Mexican feather grass

Alert

Have you seen Mexican feather grass?

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

Call us on 13 25 23.

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.

Biosecurity Queensland encourages people report this Class 1 pest plant and take actions to help stop the establishment, prevent the spread, and to control this pest.

Biosecurity Queensland has implemented an emergency eradication response to trace and retrieve plants with the objective of eradication.

Mexican feather grass is a restricted invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Nassella tenuissima

Other names

Texas tussock, white tussock, ponytail grass, tussock grass

Description

  • Densely tufted perennial tussock grass up to 70cm tall.
  • 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 tall.
  • Similar to several species of Stipa grass.

Habitat

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

Distribution in Queensland

  • First detected in 2008 in Bulimba, Brisbane, and removed.

Life cycle

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

Impacts

Environmental

  • Causes severe environmental damage to native grasslands.

Economic

  • Invades productive pastures.

How it is spread

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

Control

  • Call 13 25 23 if you find a plant you suspect may be Mexican feather grass to seek advice on control options.

Legal requirements

  • Mexican feather grass is a restricted 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 everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals 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 and animals in its 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.

More information