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Serrated tussock


Have you seen Serrated tussock?

Be on the lookout for Serrated tussock and report it to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection and reporting are the key elements in controlling Serrated tussock.

Call us on 13 25 23.

Native to South America, serrated tussock grass invades pasture and open woodlands and reduces land productivity. In Australia, it is found mainly on the tablelands of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, and in several locations in Victoria and Tasmania. It is one of the worst weeds in New South Wales.

Serrated tussock grass has not yet been found in Queensland.

Serrated tussock is a prohibited invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Nassella trichotoma

Other names

  • Nassella tussock

Similar species


  • Tussocky grass to 30cm tall.
  • Leaves are thin, tightly rolled, pale, yellow-green, hairless, with very fine serrations.
  • Leaf bases are white, swollen.
  • Ligule (small flap about 1mm long that protrudes where leaf separates from stem) is white, hairless.
  • Flower heads have purple tinge when young, turn golden as seeds ripen, weep and break off at maturity.


  • Mostly confined to cooler temperate areas of Australia.
  • Grows in all soil types but rarely found on swampy land.
  • Found in pastures, grassland, disturbed areas and along roadsides.


  • Not yet recorded in Queensland.
  • Distribution appears limited by hot summers.

Life cycle

  • Long-lived perennial plant.
  • Seeds may live in soil for more than 10 years but most die rapidly.
  • Germinates mainly in autumn, but may germinate at any time of year.
  • Seedlings are weak and slow-growing.
  • May be several years old before flowering.
  • Seed sets in summer.
  • Plant grows little in winter.



  • Reduces biodiversity.


  • Invades pastures and open woodlands.
  • Reduces land productivity.

How it is spread

  • Spread mainly by seeds adhering to animals and to clothing/socks.
  • Also spread by machinery, especially slashers.


Physical control

  • Difficult to pull from ground, even when small.
  • Treat individual plants and small infestations before they spread.
  • Out-compete seedlings by growing dense vegetation to smother young plants.

Herbicide control

  • Apply appropriate registered herbicides.

Biological control

  • No known biological control agents.

Legal requirements

  • Serrated tussock is a prohibited invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit.
  • The Act requires that all sightings to be reported to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.
  • By law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risk of Serrated tussock spreading until they receive advice from an authorised officer.

Further information