Triodia (plant)

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Triodia is a large genus of hummock-forming bunchgrass endemic to Australia. They are known by the common name spinifex, although they are not a part of the coastal genus Spinifex.[1] Many of the soft-leaved members of this species were formerly included in the genus Plectrachne.[3]

"Triodia pungens" (green) and "Triodia basedowii" (blue-grey)
Triodia pungens (green) and Triodia basedowii (blue-grey)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Chloridoideae
Tribe: Cynodonteae
Subtribe: Triodiinae
Genus: Triodia
R.Br., 1810

It is known as tjanpi in central Australia,[4][5] and is used for basket weaving by the women of various Aboriginal Australian peoples.[6]

A multiaccess key (SpiKey) is available as a free app for the Triodias of the Pilbara (28 species and one hybrid).[7]


Triodia is a perennial Australian tussock grass which grows in arid regions. Its leaves (30–40 centimetres long) are subulate (awl-shaped, with a tapering point). The leaf tips, that are high in silica, can break off in the skin, leading to infections.[citation needed]


Spinifex has traditionally had many uses for Aboriginal Australians. The seeds were collected and ground to make seedcakes. Spinifex resin was an important adhesive used in spear-making. Smoke signals were made to communicate with families and groups a long distance away, as burning spinifex produces a strong black smoke.

The species Triodia wiseana is used for building shelters; bunched together it is used for trapping fish against creek beds. It is called baru in the languages of the Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma people, the English term is hard spinifex.[8]

A controlled burn of Triodia (1989), CSIRO


Species currently include:[9][10]

Formerly included speciesEdit

Numerous species once considered members of Triodia have been reclassified, they are in other genera, which include: Austrofestuca, Chascolytrum, Danthonia, Dasyochloa, Deschampsia, Diplachne, Disakisperma, Erioneuron, Gouinia, Graphephorum, Leptocarydion, Notochloe, Plinthanthesis, Poa, Puccinellia, Rytidosperma, Scolochloa, Spartina, Torreyochloa, Trichoneura, Tridens, Triplasis, Tripogon, and Vaseyochloa.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b M. Lazarides (1997). "A revision of Triodia including Plectrachne (Poaceae, Eragrostideae, Triodiinae)". Australian Systematic Botany. 10 (3): 381–489. doi:10.1071/SB96012.
  2. ^ a b "Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families". Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  3. ^ Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 1992 onwards. The grass genera of the world: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval; including synonyms, morphology, anatomy, physiology, phytochemistry, cytology, classification, pathogens, world and local distribution, and references. Version: 28 November 2005
  4. ^ "Special spinifex". Bush Heritage Australia. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Fact Sheet: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park" (PDF). Parks Australia. Retrieved 16 March 2020. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ "Our Artists". Tjanpi Desert Weavers. 7 January 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  7. ^ M.D. Barrett, B.M. Anderson, K.R.Thiele (2017-06-05). "SPIKEY: An interactive key to Triodia spinifex grasses of the Pilbara, Western Australia Version". Welcome to Identic. Retrieved 2020-05-02.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Burndud (1990). Wanggalili; Yinjibarndi and Ngarluma Plants. Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation. p. 17.
  9. ^ "Triodia". The Plant List. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  10. ^ Australia, Atlas of Living. "Triodia". Retrieved 19 January 2019.

External linksEdit