Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 27, 1894
This text is also available in PDF
(156 KB) Opens in new window
– 353 –

Art. XLIII.—Description of New Grasses from Macquarie Island.

[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 20th February, 1895.]

Festuca contracta, n.s.

Tufted, erect, strict. Leaves erect, strict, 3in.—4in. long, terete or filiform; ligule O. Panicle strict, narrow, erect, 3in. long, with one or two short branches. Spikelets shortly pedicollate, 2-flowered, ½in. long including the awn; outer glumes unequal, the longest nearly equalling the spikelets, lanceolate, 5-nerved (two of the nerves obscure in lower glumes). Flowering-glume with a short dorsal awn springing from just below the apex; palea scarcely ciliate, grain large. Glumes minutely scabrid.

Hab. Macquarie Island; A. Hamilton! (1894).

Originally discovered by Professor Scott, whose specimens were too immature for satisfactory identification.

Poa hamiltonii, n.s.

Culms leafy to the base of the panicle, erect, 6in.-9in. high. Leaves flat, spreading, exceeding the panicle; ligule ovate, laciniate, the laciniæ produced into long hair-like points. Panicle 3in.—4in. long, strict, narrow, lower branches 1in.—2in. long. Spikelets pedicellate, 2–3-flowered; outer glumes unequal, the outermost less than half the length of the inner. Flowers never webbed at the base. Flowering-glume narrow, lanceolate, 5-nerved; lodicules ovate-acute, grain large, cylindrical.

Hab. Macquarie Island; A. Hamilton! (1894).

A very distinct species allied to P. foliosa, Hook. f., and P. anceps, Forst., but distinguished from both by the leaves

– 354 –

exceeding the culms, the laciniate ligule, the smaller spikelets, and unequal flowering-glumes; also from P. foliosa by the longer pedicels, very short styles, and cylindrical grain.

It is most appropriate that this very distinct species should be dedicated to Mr. A. Hamilton, who has made such remarkable additions to the flora of Macquarie Island, and materially, assisted in elucidating the general flora of New Zealand, more especially in the Hawke's Bay and Okarito districts.

Deschampsia penicillata, n.s.

A slender, glabrous plant, 3in.—4in. high. Leaves few, spreading, involute, 1in.—1 ½in. Culms erect, leafy to the base of the panicle; ligule ovate-acuminate, entire ordivided; panicle simple, or with one or two branchlets at the base, rhachis and pedicels capillary; spikelets 2-flowered, with the rhachilla produced above the second flower, and bearing an empty glume; outer glume equalling the flowering-glume or nearly, narrow ovate – acute, 3 – nerved; flowering – glume ovate, truncate, erose at the apex, 5-nerved; nerves of palea silky; stamens 3; grain free. Rhachilla silky, with a pencil of long hairs at the base of each flower.

Hab. Macquarie Island; 1894; in swamps: A. Hamilton!

In some respects this forms an abnormal member of the genus, as it is destitute of the dorsal awn characteristic of Deschampsia, a character which is, however, absent in other species usually referred to the genus. It has some affinities with Aira, but differs in the awnless flowering-glumes, the rhachilla being produced considerably above the second flower and often carrying an abortive glume, and especially in the free grain. I have only two small specimens of this curious little grass, which I was for some time inclined to consider a reduced state of Deschampsia eæspitosa, Palisot.