4. Poa seticulmis, sp. nov.
Tufted or spreading, branched below, slender, smooth, pale-green or yellowish, 4 in. 10 in. high. Leaves shorter than the culms, very slender or filiform, erect, striate, smooth, involute. Sheaths broad, membranous, striate, and grooved; contracted just below the short broad ligule. Culms erect, slender, often filiform, perfectly smooth, clothed almost to the top by the sheaths of the cauline leaves. Panicle ovate, 1½ in.—3 in. long; the branches in pairs, ascending or
almost divaricating, sparingly subdivided, scabrid, bearing few shortly pedicelled spikelets at the tips of the branchlets, Spikelets rather small, narrow, very uniform, pale, polished and shining, glabrous, about ⅙ in. long, 3- to 5-flowered, obscurely nerved. Empty glumes shorter than the flowering, about half the length of the spikelet, membranous, narrow, acute, subequal. Flowering-glumes coriaceous, subacute, faintly 3- to 5-nerved, glabrous or slightly downy on the back, webbed at the base, sometimes serrate along the midrib, as is occasionally the case in the empty glumes also; palea rather stiff
The typical state of this grass is that found on sandhills on the west coast of the North Island to the north of the Waikato Heads, but I cannot separate from it by any good or constant characters a darker-green inland form that ranges throughout both Islands as far south as Catlin's River, in the south-east of Otago.
Its closest affinity is with Poa colensoi, Hk. f., and Poa pusilla, Berggren. I consider it impossible to identify the typical sandhill plant with Berggren's species, but some of the inland forms included in my species approximate to what appear to be large forms of Berggren's plant. Specimens from distant and diverse stations display great uniformity of character. Variation is chiefly seen in the flatness or involution of the leaves, woodland specimens being decidedly flatter, the scabrid serrature of the back of the glumes, and the extent of the downiness and the webbing at the base of the flowering-glumes. I have not noticed any panicle having more than two branches at one node.
The present species has been long known, but it was confounded with Poa breviglumis, Hook. f., by most botanists, and most likely by Hooker himself. It is now certain that it does not belong to that species. The following stations are from labels in my herbarium: Typical form—Ahipara Bay, Maunganui Bluff, Kaipara Heads, Waitakerei West, Manukau Heads. Inland form—Opanaki (Kaihu Valley), Tirau (Upper Thames), Hiruharama (Waipiro Bay), Bealey, (Canterbury Alps), Maungatua, Catlin's River. A number of my specimens have been received from Mr. Cheeseman and Mr. Kirk, those of the latter under the name “Poa breviglumis, Hk. f., an identification which Mr. Kirk abandoned in later years.