Vascular – Native
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.
2018 | Threatened – Nationally Critical | Qualifiers: CD, Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Threatened – Nationally Critical | Qualifiers: CD, OL, Sp
2009 | Threatened – Nationally Critical | Qualifiers: CD, OL, Sp
2004 | Threatened – Nationally Critical
Endemic. South Island, Waitaki Valley, where it is known only from two small < 1 ha (collectively) limestone outcrops.
Confined to limestone tors and castles, where it grows amongst crevices, joints and on the associated rendzina soils.
Grey-green or purple-green short-lived perennial grass, forming slender tufts up to 220 mm tall. Leaves tough, wiry, < culms; branching mainly extravaginal, leaf-blades persistent. Leaf-sheath pale brown to purple, membranous, distinctly ribbed. Ligule 1-1.5 mm, lacerate, ciliate, underside pubescent-scabrid. Leaf-blade 60 x 1 mm, folded, midrib underside adorned with sparse prickle-teeth, upper side of leaf covered with minute stiff hairs; margins inrolled. Culm to 150 mm, slender, purple, bearing1-2 cauline leaves, internodes glabrous. Panicle 20-60 mm, open, sparingly branched; branches usually smooth, bearing 1-2 spikelets at apices. Spikelets 2-3 mm, 2-3-flowered, silvery purplish green. Glumes subequal, 2-2.5 mm, margins wide, hyaline, lower glume elliptic-lanceolate, acute to acuminate 1-3-nerved, upper ovate, obtuse, 3-nerved. Lemma 2-2.4 mm, 5-nerved, ovate, obtuse. Palea 2 mm. Callus with minute fine hairs. Anthers 0.7-1.1 mm purplish. Stigma-styles 1-1.4 mm white.
Allied to Poa lindsayi Hook.f. which differs by the intravaginal innovations, shorter, truncate, glabrous ligule, and shorter glumes and anthers.
November - January
December - March
Can be grown from division of existing plants. Probably easy from seed if seed can be obtained. Dislikes humidity.
Threatened by the very small habitat area it occupies which is subjected to frequent weed invasion by hawkweeds (Hieraceum spp.), Sedum acre L. and cocksfoot grass (Dactylis glomerata L.).
poa: Meadow grass
Where To Buy
Not commercially available. A few plants are held in private gardens.
Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange. 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.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Poa spania Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/poa-spania/ (Date website was queried)