Plant of the Month – June 2016

WINDMILL GRASS

(Chloris truncata)

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

(Photo: E. Cousins, Cape Jervis; single stalk of seed head, patch of grass, close-up of one seed head spike)

This native summer grass was flourishing at Cape Jervis after those lovely February rains, and the warm weather that followed.  It is low-growing, forming small tussocks usually no more than 50cm tall and often much shorter.

The broad leaves are a blue-green with a taper at the top and a fold near the bottom. It is the flowering head though that you will really notice, and which makes the common name self-evident! As you can see from the first photo, the flower head is a short stem with spikes radiating out just like the vanes of a windmill. These spikes are green when young, but darken as it flowers and the seeds mature. There are normally 6-9 of these spikes, and each spike will be covered with seeds that have two wings, or awns. You can just see these in the third photo.