Triodia species: is a member of the grass or Poaceae family. There are 45 species, all endemic and occur in the arid regions of all mainland states of Australia. Their common names are Spinifex or Porcupine Grass. Perhaps the latter name should be Echidna Grass to reflect its Australian origin.
Triodias usually form coarse tussocks or hummock-like perennials. Older specimens often develop into rings. Some species secrete resin from the leaves and Aboriginal people used this as an adhesive.
The leaves are extremely prickly, hence the common name. Spinifex grasses often comprise the bulk of arid inland vegetation.
Triodias, viewed from a distance, have an attractive appearance with their mounded growth habit. Close encounters will soon change your mind and leave an indelible impression of this prickly customer.
The ring-like growth habit, of older specimens, has allowed the survival of other native plants. In rabbit infested areas Spinifex protects young seedlings growing in the centre of the ring. We have observed Callitris, Native Cypress Pines, growing vigorously in the centre of Spinifex rings. Young Callitris plants feature prominently in the diet of rabbits.
Botanists find species identification difficult. Propagation is also difficult.
The specimen, one of many thousands, in the photograph was growing in Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park in July 2004.