Chillean Needle Grass
What is Chilean needle grass?(Nassella neesiana)
- Chilean needle grass is a perennial grass native to South America. It is a serious weed of pastures and native grasslands.
- Chilean needle grass is a
declared weed under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of Chilean needle grass are prohibited in Tasmania.
- Chilean needle grass is also a Weed of National Significance (WONS).
How to identify Chilean needle grass
needle grass is a perennial (long-lived) tussock-forming grass growing
to 1 metre in height. The leaves are 1 to 5 mm wide, flat and strongly
ribbed on their upper surface, with leaf edges that are rough to touch.
flowering seed heads are a distinctive purplish colour and the seeds
are very sharp at the point. Chilean needle grass flowers mainly from
September to December but can flower year round. Seed is formed about
one month after flowering and most seed has been dropped by February.
Seeds mainly germinate in autumn and spring.
- Spread is by seed.
In addition to the normal flower (panicle) seeds, Chilean needle grass
produces hidden seeds which are formed in the nodes and bases of the
flowering stems. These 'stem seeds' are self-fertilised and account for
about one-quarter of total seed production. They enable the plant to
survive despite grazing, slashing and fire.
- Chilean needle
grass seeds can persist in the soil for many years even if further seed
input is prevented. The seeds are spread by farm machinery, clothing or
livestock, by road-side mowing and earthmoving equipment, and by
Image top right: Chilean needle grass potted plants, photo: Christian Goninon
Image above: Chilean needle grass, copyright: Kate Blood, CRC Weeds
Chilean needle grass in Tasmania
Chilean needle grass populations are limited to the urban areas of
Hobart, particularly the Eastern Shore, where it is found along roadside
reserves and nature strips (see map). These infestations are currently under an eradication program.
needle grass is a vigorous competitor and poses a significant threat to
native grasslands and agricultural enterprises in Tasmania. It can
reduce pasture productivity, contaminate crops and hay, and seeds can
injure livestock, in particular sheep.
This species is a very high priority for eradication in Tasmania.
If you locate Chilean needle grass anywhere in Tasmania, or if you find
a plant that you think could be Chilean needle grass, immediately
contact a Regional Weed Management Officer on 1300 368 550.
What is the legal status of Chilean needle grass in your area?Detailed management and control guidelines for Chilean needle grass can be found in the
Chilean Needle Grass Control Guide. Refer also to
Herbicides for Chilean Needle Grass Control. For further information see
DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources.
To the extent
permitted by law, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks,
Water and Environment (including its employees and consultants)
excludes all liability to any person for any consequences, including but
not limited to all losses, damages, costs, expenses and any other
compensation, arising directly or indirectly from using information or
material (in part or in whole) contained on this website.