Agrostis subulata


Agrostis: Greek name for a kind of grass
subulata: from the Latin subulam ‘awl’, meaning awl-shaped

Common Name(s)

None known

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

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 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Range Restricted


2012 - RR
2009 - IE


Agrostis subulata Hook.f.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class





Endemic. Antipodes and Campbell Islands only


Peat covered rock ledges and sills, herbfields and in Chionochloa antarctica (Hook.f.) Zotov grassland


Small, densely tufted perennial 30-90 mm tall, with rigidly erect glaucous leaves usually overtopping the light green, spicate panicles. Branching intravaginal. leaf-sheath light brown, more or less hyaline, strongly ribbed, finely scabrid particularly near margins. Ligule 0.8-1.0(-1.6) mm, margins denticulate, undersides scabrid. Leaf-blade 15.0-40.0 x 0.3-0.6 mm, firmly fleshy, inrolled, strongly ribbed, finely and closely scabrid, apex blunt. Culm hidden within leaves, erect, internodes scabrid. Panicle 10-20 mm long, condensed, tightly oblong; rachis, branches and pedicels erect, closely short-scabrid. Spikelets 2.0-3.3 mm. Glumes subequal, lanceolate, pale green, occasionally tinged with purple, surfaces with antrorse prickle-teeth or minutely hairy, consistently glabrous near base. Lemma 1.3-1.6 mm long, glabrous, prominently 5-nerved, ovate, truncate, minutely denticulate, margins finely scabrid near apex, without awns or rarely with a fine awn arising c.2 mm from the upper third of midnerve. Palea 0.3-0.4 mm, ovate. Lodicules 0.4 mm long. Callus glabrous. Anthers 0.4-0.7 mm long. Seed 1.0 x 0.5 mm.

Similar Taxa

Agrostis muelleriana which is confined to the North and South Islands of New Zealand and Australia and differs by the deep reddish purple rarely green glumes smooth or papillose, with the keels finely scabrid





Propagation Technique

Has not been cultivated. Probably easy from fresh seed and rooted pieces but likely to require cold treatment to flower. Unlikely to tolerate warm, humid conditions


An uncommon narrow range endemic.

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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

Where To Buy

Not commercially available


Description modified from Edgar and Connor (2000).

References and further reading

Edgar, E.; Connor, H.E. 2000: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. V. Grasses. Christchurch, Manaaki Whenua Press. 650 pp.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309


This page last updated on 10 May 2014