Nature Quries Answered | Grasses weave a twisted tale

Can you tell us what grass this is, growing at Bamganie, not far from the Leigh River? M.C., Meredith.

TANGLED WEB: The twisted leaves indicate a native spear grass species.

TANGLED WEB: The twisted leaves indicate a native spear grass species.

The twisted remains of the leaves indicate this is one of the spear-grasses, probably the fibrous spear-grass (Austrostipa semibarbata), one of several native spear-grasses.

It grows to about one metre tall and in early summer produces a rather decorative, dense 20-centimetre seed-head. The sharp-pointed seeds give the group the name of spear-grasses and the leaves twist and tangle at the end of their growing season.

While many of the exotic grasses – cocksfoot, phalaris, fog grass - are now growing rapidly, many of the natives - spear-grasses, wallaby-grasses, tussock-grasses - are just starting to put out their new leaf growth. Kangaroo grass is a summer-growing grass.

  • Questions and photos are welcome. Send to Roger Thomas at The Courier, PO Box 21, Ballarat, 3353, or email to rthomas@vic.australis.com.au