Texas Needle Grass

(Nassella leucotricha)

What is Texas needle grass?   

  • Texas needle grass is a tussock forming perennial grass, which is highly invasive and can form dense infestations, particularly on poorly managed sites. It prefers open grassland sites similar to those favoured by native grassland species.
  • Texas needle grass is unpalatable, and can severely reduce the carrying capacity of pastures.
  • Texas needle grass is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of Texas needle grass are prohibited in Tasmania.
  • Closely related to serrated tussock, and Chilean needle grass, both Weeds of National Significance (WoNS).
Texas Needle Grass Source

Photo by RG and FJ Richardson Australian Plant Image Index

How to identify Texas needle grass

  • Texas needle grass is a perennial tussock-forming grass in the spear grass group (Tribe Stipeae). It grows to about 1 – 1.5 m high. The weed thrives under conditions of moderate soil disturbance and poses a threat to agriculture and native vegetation.  
  • The leaves of Texas needle grass are mid to dark green leaves up to 5mm wide and a ligule to 3mm long.  Hairs along the leaf surface and a small tuft of hairs at the junction of the leaf blade and sheath are distinctive features. 
  • Texas needle grass produces 2 types of seeds, panicle (normal) and Cleistogene (stem and base).  Cleistogene seeds form at the base of the tussock enabling reproduction even if flowering has been prevented by grazing or slashing. 
  • Flowering time is from October to February.
Texas Needle Grass

Photo by RG and FJ Richardson Australian Plant Image Index​

Texas needle grass in Tasmania

The first infestation of Texas needle grass in Tasmania was discovered in a paddock near Rokeby, southern Tasmania in late 2010. Refer to Management of Texas needle grass by municipality Section 12) for information on the distribution of Texas needle grass by municipality.

What is the legal status of Texas needle grass in your area?


See also        

Statutory Management Plan for Texas needle grass

DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links

Pest Genie

Important Disclaimer

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.


Weed Enquiries
Biosecurity Tasmania
Phone: 03 6165 3777
Email: Weed.Enquiries@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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