Scientific Name:
Poa kirkii Buchanan, Indig. Grasses of N. Z. t. 51 B (1880)
  • = Poa purpurea Kirk (1877) nom. inval., nom. nud.
  • = Poa mackayi Buchanan, Indig. Grasses of N. Z. t. 51 A (1880)
  • Poa kirkii var. mackayi (Buchanan) Hack. in Cheeseman, Man. New Zealand Fl. 910 (1906)
  • = Poa kirkii var. collinsii Hack. in Cheeseman, Man. New Zealand Fl. 910 (1906)
Vernacular Name(s):
Kirk's poa

Usually slender perennial tufts, c. 20–50 cm, occasionally stoloniferous, with brownish green leaves much overtopped by erect culms; branching extravaginal; leaf-blades persistent. Leaf-sheath often reddish purple, later grey-brown, submembranous, smooth or rarely slightly scabrid, ribs conspicuous. Ligule 1–4 mm, apically glabrous, entire, tapered, abaxially glabrous to finely pubescent-scabrid. Leaf-blade (3.5)–7.5–20 cm ×c. 1–3 mm, subcoriaceous, often flat, abaxially smooth, or scabrid on ribs, adaxially scabrid just above ligule and on ribs for some distance; margins finely scabrid with a few hairs just above ligule, midrib scabrid near curved tip. Culm (10)–15–35–(65) cm, internodes smooth or occasionally finely scabrid below panicle. Panicle 5–10–(15) cm, loosely spreading, with rather large spikelets at tips of fine, smooth to scabrid branches. Spikelets 3–6.5 mm, (2)–3–4–(6)-flowered, light green, often purplish. Glumes ± equal, usually purplish, subacute to acute, midnerve usually finely prickle-toothed near tip; lower 1.5–4 mm, 1–3-nerved, narrow elliptic-lanceolate, upper 2–5 mm, 3-nerved, elliptic-ovate; margins entire or finely ciliate near tip. Lemma (1.5)–2–5 mm, 5–(7)-nerved, ± ovate to oblong, obtuse to almost truncate, tip hyaline, usually purplish, nerves finely scabrid throughout or only in upper or lower part; in North Id plants lower ⅓ to ½ of midnerve and lower ¼ of outer lateral nerves with short hairs, internerves glabrous; in plants from South and Stewart Is nerves usually glabrous, rarely with a few wispy hairs on midnerve, internerves usually minutely ± sparsely scabrid, or smooth. Palea 1.5–4 mm, keels ciliate-scabrid, interkeel glabrous to shortly pubescent. Callus glabrous, occasionally with a few wispy hairs. Rachilla 0.5–1 mm, glabrous; prolongation twice as long. Lodicules 0.3–0.6 mm, rarely hair-tipped. Anthers 0.6–1–(1.2) mm. Caryopsis 1–1.5 ×c. 0.5 mm. 2n= 28.

[From: Edgar and Connor (2000) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 5 (second printing).]

Indigenous (Endemic)
Buchanan, J. 1880: The Indigenous Grasses of New Zealand. Vol. Part V & VI. Wellington, N.Z.
Cheeseman, T.F. 1906: Manual of the New Zealand Flora. Government Printer, Wellington.
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Barkla J.W.; Courtney, S.P.; Champion, P.D.; Perrie, L.R.; Beadel, S.N.; Ford, K.A.; Breitwieser, I.; Schönberger, I.; Hindmarsh-Walls, R.; Heenan, P.B.; Ladley, K. 2018: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017. New Zealand Threat Classification Series. No. 22. [Not Threatened]
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Champion, P.D.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Norton, D.A.; Hitchmough, R.A. 2013: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 3. Department of Conservation, Wellington. [Not Threatened]
Edgar, E. 1986: Poa L. in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 24: 425–503.