Broad-leaved paspalum

Native to Brazil, broad-leafed paspalum is an unpalatable, introduced grass.

Broad-leaved paspalum tolerates dense shade and drought, produces a large number of seeds, has a high germination rate, and grows quickly, particularly after rainfall. Hardy and adaptable, it smothers less competitive grasses by spreading horizontally, and can out-compete native pasture grasses. Broad-leafed paspalum is now common in South East Queensland and is also found in north-east New South Wales.

Broad-leaved paspalum is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Paspalum mandiocanum

Other names

  • Broad leaf paspalum, broad-leafed paspalum, paspalum, Warral grass, Warrel grass

Similar species

  • Other large Paspalum species

Description

  • Grass with individual tussocks up to 1m wide.
  • Leaves are more than 10mm wide, with crinkled margin, upper section bright green, lower section usually maroon, burgundy or brown.
  • Flower stems can be over 1m tall with up to 10 flower/seed stalks growing alternately down stem.
  • Ripe seed heads hang at about 45° if stem is upright.
  • Seeds are fused to thin, dry, seed-capsule wall.

Habitat

  • Found in open pastures, along roadside verges, on bush margins, and in deeply shaded sections of forest.

Distribution

  • First discovered in cattle paddocks on Atherton Tableland in north Queensland in 2002.
  • Reported on horticultural properties around Bellthorpe and Booroobin in South East Queensland in 2004.
  • Reported growing on roadsides around Blackall Range region in South East Queensland from 2004.
  • Now common in parts of Brisbane and surrounding areas, Gold Coast hinterland and Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Life cycle

  • Reproduces from seeds produced in late summer.
  • Seed viability is high in first year and germination occurs readily.

Impacts

Environmental

  • Out-competes native grasses and herbs, and forms dense thickets, especially on disturbed forest margins.

Economic

  • Invades cattle and horse pastures by out-competing and replacing palatable native pasture species.

How it is spread

  • Spreads sideways when stems in contact with soil form roots.
  • Seeds mostly spread by water and farm machinery.

Control

Physical control

  • Hand-pull seedlings and smaller plants, then bag and compost or dispose of at your local waste facility.
  • Wear gloves, as leaves and seed heads can cause skin irritation.

Mechanical control

  • Tussocks tolerate mowing.

Herbicide control

  • Difficult to control effectively with herbicides.
  • Spray in spring when plants are actively growing.

See the broad-leafed paspalum fact sheet (PDF, 180KB) for further control advice.

Biological control

  • No known biological control agents.

Legal requirements

  • Broad-leaved paspalum is not a prohibited or restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014. However, by law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control.
  • Local governments must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in their area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

Further information