Perennial plants with solitary spikelets. Culms are usually rather slender and the inflorescnce is often drooping with widely spaced spikelets. Glumes often very short compared to the adjacent lemmas and narrowing from near the base.
Plants perennial, densely to loosely clumped, sometimes rhizomatous or stoloniferous. Culms 20-170 cm tall; lowest internode 0.4-2.4 mm thick.
Leaf blades 0.5-7 mm wide, usually flat, sometimes involute.
Inflorescences spikelike, 2-70 cm long, with 1-20 spikelets; rachis tough, terminating in a spikelet; lowest internode 8-55 mm long, longer than the middle internodes; middle internodes 7-36 mm long; disarticulation below the florets.
Spikelets solitary, tangential to the rachis, 11-55 mm long, sessile or on pedicels up to 0.3 mm long.
Glumes lanceolate, 1.3-13 mm long, subequal or the lower much shorter than the upper, acute, muticous or the midvein extended into a straight or recurved awn.
Lemmas lanceolate, unawned or awned, awn to 75 mm, straight to recurved. Paleas from half as long as to subequal to the lemmas, curved to the narrow tip, keels with coarse, well-spaced teeth, intercostal region retuse to truncate. Lodicules?not lobed, ciliate distally. Anthers 1.6-9 mm.
Anthosachne, as circumscribed here, includes ten species but only three have valid combinations in Anthosachne. The remainder are currently included in Elymus. Barkworth and Jacobs are working on correcting this situation.
Anthosachne is confined to Australasia, growing in both Australia and New Zealand.
Currently, most of its species are treated in Elymus. The reason for this is that they have been placed in a section with several Central Asian species and, until the morphological differences between the two groups are determined, most taxonomists will not wish to recognize Anthosachne despite its being genomically distinct from the Asian species of Elymus sect. Anthosache, all of which are StY tetraploids, i.e., belong in Roegneria according to the treatment adopted here.
Anthosachne australasica Steud. This is not, however, a valid name because there is an older epithet for the taxon.
Dichotomous key to species
Connor, H.E. 1994. Indigenous New Zealand Triticeae: Gramineae. New Zealand Journal of Botany 32: 125-154.
Edgar, E.. and H.E. Connor. 2000. Flora of New Zealand, volume 5. Gramineae. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, New Zealand.
Jacobs, S.W.L., R.D.B. Whalley, and D.J.B. Wheeler. 2009. Grasses of New South Wales. Ed. 4. University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Autralia.