Dense, arching tussocks with leaves to 30 cm long and 5 mm wide, flat and strongly ribbed on their upper surface, with leaf edges that are rough to touch. Flowering stems to 1 m high. Spikelets in loose clusters to 40 cm long are distinctively purplish when young.
The sharp-pointed seeds easily attach to the coats of animals, clothing and machinery, aiding its spread.
Perennial. Poor soils. Hardy species that survives fire, drought and frost. Stock avoid eating it, reducing farm productivity by as much as 50% during summer. It can produce thousands of seeds per square metre, which stay viable in the soil for many years.
Tracheophyta (Vascular Plants)
Magnoliopsida (Flowering Plants)
Source: Atlas of Living Australia
Chilean needle grass is a declared noxious weed throughout Vic. It is also a declared weed of National Significance. It is threatening endangered native grasslands as well as productive pastures throughout significant regions of south-eastern Australia.
This weed can look very similar to native speargrasses Austrostipa spp. To distinguish, compare the seeds. Chilean needle-grass seeds have a raised crown (corona), a ridge of small teeth circling the awn (bristle), located at the junction of the seed and the awn. Austrostipa seeds do not have this feature.