Anthosachne aprica


aprica: From the Latin aperire 'open', meaning uncovered

Common Name(s)

Blue wheat grass

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 - Sp


Anthosachne aprica (Á.Löve et Connor) C.Yen et J.L.Yang



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



Elymus apricus Á.Löve et Connor


Endemic. South Island, Central Otago only


A species of inland basins where it grows in short tussock (Festuca novae-zelandiae (Hack.) Cockayne) grasslands at elevations of 150-200 m.


Erect, glaucous, and tufted. Leaf sheath 70-100 mm, keeled striate, becoming fibrous, glabrous, sparsely hairy or pubescent, margins papery. Ligule 0.3-0.5 mm, ciliate. Leaf-blade 200-300 × 2-4 mm, glaucous, flat, ribbed, sometimes involute, upper surface glabrous, or with occasional 1 mm long hairs, undersides densely hairy, lamina margin prickle-toothed, occasionally with sparse hairs up to 1 mm long. Culms 0.5-1 m, erect, nodes conspicuous, black or red-brown. Inflorescences 180-250 mm, stiff, erect, of 3-7 spreading spikelets. Spikelets 30-50 mm, each with 6-12 (or more) florets. Glumes ± equal, 5-10 mm, 3-nerved, acute or shortly awned, margins papery, ciliate. Lemma 10-14 mm, glabrous with some prickle-teeth above, apex occasionally bifid, awn 22-45 mm, recurved or straight. Palea 6-13 mm, apex bifid. Rachilla 2-3 mm, short stiff hairy. Callus 0.75 mm, incompletely and shortly bearded. Anthers 4-9 mm purple or yellow.

Similar Taxa

Morphologically superficially similar to Connorochloa tenuis, from which it differs by the erect culms rather than long trailing culms, with the uppermost internodes short, spikelets widely spreading (divergent) from rachis, and 4-9 mm long, purple to yellow anthers. Anthosachne aprica is a stout grass with conspicuous erect flower heads bearing long-awned spikes that are held at a distinct angle to the stem. Aside from Connorochloa it could possibly can be confused with some exotic Bromus spp. that also have long awns (but these often have hairy leaves, and green rather than blue-green coloured spikes, and the edges of the spikes are sharply delineated, not rounded as in Anthosachne. This species previously regarded as an Elymus is now accepted as a member of Anthosachne (see Barksworth & Jacobs (2011)).


October - February

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple,Yellow


November - April

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed and the division of whole plants. Dislikes humidity and does best in full sun, in a well drained soil.


A local endemic, that while not believe to be threatened occupies a very narrowly defined range that is ever increasingly vulnerable to loss of habita through the expansion of the wine industry in Central Otago

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

Not commercially available


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange June 2005. Feature 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.

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 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 12 Sep 2014