Lobed Needle Grass


(Nassella charruana)

Lobed Needle Grass McLaren Plant

Photo by D McLaren Australian Plant Image Index

What is lobed needle grass?    

  • Lobed needle grass is a serious weed of open woodlands and introduced and native grasslands including grasslands dominated by other Nassella species.  
  • Lobed needle grass is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of lobed needle grass are prohibited in Tasmania.
  • Lobed needle grass is on the National Alert List for Environmental Weeds, a list of 28 non native plants that threaten biodiversity and cause other environmental damage. 
  • Closely related to serrated tussock, and Chilean needle grass, both Weeds of National Significance (WoNS).

Lobed Needle Grass 

Photo by D McLaren Australian Plant Image Index

How to identify lobed needle grass

  • Lobed needle grass is a perennial tussock that can grow up to 100 cm high.
  • Stems and leaves are tightly rolled and very smooth to touch. The bright green leaves feel like nylon cord when sliding fingers down the length of the leaf blade.
  • Seeds are around 6-8 cm long with two white lobes that look like wings surrounding the seed. The seed heads lean to one side and appear to shimmer in the afternoon sun.
  • It grows mainly in open areas, in direct sunlight or light shade, and on clay soils. It is tolerant to waterlogging and appears to prefer wet depressions. 
  • Lobed needle grass is an extremely invasive weed due to its competitiveness, un-palatability and very sharp and clinging seeds.  

See the Nassella species identification comparison table below for more information on identification

Lobed needle grass in Tasmania

  • Lobed needle grass is not naturalised in Tasmania at present. 

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

  • The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with lobed needle grass are laid out in the lobed needle grass Statutory Weed Management Plan

What you need to do?

If you locate Lobed needle grass anywhere in Tasmania, or if you find a plant that you think could be Lobed needle grass, immediately contact your Regional Weed Management Officer on 1300 369 688 to report this weed

See also   

Statutory Management Plan for Lobed Needle Grass

Weed Links and Resources


Other useful links

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.

Nassella species identification comparison table

  Lobed Needle Grass Cane Needle Grass Texas Needle Grass Chilean Needle Grass Serrated Tussock
StatusIntroduced, Declared, an Alert List WeedIntroduced, Declared, an Alert List WeedIntroduced, Declared, an Alert List WeedIntroduced, Declared, Weed of National SignificanceIntroduced, Declared, Weed of National Significance


(outer casing of seed, the 'glume', removed to reveal detail.) (Click to enlarge image*)


'Corona', the collar at seed basePresentPresentPresentPresentAbsent
'Awn', the bristle-like seed tail


double bent

firmly fixed to seed coat


Twisted and bent

35-60mm long

Bent twice with 10-20mm to first bend


Straight or double bent

Firmly fixed seed coat



Readily detached from seed coat

'Cleistogenes', or stem seedsAbsentPresentPresentPresent Absent
'Ligule', the flap at leaf base
(Click to enlarge image*.)

Overall dimensions

0.5-1.0m high and

0.3 -0.5m across

to 1m high,

to 0.3m across

1-1.5m high,

0.2 -0.5m across

1-1.5m high,

0.3 -0.6m across

to 1m high,

to 0.6m acros

​* Images in table:
© 2003 Weed Management Guides, Lobed needle grass, Chilean needle grassSerrated tussock, C'wlth Dept of the Env't & Heritage.
© Chilean Needle Grass & Serrated Tussock Ligule photos: Harry Rose (Wikimedia)

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