Australopyrum calcis subsp. calcis
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 = 14
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.
2012 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered | Qualifiers: CD, OL, St
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered | Qualifiers: CD, St, OL
2004 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered
Endemic. New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough. Known only from two sites in the Leatham Valley.
Apparently a limestone endemic. The only known population grows mainly near a limestone outcrop in shaded sites under trees on lime-rich soils and limestone debris. However a very few plants grow directly on the limestone outcrop under shaded rock overhangs and ledges.
Stout, stoloniferous red-green to dark green perennial grass. Leaf-sheath 25-50 mm, with retrorse short hairs, reddish green. Auricles 0.1-0.5 mm. Ligule 0.6-1.25 mm, lacerate. Collar dark brown to purple. Leaf-blade 60-250 x 0.5-3.5 mm, flat, thin, upper surface with minute prickle-teeth on ribs; underside with conspicuous white midrib and 2 lateral ribs. Culm 170-600 mm, slender, reddish, nodes swollen, dark-brown to black. Inflorescence a spicate raceme 30-130 mm; spikelets 4-13, overlapping; rachis internodes glabrous, margins toothed. Spikelets 10-14 mm. Glumes unequal, lower 2.5-4 mm, upper 3.7-5.5 mm, narrowly to broadly-triangular, 3-5-nerved, undersides prickle toothed, upper invested with short white hairs. Lemma 9-11 m; undersides with stiff 0.1 mm long teeth, awn 1.5-4 mm. Palea 5.3-7 mm, apex bidid. Callus 0.25-0.4 mm upperside with short stiff hairs. Anthers 2.4-2.8 mm. Ovary 0.8-1 mm, stigma-styles 1.8-2 mm. Seed 3.5-4 mm, linear.
Australopyrum calcis subsp. optatum Connor et Molloy is a smaller and more slender grass. The upper surfaces of the leaves of this subspecies are distinctly, though finely, hairy (glabrous in subsp. calcis), while the culm internodes are glabrous except for the last internodes below the inflorescence which is finely hairy (glabrous in subsp. calcis). In this subspecies the inflorescence rachis is finely hairy while that of subsp. calcis is glabrous.
December - January
December - May
Very easy from fresh seed. Does best in a pot. Can be grown in full sun or shade. Dislikes high humidity. Plants respond well to regularly applications of lime.
Known from two extremely restricted sites in the Leatham Valley, South Marlborough. It is estimated that less than 200 plants are known from two sites in close proximity. The main population occurs at the base of a limestone bluff, while the other occurs along an old vehicle track at an adjacent limestone quarry. These populations are protected but are very vulnerable summer drought which can stress and even kill the overlying trees, thereby opening up the habitat to weeds. Although the grass is not especially palatable it is occasionally browsed by rabbits and hares.
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.