The Australian tribe of grasses, Triodieae or ‘spinifex’, was well known
to the early explorers of the continent’s centre. The tough sharpened leaf
blades of this ‘porcupine grass’ were a dreaded obstacle to the adventurers’
vain pursuit of fertile lands and inland seas - a real Australian ‘thorn in
the side’. For most, the endless spinifex grasslands symbolised a harsh and
monotonous, if not hostile Australian desert, a place to heroically endure
rather than celebrate.
Jim Mant, ANU
The hummock grasses in the genus Triodia is said to dominate over 20% of
Australia's mainland, growing on low nutrient soils found in sand plains and
rocky ranges of the arid centre, as well as on rocky outcrops along the coasts.
can be divided into two groups known as ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ spinifexes.