Native Grasses

When asked why plant native grasses it is easy to reply – they are tough, drought tolerant, require little watering and maintenance, they are local, they are attractive and versatile, they attract native insects and provide habitat and food for many of our native birds.

Aristida ramosa
Cane Spear Grass,  Purple Wire Grass M

aristida-ramosa-by-macleay-grass-man

Native, warm-season, perennial, tufted, long-lived grass to 1 m tall. Stems are wiry, often branched and have very little leaf. Found on low fertility soils (roadsides, native
pastures and open forests). Often associated with iron bark trees, spotted gum and shallow drier soils

 

Austrodanthonia caespitosa !!
Wallaby Grasses White Top Grass 30 to 80 cm
Drought tolerant and hardy in poor soil, frost tolerant. Fluffy seedheads when ripe. Seeds are food for finches and the rare turquoise parrot. Tussocks are nesting sites for other  birds and habitat for lizards. Fine leaves green all year. (ours survived years of mowing before we identified it)

wallaby-grass wallaby-grass

Austrostipa spp,
Spear Grasses !! tussocky grass to 1.5m . leaves are rough to touch. seeds ripen in summer. food source for moths, butterflies and seed eating birds. these are extremely attractive feature grasses. 

spear grass meadowspear-grass-dense

 

 

 

 

 

Bothriochloa macra
Red Grass
-forms a prostrate tuft with basal leaves and numerous wiry stems. The base of the stems and the leaves are often reddish or purplish. Red grass flowers in summer and autumn.
Red grass is drought tolerant. Its roots grow rapidly and roots have been found up to 1.5 metres below the soil surface. It is frost tolerant, however it appears to die back very quickly.Red grass can grow and persist under low fertility conditions  It responds positively to grazing and mowing.

red leg grass 2 red leg grass

 

Carex appressa  ‼ A L
Tall Sedge
Densely tufted plant to 80 by 60cm, attractive  large yellow seed heads are seen in spring reaching up to one metre high.. Hardy and frost tolerant down to -7c. Tolerates wet conditions and full sun. Will also tolerate some drying out .Useful poolside plant. Commonly used in trapping silt and impurities in streams and for stabilising creek banks.The flowers and seed spikes are appealing and suitable for floral arrangements. This hardy large tussock plant also looks very effective in containers or in mass plantings

carex-appressa

carex-appressa-by-john-tann

 

 

 

Chloris truncata M
Windmill Grass
The characteristic windmill shaped seedhead gives this grass its common name.The plants make rapid growth in early spring. They are prostrate with small fibrous leaves which are not readily grazed. Windmill grass is relatively short lived. It flowers from spring through to autumn.Windmill grass responds positively to both increasing soil fertility and grazing or mowing. It is moderately tolerant of drought but its frost tolerance is low.

windmill-grasswindmill-grass-truncata

 

Chloris ventricosa
Tall Windmill Grass
– a summer growing perennial which lives for several years. The plant is bunched in habit and produces green foliage for much of the year. The leaves are hairless and the grass produces horizontal stems (stolons) which may form roots at the nodules. Distinctive windmill shaped seedheads form at the end of tall stems from summer to autumn. The seedheads have 3-7 spikes that are 4-10 cm long. When low temperatures occur in winter, this grass commonly enters a dormant period, prefers heavier rather than sandier soils.
Low to moderate frost tolerance, excellent drought tolerance, high heat tolerance
– often used as a primary establishment grass to hold soils together whilst other more long-term grasses become established.- when used as the initial soil-binding grass, can be used with grasses such as Kangaroo grass and Redgrass.

tall-windmill-grasswindmill-grass-2

Dicanthium sericeum
Queensland Bluegrass
Grows principally in northern Australia. It is restricted to warmer grasslands and woodlands with predominantly summer rainfall, prefers warmer, drier sites.
– a leafy upright tufted perennial grass. The stems and leaves have a distinctive blue-green appearance. It flowers in summer and the seedheads are similar in appearance to Redgrass. Grows best on the clay soils of the Mitchell grass country, but it also grows on loams or rocky sites. Moderate frost tolerance, moderate drought tolerance.
A useful pasture grass. Because of its distinctive attractive appearance it can also be used for landscaping as specimen plants or for revegetation.

qld-bluegrass-by-harry-roseqld-bluegrass

Digitaria brownii
Woolly Finger, Cotton Grass, Cotton Panic Grass
occurs in all mainland States of Australia,
A long-lived perennial that often forms complete grass coverage by its slowly spreading habit. It is a warm season grass and has winter dormancy in inland locations. It spreads by short rhizomes and by seed, the seed being very light and feathery. It produces a large bulk of green fodder in the warmer months if rainfall occurs and is highly palatable, easily recognised when in flower as the spikelets are densely covered in long, silky and silvery hairs on slightly weeping seedheads. Most common on sandy loam soils and more fertile soils in the interior. It is also commonly found on the dry rocky slopes of the inland and on soils from sand through loam to clay.High drought tolerance, low frost tolerance
It can be used for a visual effect with the feathery seedheads a valuable feature, although it may become too bulky unless well managed as the plants can reach up to 1 metre high.

cotton-grass-2cotton-grass

Digitaria divaricatissima
Spreading Umbrella Grass, Spider Grass, Umbrella Grass
Erect tufted perennial to 0.8m, swollen and densely hairy at the base.
grows in woodland on better soils, widespread, flowers in summer.

umbrella-grass

umbrella-grass-seedhead

 

Elymus scaber
Common or Rough Wheat Grass
Native, warm-season, perennial, tufted, long-lived grass to 1 m tall. Grows on a wide range of soils.High frost tolerance, moderate drought tolerance, low salt tolerance – easier to establish than other native grass species. An attractive useful grass for both pasture and revegetation. Revegetation is one of the best uses because Wheat grass establishes rapidly and has high seedling vigour. It can be used successfully as a cover crop to accompany a slower growing grass such as Wallaby grass. Often associated with iron bark trees, spotted gum and shallow drier soils.

wheat-grass-2wheat-grass
Nineawn Grass, Niggerheads, Bottlewashers, Black-heads, Pappus Grass Enneapogon nigricans
Small, summer growing on dry, shallow soils. Distinctive lance-shaped seedheads appear in late spring and summer. They form at the top of wiry stalks over 30 cm long. They start as an olive green colour, but dry to a light brown. The seed itself is much like a parasol in appearance, and is around 5mm across. Germination is slow and unreliable and requires warm temperatures.Leaves are smooth and of a bright, light green. Plants like sunny positions and generally grow in sunny, open mallee forests. Plants form tall dense tussocks to a maximum of only 20 cm across.They die down in late summer, before reshooting when the rains return.

nine-awn-grass-2nine-awn-grass

Entreropogon acicularis Curly Windmill Grass, Spider Grass
Flowering: summer or in response to rain. Often grows on cracking clay soils, widespread
Tussocky, perennial grass, to 50 cm high and 30 cm diameter, with bluish-green, rough, flat leaves , characteristically curling when dry. Windmill-like flower-head consisting of 7 – 15 spikes, stiffly spreading from the tip of the stalk in several different planes, the spikes 5 – 18 cm long. Each spikelet has 2 – 3 narrow-lanceolate (spear-like), awned florets, the lower with an awn 9 – 15 mm long. Spikelets usually turn purplish at maturity

curly-windmill-grass_enteropogon-acicularis-plant-2curly-windmill-grass_enteropogon-acicularis-plant

Eragrostis brownii
Brown’s Lovegrass, Common Lovegrass M
Lovegrass belongs to the Poaceae family. These grasses are known for their delicate, wispy appearance. Can feature dozens of different shapes, sizes, and colors. The leaves and blades of these species are typically dark green to brown. Weeping varieties, which are green at the base and fade to white at the ends, fold over in a drooping, or weeping, position, creating a delicate pattern. A very easy-to-grow plant that requires little to no maintenance. Plants often self-propagating in many areas. Prefer full sunlight and slightly moist to dry soil or sandy loam for optimal growing conditions. Resistant to drought and can be left without water for lengthy periods of time.

browns-lovegrasslovegrass

Lomandra multiflora  ‼lomandra-multiflora
Many-flowered Mat-rushOpen to dense perennial tussock to 30cm with coarse leaves. Flowers prolifically after fire. Attractive to many native insects, moths and butterflies. Flowers from June to November or even to January. Male and female flowers are on seperate plants. Has brown fruits after flowering. Propagated from seed or cuttings taken from prostrate stems. Would make a good addition to rockery gardens. Will grow in full sun or part shade in a wide range of conditions.

 

Microlaena stipoides  !! microleana-stipoides
Weeping Grass, Meadow Rice Grass
Attractive low growing, likes shade, has carpet like (lawn) appearance. this grass grows well in dappled shade and suppresses weeds very effectively,  it is a tough and attractive alternative to introduced lawn grasses

Poa spp.!!  labillarderiTall Tussock -grasspoa-landscape
# Poa morisiiSoft Tussock -grass        M A
Poa sieberiana !!  Grey Tussock grassTussock forming, with narrow pale green to grey leaves to 80cm, plume like flowers on stems to 1m, very hardy, habitat for lizards and skinks

 

 

Themeda triandra !!
Kangaroo Grass
most widespread native grass in Australia. rusty coloured flower heads in late spring and summer. dormant during frost periods. seeds are important food for finches and parrots. plants provide habitat for lizards, frogs, insects and mammals. they recover from burn offs quickly. their height, toughness and attractive tussock form make them great additions to any garden. they are also useful for softening the appearance of hard edges

kangaroo-grass

kangaroo-grass-by-john-tann



The following list of additional grasses and low growing plants is taken from the plant lists provided in the DSE Revegetation Guide for Wodonga. You may be able to purchase seed from specialist growers and some will be available from nurseries.

A Wodonga – Riverine Floodplain -Plains- Creek Lines
B Wodonga – Floodplain – Gentle Slopes – Low Hills
C Wodonga -Steep Dry Slopes – Protected Gullies
L Large grass-like plant less than 1m
M Medium grass-like plant 10cm to 1m
T Tiny grass like plant under 10cm
MH Medium herb 5 to 20 cm
LH Large herb under 50cm

Alternanthera denticulata (MH) Lesser Joyweed B
Aristida behriana (M) Brush Wire-grass A
Arthropodium milleflorum (LH) Pale Vanilla-lily B
Arthropodium strictum (LH) Chocolate Lily A B
Asperula conferta (MH) Common Woodruff C
Austrodanthonia carphoides (M) Short Wallaby-grass A
Austrodanthonia eriantha (M) Hill Wallaby-grass A B
Austrodanthonia penicillata (M) Slender Wallaby-grass C
Austrodanthonia pilosa (M) Velvet Wallaby-grass C
Austrodanthonia racemosa (M) Stiped Wallaby-grass A C B
Austrodanthonia setacea (M) Bristly Wallaby-grass C
Austrostipa densiflora (M) Dense Spear-grass B
Austrostipa nodosa (L) Knotty Spear-grass A
Austrostipa scabra (M) Rough Spear-grass A
Bothriochloa macra (M) Red-leg Grass A B C
Bulbine bulbosa (MH) Bulbine Lily A B
Carex appressa (L) Tall Sedge A B
Carex gaudichaudiana (M) Fen Sedge A B
Carex tereticaulis (L) Poongwort A
Centipeda cunninghamii (MH) Common Sneezeweed A B
Centipeda elatinoides (MH) Elatine Sneezeweed A
Chloris truncata (M) Windmill Grass A B
Cyperus exaltatus (L) Tall Flat-sedge A B
Deyeuxia quadriseta (L) Reed Bent-grass B
Dianella revoluta (M) Black-anther Flax-lily C
Dianella tasmanica (M) Tasman Flax-lily C
Dichelachne rara (M) Common Plume-grass C
Dichondra repens (SH) Kidney-weed (SH) C
Echinopogon ovatus (M) Common Hedgehog-grass C
Eleocharis acuta (M) Common Spike-sedge A
Eleocharis sphacelata (L) Tall Spike-sedge A B
Elymus scaber (M) Common Wheat-grass A B
Eragrostis diandra (M) Close-headed Love-grass A
Eragrostis parviflora (L) Weeping Love-grass A
Eryngium ovinum (LH) Blue Devil A
Geranium potentilloides (MH) Cinquefoil Cranesbill C
Geranium retrorsum (MH) Grassland Cranesbill A
Goodenia pinnatifida (MH) Cut-leaf Goodenia A
Hemarthria uncinata (M) Mat Grass A B
Hypoxis vaginata var. vaginata (MH) Yellow Star A
Joycea pallida (L) Silvertop Wallaby-grass C
Juncus amabilis (M) Hollow Rush B
Juncus ingens (L) Giant Rush A
Juncus sarophorus (L) Broom Rush A
Juncus subsecundus (M) Finger Rush A B
Juncus usitatus (L) Billabong Rush A
Lachnagrostis filiformis (M) Common Blown-grass A B
Lepidosperma laterale (M) Variable Sword-sedge B
Lomandra filiformis (M) Wattle Mat-rush A C
Lomandra longifolia (L) Spiny-headed Mat-rush A B C
Lomandra longifolia exilis (L) Cluster-headed Mat-rush C
Ludwigia peploides (SH) Clove-strip A B
Luzula meridionalis (M) Common Woodrush C
Lythrum hyssopifolia (MH) Small Loosestrife A B
Microlaena stipoides (M) Weeping Grass A B C
Microseris sp. 3 (LH) Yam Daisy B
Ottelia ovalifolia (MH) Swamp Lily A
Persicaria hydropiper (LH) Water Pepper A
Persicaria hydropiper (LH) Water Pepper B
Persicaria prostrata (MH) Creeping Knotweed A
Phragmites australis (L) Common Reed A B
Poa ensiformis (M) Sword Tussock-grass C
Poa labillardierei (M) Common Tussock-grass A B
Poa morrisii (M) Soft Tussock-grass C
Poa sieberiana (M) Grey Tussock-grass A B C
Pseudoraphis spinescens (M) Spiny Mud-grass A B
Senecio quadridentatus (LH) Cotton Fireweed C
Senecio tenuiflorus (LH) Slender Fireweed A
Stellaria angustifolia (MH) Swamp Starwort A
strodanthonia pilosa (M) Velvet Wallaby-grass C
Stylidium graminifolium (M) Grass Triggerplant C
Stypandra glauca (LH) Nodding Blue-lily C
Themeda triandra (M) Kangaroo Grass A B C
Triglochin procera (L) Water Ribbons A
Veronica calycina (MH) Hairy Speedwell C
Viola hederacea (MH) Ivy-leaf Violet C

References

Native Grasses – An identification Handbook for Temperate Australia by Meredith Mitchell 3rd Edition

Native Plants list for Wodonga by Victorian DSE – available on line here

Photographers – nearly all the photos are by Tony Marsh, John Tann or Harry Rose – the Maclay Grass Man

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