Weed Identification

Australia > > Chilean Needlegrass

Chilean Needlegrass

Nassella neesiana


Family: Poaceae.

Form: Grass

Origin: Native to Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil.

Flowers/Seedhead: Seedhead: Grows to 40 cm long; lemma (excluding corona) to 1 cm long, hard point at base of lemma with hairs; awns twice bent, 49 cm long. Flowers spring and summer.

Description: Tufted perennial to 1 m high. Leaves to 5 mm wide with ligule to 3 mm long.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by nodes covered with short soft hairs; purplish glumes to 25 mm long; cylindrical crown (corona) around the base of the awn is less than 1.5 mm long and lacks long hairs.

Dispersal: Spread by seeds that are produced in the seedheads as well as beneath leaf-sheaths above the nodes of flowering shoots and at the stem base. Stem seeds enable the plant to reproduce even if flowering is prevented.

Growing on roadside, Rutherglen, Vic

Notes: Germination mainly occurs in autumn and spring. Palatable and considered to be a reasonable feed in winter but a poor feed when flowering and seeding. Causes vegetable fault in wool. First recorded in Australia in 1934. Increasing numbers of infestations are being reported on roadsides and along drainage lines in native and improved pastures in NSW and Vic. Now a major agricultural and environmental weed in Vic and NSW. This species is also a weed in Europe, North and South America and New Zealand.


    Plant Protection Quarterly. N. Walsh, 1998, Vol. 13, pages 5962. Plant Protection Quarterly. D. McLaren et al., 1998, Vol. 13, pages 6270

Head emerging & ligule,

Seeds showing corona and hairy lemma
illustration: E. Mayfield

Hairy node &
drooping heads
Nemingha, NSW
photo J.R. Hosking

This weed has been included in the WEEDeck field guide as card G12

More information about WEEDeck is available from Sainty & Associates Pty. Ltd.


Australia > > Chilean Needlegrass


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