Ehrharta calycina Sm. Perennial Veldt Grass
Pl.Icon.Ined. Tab 33 (1790)

Conservation Code: Not threatened
Naturalised Status: Alien to Western Australia
Name Status: Current

Brief Description
Grazyna Paczkowska, Monday 8 November 1993

Caespitose perennial, grass-like or herb, 0.3-0.7 m high. Fl. green/purple/red, Mar to Apr or Aug to Sep. White, grey or yellow sand, loam.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)
Kate Brown and Karen Bettink, Monday 18 July 2016

Alternative Names. Common Ehrharta, veldtgrass.

General Biology. Growth form. Grass. Life form. Perennial, caespitose/shortly rhizomatous. Reproduction. Seed, short rhizome. Dispersal. Water, wind, birds, mammals, slashing. Photosynthetic Pathway. C3. Time to first flowering. 1 year. Seedbank persistence. Short, days-5 years. Fire response. Resprouts, enhances seed production and germination. Intense fires can reduce the seedbank, as seed largely accumulates in the top of the soil profile where it is susceptible to high temperatures.

Notes. Commonly invades disturbed ecosystems. Also capable of invading undisturbed ecosystems, including heathland, woodland and forest. It represents a major threat to the conservation values of Banksia woodlands on sandy soils north and south of Perth. Frequent disturbance (especially fire) and higher nutrient levels favour invasion. Has high growth rates. Resistant to drought and frost. Does not tolerate waterlogging, anaerobic conditions or high salinity levels. Established plants resprout vigorously from the base of the tussock following drought stress. Sets prolific seed resulting in high soil seed bank densities. Seed germinates under a wide range of temperature and light conditions. Seed germinates rapidly compared to native species, leading to early dominance. Capable of altering nutrient cycles. Thought to have acid-secreting root hairs which increase the availablity of nutrients. Possibly can change soil physical and hydrologic properties over time, including increasing water repellance.

Additional information. Origin. Southern Africa. History of use/introduction. Introduced as a forage crop, cultivated in Australia and California as a drought-resistant pasture, also used for erosion control.

Suggested method of management and control. For small infestations, cut out plants ensuring crown removal. Do not slash. Alternatively spray with Fusilade® Forte 13 ml/L or 6.5 L/ha + wetting agent on actively growing and unstressed plants. For generic fluazifop-p (212g/L active ingredient) 8ml/L or 4L/ha +wetting agent. Follow-up in subsequent years. Use unplanned fires to spray regrowth and seedlings within 4-6 weeks of germination. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar TypeJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecComments
Active GrowthOOOOO YYYYYO 
Germination     YYYY    
Flowering       YYY   
Fruiting         YY  
Herbicide Treatment     YYYO    
Manual RemovalYY        YY 

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.

 

References

  • Brown, K. & Brooks, K. (2002) Bushland Weeds: A Practical Guide to their Management. Environmental Weeds Action Network, Greenwood.
  • Department of Primary Industries (2009) Invasiveness assessment - Perennial Veldt Grass (Ehrharta calycina) in Victoria. State of Victoria URL: http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/vro/vrosite.nsf/pages/invasive_perennial_veldt_grass - Accessed November 2009.
  • Dixon, B. (1998) Best management practices for the control of Perennial Veldgrass Ehrharta calycina. In Managing our bushland. Proceedings of a conference about the management and protection of urban bushland. (eds. K. Tullis & K. Mclean). Urban Bushland Council WA (Inc.), Perth.
  • Dixon, B. & Keighery, G. (1995) Weeds and their control. In Managing Perths bushlands (eds. M. Scheltema and J. Harris). Greening Western Australia, Perth.
  • Fisher, J.L., Loneragan, W.A., Dixon, K. & Veneklaas, E.J. (2009) Soil seed bank compositional change constrains biodiversity in an invaded species-rich woodland. Biological Conservation, 142: 256-269.
  • Fisher, J.L., Loneragan, W.A., Dixon, K., Delaney, J. & Veneklaas, E.J. (2009) Altered vegetation structure and composition linked to fire frequency and plant invasion in a biodiverse woodland. Biological Conservation, 142: 2270-2281.
  • Fisher, J.L., Veneklaas, E.J., Lambers, H. & Loneragan, W.A. (2006) Enhanced soil and leaf nutrient status of a Western Australian Banksia woodland community invaded by Ehrharta calycina and Pelargonium capitatum. Plant and Soil, 284 (1-2): 253-264.
  • Hoare, D.B. (Undated) Ehrharta calycina J.E. Sm. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations URL: http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/agpc/doc/gbase/Safricadata/ehrcal.htm - Accessed November 2009.
  • Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. & Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. 2nd Edition. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park.
  • Masin, R., Zuin, M.C., Otto, S. & Zanin, G. (2006) Seed longevity and dormancy of four summer annual grass weeds in turf. Weed Research, 46: 362-370.
  • Milberg, P. & Lamont, B.B. (1995) Fire enhances weed invasion of roadside vegetation in southwestern Australia. Biological Conservation, 73 (1): 45-49.
  • Moore, G., Sanford, P. & Wiley, T. (eds.) (2006) Perennial pastures for Western Australia. Bulletin 4690. Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia.
  • Muyt, A. (2001) Bush invaders of South-East Australia: A guide to the identification and control of environmental weeds found in South-East Australia. R.G. & F.J. Richardson, Melbourne.
  • Quintana-Jones, T.A., Stamm, S., Moody, L., Faulhaber, S. & Stubler, C. (2008) Soil and fungal relationships of Perennial Veldt Grass (Ehrharta calycina). In Proceedings of the 2008 Joint General Meeting, International Year of Planet Earth. Tuesday, 7 October 2008. George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston. URL: http://acs.confex.com/crops/2008am/webprogram/Paper40927.html - Accessed November 2009.
  • Rokich, D.P., Harma, J., Turner, S.R., Sadler, R.J. & Tan, B.H. (2009) Fluazifop-p-butyl herbicide: Implications for germination, emergence and growth of Australian plant species. Biological Conservation, 142: 850-869.
  • Smith, M.A., Bell, D.T. & Loneragan, W.A. (1999) Comparative seed germination ecology of Austrostipa compressa and Ehrharta calycina (Poaceae) in a Western Australian Banksia woodland. Australian Journal of Ecology, 24 (1): 35-42.
  • Taylor, R. (2004) Coastal chameleons: good or bad grasses. Plant Protection Quarterly, 19: 80-81.
  • Williamson, T.N., Graham, R.C. & Shouse, P.J. (2004) Effects of chaparral-to-grass conversion on soil physical and hydrologic properties after four decades. Geoderma, 123: 99-114.

Project information and acknowledgements