Poa anceps G.Forst. var. anceps; Poa anceps var. elata Hook.f.; Poa anceps var. foliosa Hook.f.; Poa anceps var. densiflora Hook.f.; Poa anceps var. condensata Cheeseman; Poa affinis var. multiflora Hook.f.; Poa affinis var. agrostoidea Hook.f., Poa anceps G.Forst. subsp. anceps
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 = 28
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 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. New Zealand: Three Kings, North and South Islands (north and western coasts as far south as George Sound, on Banks Peninsula in the east).
Coastal, lowland to subalpine. On coastal and inland cliffs, on rock falls, in open forest, scrub and grassland
Very variable, coarse, light green, greenish brown to bluish green perennial tufted grass to 1 m, with stiff erect leaves < stems, or often scrambling and trailing to 2 m, with hanging leaves and stems drooping from thick stolons, rooting at nodes below tufts; branching extravaginal, with up to three, short, glabrous, obtuse, bract-like sheaths at base; leaf-blades persistent. Leaf-sheath light green to light brown, coriaceous, folded and strongly keeled, lateral ribs conspicuous, smooth or slightly scabrid above, rarely minutely scabrid throughout. Ligule 0.5 mm, a truncate usually long-ciliate rim, scabrid abaxially. Leaf-blade coriaceous, folded to flat, Leaf-blade 100-400 × 1.0-6.5 mm, abaxially with prominent, thickened midrib, and numerous, distinct lateral ribs, smooth apart from prickle-teeth near tip; upper surface smooth, or scabrid on ribs, rarely papillose-scabrid, occasionally with fringe of stiff short hairs above ligule; margins smooth or scabrid, thickened, tip acuminate or abruptly acute, often pungent, scabrid. Culm 150-700 mm, often not far exserted beyond uppermost leaf-sheath, internodes glabrous. Panicle 100-280 mm, usually open with numerous spreading branches, sometimes contracted, branches whorled, very slender; rachis and primary branches often smooth, secondary branchlets finely, sharply, densely or sparsely scabrid or smooth, often spikelet-bearing ± throughout. Spikelets numerous, 3.0-7.5 mm, 2-8-flowered light green. Glumes subequal, narrow- to elliptic-lanceolate, acute to subobtuse, occasionally smooth throughout, or upper 2/3 scabrid; lower slightly shorter, lower glume 2.0-4.5 mm, 3-nerved, upper 2.5-5.0 mm, 3-nerved. Lemma 3.0-4.5 mm, 5-7-nerved, elliptic-oblong, acute to subobtuse, internerves finely scaberulous throughout, occasionally only minutely papillose, bearing short crinkled hairs on lower ½ of midnerve and near base of outer lateral nerves; margins minutely scabrid. Palea 2.5-4.0 mm, keels finely scabrid, interkeel and flanks smooth or minutely scabrid. Callus with thick tuft of soft crinkled hairs. Rachilla c.0.5 mm, smooth or minutely, sparsely scabrid; prolongation c. twice as long. Lodicules c.0.5 mm, occasionally hair-tipped. Anthers 1.5-2.5 mm. Seed c.2.0 × 0.5 mm.
The Kermadec Islands Poa polyphylla Hack. is closely related (see under that species). Poa anceps is most likely to be confused with Poa xenica (see under that species) and Poa chathamica (see under that species). However, as these species grow in habitats where Poa anceps is not found confusion in the field is unlikely.
September - December
November - May
Easily grown from fresh seed and rooted pieces. An excellent grass that deserves to be more widely cultivated. Poa anceps is a very variable species and would repay some critical horticultural selection. It is best grown in full sun, and is excellent on banks where it can trail down slope. This species is tolerant of a wide range of conditions.
poa: Meadow grass
anceps: From the Latin an- ‘two’ and caputus ‘head’, meaning two-faced or two-edged
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (June 2005). 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.