HARE’S TAIL GRASS
(Photos: E. Cousins; plant and habitat, leaves with short hairs, feathery seed head. Fishery’s Beach)
You will often see this plant in dry, coastal areas, particularly in disturbed sites. Originally from northern Africa but now naturalized around much of SA, it has spread through many conservation areas. Look for a short-lived and short-statured grass, up to about 50cm tall. In the second photo, you can see the leaf sheath hugs the stem of the plant before the blades bend outward. The sheath parts are very hairy and occur on alternate sides up the stems; the leaf blades are flattish and have a finer hair covering. The really feathery seed-heads, containing many flower spikelets, are what you will spot first, though. These are whitish with an attractive elongated shape. Seed-heads are visible from September until well after the tiny flowers themselves have detached and blown away. Don’t confuse these with the native Echinopogon !