African Feather Grass

Also known as:
Veld Grass
South Africa

General description

Robust, clump-forming perennial grass <2m high. Yellow to purplish narrow, cylindrical flower spike (Nov-Apr), bristly seeds. It has fibrous stout creeping rhizomes <2m long.

Pastures, roadsides. Prefers damp situations eg swamps, stream banks. Can establish on dry, sandy banks, dunes. Established plants drought resistant.

Seeds cling to clothing, wool & hair of animals, also spread by water. Local wind dispersal. Broken rhizomes form new colonies.

Prolific seeder with vigorous creeping root system. Major weed of roadsides, dunelands. Fine hairs on stems break off when touched, cause skin irritations.

Site management

Unpalatable to livestock, do not graze. Do not treat when seed mature as increases contamination risk. Fire hazard after spraying. Follow-up spray at least 6 monthly until regrowth ceases. Do not replant with monocots for 2 years after initial spray. Where possible replant with dicot groundcover spp. to allow follow-up haloxyfop spraying.

Recommended approaches

1. Report it immediately to the Auckland Council Biosecurity team, who will arrange for its control at their expense.
2. Grub out, deep bury isolated plants.
3. Slash tall stands, spray regrowth. Spray dense sites (initial rate 150ml glyphosate + 20ml penetrant/10L, for mature plants increase to 200ml glyphosate or use 150ml haloxyfop/10L), spring-autumn only. Follow up, spray scattered plants (haloxyfop 150ml/10L).

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

African fountain grass
Pennisetum setaceum

African fountain grass is a smaller plant with smaller flowerheads.

RPMS status

Total Control - Whole Region
National Pest Plant Accord species - nationwide
African feather grass - Main species image