Category:Native Grasses

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Native grasses are an important and integral component of many vegetation communities; therefore they have an important role to play in rehabilitation and revegetation programs. Grasses have fibrous root systems and they can hold soil together and reduce erosion. Certain grass species can be used to prevent soil erosion on unstable surfaces such as beach sands (Thuarea involuta) and riparian areas (Arundinella nepalensis).

Australian grasses provide food and shelter for many Australian birds and animals. The seeds of many native grasses are important components in the diet of several granivorous parrots and finches (Alloteropsis semialata, Chrysopogon fallax, Eragrostis species, Heteropogon triticeus, Sarga plumosum, Setaria surgens), and the bulbous bases of some grasses are a food source for a number of native animals (Alloteropsis semialata, Chrysopogon fallax). The leaves of many species of grasses are used for nest and burrow linings for many Australian birds, animals and reptiles; also some grass species (Sarga plumosum, Themeda triandra) are the main component in the diet of many Australian herbivores.

In Australia there are over 1300 species of grass including non-native grasses. In the Townsville region there are more than 220 grass species, 160 of these are native. Twelve species have been selected for inclusion in the report Native Grasses for Revegetation in the Townsville region. The choice of these species was based on a number of factors:

  • annuals to long-lived perennials
  • variable heights
  • variable environmental requirements
  • availability of seeds
  • germination knowledge
  • availability of seedlings

Planning is one of the most important aspects of any revegetation effort and the decision whether or not to use Australian native grasses is an integral part of this process. Most grasses grow best in full sun or partial shade and revegetation sites need to be prepared to give the new grasses the best possible chance of survival.

Although Australian native grass species are considered as being low input and low maintenance, this should not be confused with “zero” management. In many revegetation sites there may be a number of introduced or weed grasses which superficially look similar to native species, particularly seedlings. This is especially relevant in riparian areas where higher nutrient and moisture levels mean there are probably dense stands of non-native grasses. For this reason, getting to know the grass species on the site is very important.

Most Australian native grasses do not have the ability to compete with robust, non-native grasses e.g. Guinea Grass (Megathyrsus maximus), therefore it is best for the site to be free of these weedy species, or the site must be regularly maintained.

Selection of appropriate native grasses for a particular site will depend on the proposed use of the area e.g. erosion control. Some grass species can grow in a wide range of habitats and on a wide range of soil types.

Suggested Native Grass Species for the Dry Tropics region

Suggested native grass species for some habitats are listed below.

Riparian grasses

  • Arundinella nepalensis
  • Enneapogon robustissimus
  • Eragrostis elongata
  • Sarga plumosum
  • Setaria surgens

Open woodland grasses

  • Alloteropsis semialata
  • Chrysopogon fallax
  • Cymbopogon bombycinus
  • Eragrostis elongata
  • Heteropogon triticeus
  • Sarga plumosum
  • Themeda triandra

Wetland grasses

  • Eragrostis elongata
  • Ischaemum australe
  • Sarga plumosum

Beach grasses

  • Eragrostis elongata
  • Setaria surgens
  • Thuarea involuta

Places to obtain local native grasses in Townsville

Greening Australia Dry Tropics Nursery
1 Desailly Street, Gulliver
@ Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE,
Horticulture Unit, Pimlico Campus
Ph: (07) 4796 0411
Fax: (07) 4725 7922

Bush Garden Nursery,
End of Thompson Street, Mundingburra
Behind the Townsville Community Learning Centre grounds
Phone Conservation Volunteers Australia: (07) 4721 4077
Phone Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare Group Incorporated: (07) 4721 4322

Native grass Page 01.jpg
Download Native Grasses for Revegetation in the Townsville region (1.05Mb PDF)

This is a legacy website. Content is not being updated but is kept as an archive.
Updated NRM information is now held in the NQ Dry Tropics NRM Information Portal at
while corporate information about NQ Dry Tropics is held on our main website at
NQ Dry Tropics Website

Pages in category "Native Grasses"

The following 2 pages are in this category, out of 2 total.

Media in category "Native Grasses"

The following 12 files are in this category, out of 12 total.