What is pampas?

Pampas flowering plant, image: Karen Stewart, DPIPWEGeneric Weed Distribution Map
  • Pampas is an aggressive environmental weed.
  • There are three species of pampas in Tasmania: Cortaderia selloana, common pampas grass, C. jubata, pink pampas, and C. richardii, toe toe. Their features are similar so for practical purposes they are treated as one weed. All are large, vigorous, dense, tussocky perennials.
  • Pampas is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of pampas are prohibited in Tasmania.

How to identify pampas

  • Pampas grasses are large, tussock-forming grasses; tussocks can be a metre or more in diameter and over 2 metres high.
  • Pampas leaves grow up to 2 m long, are thin and tapered to a fine tip. The large and showy, plume-like flower heads can reach 4 metres in height and vary in colour from white-yellow-pink. Pampas flowers and sets seed in autumn.
  • For help in identifying pampas, search the Dennis Morris Weeds and Endemic Flora Database for pampas illustrations. If you are still in doubt about the weed you are dealing with, contact your Regional Weed Management Officer on 1300 368 550 for help.
New Zealand Toe toe (Cortaderia richardii), image: Karen Stewart, DPIPWEPampas flowering plants, image: Tim Rudman, DPIPWEPampas close-up of male flower
Image top: Pampas flowering plant, image: Karen Stewart, DPIPWE
Images above, left to right: Cortaderia richardii flowering plant, image: Karen Stewart, DPIPWE; Flowering plants, image: Tim Rudman, DPIPWE; Close-up of male flower.

Pampas in Tasmania

  • Pampas is widespread in Tasmania (see map), occurring in coastal and bushland vegetation, silvicultural operations, quarries, neglected areas, road and rail corridors, and creek and swamp verges. Pampas is also found in gardens and as wind-break plantings.
  • Pampas can rapidly colonise disturbed or burnt areas in a range of vegetation types from coastal scrub to closed wet forest, where it readily out-competes native vegetation. Pampas is problematic for the forestry industry, and can impede access along roads, walking tracks and coastal recreation areas.
    Pampas is also highly flammable and poses a significant fire hazard.

What is the legal status of pampas in your area?

Detailed management and control guidelines for pampas can be found in the Pampas Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Pampas Control. For further information see DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources.

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