Sporobolus africanus (Poir.) Robyns & Tournay
Parramatta Grass

Bull.Jard.Bot.État.Bruxelles 25:242 (1955)
Conservation Code
Not threatened
Naturalised Status
Alien to Western Australia
Name Status

Tufted perennial or annual (long-lived), grass-like or herb, 0.1-0.5(-0.7) m high. Fl. green-purple, Nov to Dec or Jan to Jun.

Amanda Spooner, Descriptive Catalogue, 29 August 1997


IBRA Regions
Avon Wheatbelt, Esperance Plains, Jarrah Forest, Little Sandy Desert, Swan Coastal Plain, Warren.
IBRA Subregions
Fitzgerald, Katanning, Northern Jarrah Forest, Perth, Southern Jarrah Forest, Trainor, Warren.
IMCRA Regions
Leeuwin-Naturaliste, WA South Coast.
Local Government Areas (LGAs)
Albany, Augusta Margaret River, Busselton, Collie, Cranbrook, Denmark, Fremantle, Gnowangerup, Harvey, Jerramungup, Manjimup, Melville, Mundaring, Murray, Plantagenet, Rockingham, South Perth, Stirling, Swan, Wiluna.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)

Alternative Names. Rat's tail grass, smut grass, tufty grass.

General Biology. Growth form. Grass. Life form. Perennial, caespitose. Reproduction. Seed. Dispersal. Wind, water, mammals including livestock, clothing. Photosynthetic Pathway. C4. Fire response. Resprouts.

Notes. Known to dominate in wet, swampy areas and displace other grasses. Declared a noxious weed in parts of New South Wales and Queensland. Has a well developed root system. Seeds become sticky when damp. Has a juvenile period of less than 6 months and longevity of 2 - 5 years. Fusilade® Forte has been shown to be effective for controlling seedling and juveniles plants of other Sporobolus species. Mechanical and chemical control methods for mature plants are largely ineffective and expensive, thus biocontrol agents for invasive Sporoblous in Australia including S. africanus are being investigated.

Additional information. Origin. South Africa. Similar exotic species. Sporobolus elongatus, S. creber. Similar native species. S. virginicus.

Suggested method of management and control. Cut and bag seed head then dig to remove. Try Fusilade® Forte 13ml/L + wetting agent or for generic fluazifop-p (212g/L active ingredient) 8ml/L on seedling and juvenile plants. Slash large clumps in winter/spring and spray regrowth with glyphosate at label rates. 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 Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Active Growth Y Y             Y Y Y Y  
Germination                 U U U    
Flowering Y                 Y Y Y  
Fruiting Y Y                   Y  
Manual Removal Y Y             Y Y Y Y  
Herbicide Treatment Y Y               Y Y Y  

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



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  • Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) (2005) Sporobolus africanus (Poir.) Robyns & Tournay, Poaceae. URL: http://www.hear.org/pier/species/sporobolus_africanus.htm - Accessed January 2010.
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  • Yobo, K.S., Laing, M.D., Palmer, W.A. & Shivas, R.G. (2009) Evaluation of Ustilago sporoboli-indici as a classical biological control agent for invasive Sporobolus grasses in Australia. Biologcal Control, 50: 7-12.