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Natural populations

Poa sieberiana occurs in various habitats, from virtually sea-level to alps in native grasslands, woodlands and forests on most soils, from sands to clays, preferring drier sites [40]. Poa sieberiana is often replaced by the more robust (larger) P. labillardieri in wetter sites, at least in the lowlands [39]. There are three varieties differentiated by the spikelets and leaf blades, var. cyanophylla, var. hirtella and var. sieberiana [7].

Flowering and seeds

Plants flower and set seed in spring – summer. Poa has dry, one seeded fruits, grouped in terminal inflorescences, should be collected when firm and cream coloured and then dried to release seeds [93]. It can be germinated with no pre-treatment or may be treated by cold stratification for plants growing in colder climates [90].

Cultivation and uses

Poa grass was used by Aborigines as a fibre source to make string for nets and for bags, baskets and mats and it makes for an attractive rockery plant [38]. The plants are an important food source and provide habitat for wildlife.

Key descriptors:

Var. cyanophylla:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 600-1550 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 5-17 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 20-29 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: -3-2 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C)
Altitude: 300-1450 metres
Tolerance of extremes in climate
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Soil factors
Texture: light to medium clay (35-50% clay)
Soil depth: 1. skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm)
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in texture: clayey
Biological traits under cultivation
Longevity: short-lived less than 15 years
Growth rate: fast
Root system: shallow and spreading
Erosion control potential: excellent for clayey sites

Var. hirtella:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 400-1500 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer, uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 7-19 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 21-32 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: -3-5 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C)
Altitude: 20-1250 metres
Tolerance of extremes in climate
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm)
Drainage: well-drained
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in texture: sand
Biological traits under cultivation
Longevity: short-lived less than 15 years
Growth rate: fast
Root system: shallow and spreading
Erosion control potential: excellent for sandy sites

Var. sieberiana:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 350-2550 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer, uniform or winter
Frosts (approx. no. per year): 3. greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C)
Mean annual temperature: 5-16 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 14-31 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: -4-8 °C
Altitude: 0-1750 metres
Tolerance of extremes in climate
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, heavy clay (greater than 50% clay), light to medium clay (35-50% clay) or loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm)
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in texture: clayey
Biological traits under cultivation
Longevity: short-lived less than 15 years
Growth rate: fastRoot system: shallow and spreading
Erosion control potential: excellent for clayey sites

References

[7] Sharp D, Simon BK (2002) AusGrass: Grasses of Australia. CD-ROM, Version 1.0., Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra, and Environmental Protection Agency, Queensland.

[38] Mitchell M, Miller M (1990) The identification of some common native grasses in Victoria - a set of compilation notes. Rutherglen Research Institute, Victoria.

[39] Burbidge N (1984) Australian Grasses (Volume 1): Australian Capital Territory and Southern Tablelands of New South Wales. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.

[40] Forbes SJ, Cade JW, Lamp CA (2001) Grasses of Temperate Australia - a field guide. Bloomings Books, Melbourne.

[90] Flynn S, Turner RM, Dickie JB (2004) Seed Information Database (Release 7.0, October 2006). (Online database) http://www.kew.org/data/sid/ (Accessed: July 2007).

[93] Bonney N (2003) What Seed Is That? A guide to the identification, collection, germination and establishment of native plant species for central southern Australian landscapes. Neville Bonney, Tantanoola.

Internet links

PlantNet NSW Flora Online – species description & distribution: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Poa~sieberiana

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