Danthonia pectinata Lindl.
Common Name: Barley Mitchell Grass
Plant growing in native habitat in early summer
Photograph by: Mark Marathon
Astrebla pectinata is a clump-forming, evergreen grass with short rhizomes. The erect culms can be 30 - 120cm tall.
The seeds were used as a food by the native Australians, though it is probably little used at present.
Australia - New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Northern Territories, Western Australia
Red loam or dark brown clay soils in Western Australia[
Astrebla pectinata grows in arid and semi-arid areas of Australia at elevations up to 1,000 metres. Its best development occurs in areas receiving between 250 - 550mm annual rainfall. It grows n the warm, moist season and, due to a lack of moisture, has usually ceased growth by the time the cooler seasan and its frosts arrive. It can produce new growth if there is ample winter rainfall and can flower at almost any time of the year in response to rainfall[
Requires a sunny position[
]. Found in the wild in cracking clay soils, usually with a high pH and free limestone[
]. The plant has some tolerance to salinity[
]. It is extremely drought -tolerant due to its robust root system - though plants can die in extremely dry periods[
Top growth is killed in fires, but the plant will usually resprout from the roots[
]. Other species in the genus can also be used[
Seed - probably best to surface sow in a sunny position in a greenhouse in spring. Push the seeds gently into the soil and make sure the compost does not dry out. When large enough, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow on until large enough to plant out. In colder regions, consider growing on in the greenhouse until the following spring, planting out after the last expected frosts.