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A new (soft) spinifex from the Pilbara

The new species Triodia pisoliticola. The image includes details of the grass spikelets; these are critical for recognising species in Triodia

The spinifex genus Triodia is very common and often dominant in arid and northern Australia. Many people are familiar with the very prickly, hard-leaved spinifexes that form tussocks and rings in arid areas. There are currently around 80 named species of spinifex in Australia, but many more remain un-named and undiscovered.

Botanists Matt Barrett and Malcolm Trudgen have described a new species, Triodia pisiloticola, in a paper in the journal Nuytsia.

The new species is relatively soft-leaved, is restricted to the western part of the Pilbara and is quite rare. All known populations are on mining tenement. Naming new species in areas subject to mining is particularly important, so they can be conserved when mines go ahead.

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