Image: Texas needle grass, © RG & FJ Richardson, Australian Plant Image Index.
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).
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.
See the Nassella species identification comparison table below for more information on identification.
Image: Texas needle grass seed head, © RG & FJ Richardson, Australian Plant Image Index.
Texas needle grass in Tasmania
What is the legal status of Texas needle grass in your area?
What you need to do?
Texas Needle Grass Statutory Weed Management Plan
Weed Links and Resources
Other useful links
Nassella species identification comparison table
Status||Introduced Declared; an Alert List Weed ||Introduced; Declared;
an Alert List Weed.
an Alert List Weed.
Weed of National Significance.
Weed of National Significance
Form||Tussock ||Tussock ||Tussock||Tussock||Tussock|
(outer casing of seed, the 'glume', removed to reveal detail.)
|"Corona", the collar at seed base||Present||Present||Present||Present||Absent|
|'Awn", the bristle like seed tail|
firmly fixed to seed coat
Twisted and bent
Bent twice with 10-20mm to first bend
|25-35mm Straight or double bent.
Firmly fixed seed coat
Readily detached from seed coat
|'Cleistogenes', or stem seeds||Absent||Present ||Present||Present||Absent|
|'Ligule', the flap at leaf base||
Overall dimensions||0.5-1.0m high|
0.3 -0.5m across
|to 1m high|
0.2 -0.5m across
0.3 -0.6m across
* Images in table:
© 2003 Weed Management Guides, Lobed needle grass, Chilean needle grass, Serrated tussock, C'wlth Dept of the Env't & Heritage.
© Chilean Needle Grass & Serrated Tussock Ligule photos: Harry Rose (Wikimedia).