An introduced herb with a taproot. Leaves to 20 cm in a basal rosette. An ovoid to cylindrical dense spike of flowers to 12 cm long is produced on an unbranched stem to 50 cm high.
The flowerstalk is grooved with distinct longitudinal ridges. The long dark green leaves have three to seven conspicuous sunken veins forming ribs.
Annual or perennial. Widespread and abundant weed in a range of disturbed habitats and native ecosystems. Found in gardens, pasture and other disturbed sites. Can resprout after fire. Tolerates grazing.
Flowers throughout the year but mainly Sep-Apr
Tracheophyta (Vascular Plants)
Magnoliopsida (Flowering Plants)
Source: Atlas of Living Australia
This species is highly variable. It was known in Central Australia and North American as Ã’white manÃ•s footprintsÃ“ as it followed the paths of early settlers.
Ribgrass P. lanceolata is similar to P. varia but has long dark green leaves with 3-7 conspicuous sunken veins forming ribs, and it has a grooved flowerstem, usually with a few week teeth along the leaf margin.