattered short hairs. Anthers 3-5 mm, purple or yellow.

Similar Taxa

Not closely allied to any of the endemic New Zealand species and unlikely to be confused with any of them. Long-awned forms could be confused with short-awned variants of Anthosachne solandri, but the awns in that species are recurved never straight.


September -February

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple,Yellow


October -May

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed and rooted pieces. Likes a sunny aspect in free draining soil. The long-awned froms are especially attractive


Not Threatened but there are indications that it is slowly declining from some parts of the North Island (Northland, Auckland and Wellington) due to weed invasion of its habitat. Where it occurs this species needs to be carefully monitored as it may yet warrant formal listing.

Chromosome No.

2n = 42

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Florets are dispersed by wind and attachment (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Occasionally offered by specialist native plant nurseries


Fact sheet srepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange June 2005. Description adapted from Edgar & Connor (2000).

References and further reading

Barkworth, M.E.; Jacobs, S.W.L. 2011: The Triticeae (Gramineae) in Australasia. Telopea 13: 37-56.

Edgar, E.; Connor, H.E. 2000: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. V. Lincoln, Manaaki Whenua Press.

Govaerts, R. 2014: New combinations for Philip Island wheat grass, Anthosachne kingiana subsp. kingiana (Poaceae). Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens 27: 23-24.

This page last updated on 24 May 2016