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The second in a projected set of four volumes by ABRS on the grasses of Australia, Volume 44B of the Flora of Australia documents five subfamilies of the grass family (the Poaceae), comprising 55 genera and 468 species.
The largest subfamily in the volume, the Chloridoideae, is largely tropical, and includes the important endemic genera Triodia (Spinifex, symbolic of central Australia) and Astrebla (the Mitchell Grasses), the large genera Eragrostis (Lovegrasses) and Sporobolus (Ratstail Grasses) and the Windmill Grasses - Chloris and relatives.
The Arundinoideae include the aquatic Arundo and Phragmites (Reeds), and the endemic Amphipogon (Greybeard Grasses). The Danthonioideae incorporate the temperate Wallaby Grasses. Most of the representatives of the other two subfamilies are found predominantly in the drier areas of Australia: the Aristidoideae, comprising the large genus Aristida (Kerosene Grasses, Three-awns); and the largely endemic Micrairoideae, which includes Eriachne (Wanderrie Grasses), and the unique Micraira, which are resurrection plants (returning to life from complete air-dryness), and the only grasses whose leaves grow in spirals on the stem.
Forty-eight authors, illustrators, and photographers contributed to this volume. There are 83 plates of line drawings and 64 colour photographs, illustrating nearly every genus, to help readers appreciate the beauty and variety of Australian grasses.