Weed of the Month (March): Texas Needle Grass and Chilean Needle Grass
Texas needle grass (Nassella leucotricha) and Chilean needle grass (Nassella neesiana) are considered some of Australia’s worst weeds – vigorous, hard to control grasses named for their prolific, needle-like seeds that are well-adapted for burrowing into skin. Difficult to control, they overtake native species in natural areas and cause extensive damage to livestock when they invade pastures.
What to look for:
Grasses can be tricky to identify, and weedy needle grasses look like native spear grasses, but they can be identified by the following:
- Flowering seed heads are a distinctive purplish colour
- The presence of a skirt-like ‘corona’ on the seed (circled).
- Additional seeds produced within the stem, and/or in the base of the plant.
While these needle grasses have not yet been found in the Huon Valley, they occur on roadsides, pastures, and in urban areas as close as Hobart. Prevention is key to protecting the valley from the impact of these weeds; Council’s NRM Unit conducts annual surveying of areas considered high-risk for needle grass invasion but reports from the public can be key to controlling new infestations before they can establish.
Any suspected weedy needle grasses should be reported to Council – please send a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (03) 6264 0300.
Previous Weed of the Month posts.
Find out more about weeds in the Huon Valley.