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Coolatai grass

Coolatai grass
Photo: Harry Rose, licensed under CC BY 2.0
Invasive Plant
Coolatai grass
Hyparrhenia hirta*

A coarse summer-growing tussock to 1.5 metres high, this grass has flat tough leaves to 5mm wide. The seed heads consist of several V-shaped pairs of spikes on reddish stems. Each seed is densely hairy with a fine curved awn. It degrades pastures and native grasslands in other States and is now established in SA.  



• Mistaken planting when misidentified as a native grass such as kangaroo grass.

• Seed carried on livestock, vehicles and in hay.

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Additional suggested alternatives: elegant spear grass (Austrostipa elegantissima), soft spear grass (Austrostipa mollis),  switch grass  (Panicum cultivars such as 'Rubrum' and 'Heavy Metal'), lemon grass (Cymbopogon ambiguus), wallaby grass (Austrodanthonia fulva), kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra).


Alternative Plants

Common tussock grass
Photo: Nursery & Garden Industry South Australia
Alternative Plant Common tussock grass
Poa labillardieri
Poa labillardieri is a perennial cool season grass bearing beautiful fine greenish/blue foliage with an upright to arching form. Depending on aspect and soil, Poa labillardieri grows from 30 to 80 cm tall. Delicate plume like flowerheads in spring to summer extend above the foliage up to 1.2 metres.  Poa is ideal for softening hard surfaces and for colour contrasting with other plants. Poa grows in full sun put prefers up to 50% shade and is suited to mild coastal conditions. Inland it will handle dry and cold to –10ºC with heavy frost. Trim back foliage in April every year to approx 200 to 300mm above the ground to remove last season’s foliage. A popular cultivar, used extensively in public landscapes is 'Eskdale'.
Purple Fountain Grass
Photo: Colourwise Nursery
Alternative Plant Purple Fountain Grass
Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum'

This sterile hybrid is a showy and popular ornamental perennial grass. It grows rapidly in dense clumps of burgundy coloured foliage up to 1.5 m high with arching purple-pink flower plumes in summer. The blooms are foxtail-like, are displayed above the foliage and produced in warm weather. A very hardy grass species that can tolerate periods of drought and light frosts.

Spiny mat rush
Photo: Nursery & Garden Industry South Australia
Alternative Plant Spiny mat rush
Lomandra longifolia 'Tanika' and other cultivars
An evergreen, improved compact fine leaf form of Lomandra growing 50-60cm high and 65cm across.  This low maintenance plant produces small yellow flowers from April to October.  It makes an attractive fresh green accent plant in mixed groupings with shrubs or other grasses, as a feature plant in open landscapes or planted en masse in borders or verges.  The rush attracts birds and butterflies.  Requires well-drained soils. 
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