Weed of the Month – August 2015


(Piptatherum miliaceum)


(Photos: E. Cousins, plant, seed head; http://ausgrass2.myspecies.info/content/piptatherum-miliaceum)

This perennial grass can be recognized by its long, wiry stems. These stems can be up to 1.5 metres tall, and are segmented, looking very much like bamboo! Whereas the leaf-sheaf is smooth, the leaf-blade surface is ‘scaberous’ (rough, as if it is covered with scabs). The plant occurs as a loosely tufted clump. As can be seen from the second photo, the seed stem has several spirals of branches; branches in turn divide into secondary branches which bear clusters of the grass flowers. Green/purple flowers then seeds appear over summer and autumn. Originally from Eurasia, this grass is now fairly widely distributed over the bottom half of Australia. It likes disturbed sites, and has frequently spread from plantings used to stabilise mine dumps, etc.