14 Jan Mexican Feather Grass
Initially mislabelled and sold as an ornamental in Australia under the names Elegant Spear Grass, Pony Tail and Angel’s Hair, Mexican Feather Grass needs to be prevented from naturalising in Australia.
Origin: South America
Habit: Drooping perennial tussock forming grass which grows in dense clumps. up to 0.8 m in height.
Leaves: Leaf blades to 0.5 mm wide, tightly rolled and with small serrations that can be felt when fingers are moved downward along the blade. Distinguished by hairless nodes, some usually visible; ligule membranous and hairless, to 2.5 mm long.
Flowers: Seedhead: Young seedheads held among the leaves; mature seedhead to 25 cm long; glumes purplish in the lower half to 1 cm long; callus bearded. Flowers summer.
Fruit: Lemma to 3 mm long, awn narrow, straight or obscurely twice bent, 4.5–9 cm long; attached centrally to the top of the lemma.
Roots: Fibrous clump.
Dispersal: Seed spread by water, animals, humans, contaminated soil (earthmoving equipment, slashers, mowers etc) and as an ornamental.
Control: Hand pull/dig, bag all seed heads. Foliar spray.
This grass is a weed in its native range. If it naturalises in Australia it potentially has a wider range than Serrated Tussock. Mexican Feather Grass escaped from cultivation in New Zealand and has become a weed that is continuing to spread.