Plant of the month: April

KNOTTY-BUTT PASPALIDUM

(Setaria constricta)

(Photo: E. Cousins, Cape Jervis; habit, stem)

This summer grass was pointed out to us by Corey Jackson (Yankalilla Council/NRM) on our site at Cape Jervis. Why knotty-butt? Well, the rootstock of the grass apparently looks knotted! Why ‘constricta’? Read on! Classified as ‘near threatened’, this grass seems to be doing well this year with the extra rain and cooler temperatures. It grows as a tussock pretty low to the ground at about 20-30cm in height, with a width roughly the same. The grass blades are just 2-3mm wide. The stem bearing the seeds (the ‘inflorescence’) is only about as high as the plant, but much branched. The seeds themselves have no bristles, are about 2-3mm long and with a constriction about ¼ of the way up from the base… so take your magnifier along if you go looking for this one! Possibly a good plant for finches, wrens, and other grass-seed eating birds. Let us know if you see any birds eating the seeds!