Agrostis lessoniana Steud., Oryzopsis lessoniana (Steud.) Veldkamp, Agrostis procera A.Rich., Dichelachne procera Steud., D. rigida Steud., Oryzopsis rigida (Steud.) Zotov, Agrostis rigida A.Rich., Apera arundinacea Hook.f., Stipa arundinacea (Hook.f.) Benth., Apera purpurascens Colenso
Vascular – Native
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.
2n = 40-44
Current conservation status
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley.
2018 | At Risk – Relict
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Threatened – Nationally Vulnerable | Qualifiers: DP, Sp
2009 | At Risk – Declining | Qualifiers: DP
2004 | Sparse
Endemic. North Island, North Auckland, Waikato and southern third of the island. South Island from Nelson and Marlborough south, mainly in the east. Also occurs as a cultivation escape in some places, e.g., Auckland City.
Sea level to montane forest, forest margins, scrub and on cliff faces and associated talus.
Erect, tufted, shortly rhizomatous perennial, bearing densely leafy culms surmounted by delicate, nodding panicles. Leaf-sheath to 150 mm, outer margin ciliate. Ligule 1.5 mm, asymmetrical, entire to fimbriate. Leaf-blade 450 x 6 mm, stiff, involute or flat, upper surface shining, apex acute„ undersides smooth, dull, margins scabrid. Culm to 750 mm, simple, erect to nodding, internodes smooth, occasionally scabrid below panicle. Panicle 600 mm; purplish-red or green, branches capillary, spreading, whorled; rachis slender, smooth to scaberulous, branches and pedicels scaberulous. Spikelets laterally subcompressed, pale green to purplish. Glumes subequal, 2.5-3.5 mm, hyaline, acute to acuminate, keel scabrid; lower linear-lanceolate, 1-nerved, upper elliptic-lanceolate, 1-3-nerved. Flowers perfect. Lemma 2 mm, 3-nerved, elliptic-oblong, awn to 8 mm, scabrid, curved, caducous. Callus minute, rounded, ringed by very minute hairs. Anther 1, 0.8-1.4 mm, apically thickened.
A most distinctive and singular species which could only be confused with the common introduced grass Piptatherum miliaceuum (L.) Coss. From that species Anemanthele is most readily distinguished by its spikelets with have laterally subcompressed rather than dorsally compressed florets bearing one rather than three stamens.
(October-) January (-March)
(November-) February (-May)
Florets are dispersed by wind (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easy from fresh seed, often naturalises in gardens and can become very invasive. Can be grown in a variety of situations but does best in dry soil in full sun or partial shade under trees. Does not like damp soils.
lessoniana: Named after René Primevère Lesson who was a 19th century French botanist and surgeon
Where To Buy
Very common in cultivation and sold by most plant retail nurseries, though often under a variety of incorrect names.
Fact sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange for NZPCN (1 June 2013)
References and further reading
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
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Anemanthele lessoniana Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/anemanthele-lessoniana/ (Date website was queried)