Mexican feather grass


Be on the lookout for Mexican feather grass.

Report sightings

Native to North America and South America, Mexican feather grass is a densely tufted perennial tussock grass. As a low-protein, high-fibre grass, it has no grazing value. Pure stands of Mexican feather grass render a paddock worthless.

In 2008, Mexican feather grass was mislabelled and sold through Queensland nursery and landscape outlets as Stipa capriccio. Landscapers have planted the grass in gardens and other areas as part of landscaping projects.

Mexican feather grass is a restricted category 2, 3, 4 and 5 invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Nassella tenuissima

Other names

  • Texas tussock, white tussock, ponytail grass, tussock grass


  • Densely tufted perennial tussock grass up to 70cm high.
  • Seed heads are pale, 15–25cm long, lower glume is 9–10mm long.
  • Leaves are thread-like, 0.25–0.5mm in diameter, about 60cm long.
  • Flowers have single, bisexual floret per spikelet, surrounded by 2 persistent bracts or glumes.
  • Stems are up to 70cm high.
  • Similar to several species of Stipa grass.


  • Prefers dry, temperate climate.
  • Grows naturally in open woodlands and grasslands in North and South America.


  • First detected in 2008 in Bulimba, Brisbane.

Life cycle

  • Flowering occurs from August to February.
  • Reproduces from seeds.
  • Seeds can remain viable for up to 4 years.



  • Causes severe environmental damage to native grasslands.


  • Invades productive pastures.

How it is spread

  • Seeds spread by flooding, vehicles and machinery, and on clothing, livestock and fur of pets.


Legal requirements

  • Mexican feather grass is a restricted category 2, 3, 4 and 5 invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold or released into the environment.
  • The Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical measures to minimise the biosecurity risks associated with invasive plants under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).
  • At a local level, each local government must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants in its area. This plan may include actions to be taken on Mexican feather grass. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

Further information