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Mitchell grass
Astrebla pectinata.jpg
Astrebla pectinata
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Chloridoideae
Tribe: Cynodonteae
Subtribe: Eleusininae
Genus: Astrebla
F.Muell.
Type species
Astrebla pectinata
(Lindl.) F.Muell. ex Benth.

Astrebla is a small genus of xerophytic (adapted to survive in an environment with little liquid water) grasses found only in Australia. They are the dominant grass across much of the continent. They are commonly known as Mitchell grass after Scottish explorer, Thomas Mitchell (1792 – 1855), who first collected a specimen near Bourke in New South Wales.

Mitchell grasses grow on clay soils, mainly between an upper limit of 600 mm average annual rainfall, and a lower limit of 200 mm, and even below in depressions where the water concentrates following rains e.g. in Sturt's Stony Desert. Mitchell grasses are deep rooted and become dormant during drought, allowing them to survive extended periods without rainfall.

They are commonly found in arid regions of northern Australia, clumped together and reaching one metre high, providing habitat for organisms such as mammals.

  • Astrebla elymoides - hoop Mitchell grass, the second most common species
  • Astrebla lappacea - curly Mitchell grass, the most common species
  • Astrebla pectinata - barley Mitchell grass, the most drought tolerant species
  • Astrebla squarrosa - bull Mitchell grass, the most flood tolerant species
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