*Nassella neesiana

Family Poaceae

Chilean Needle Grass

Densely tufted perennial grass to 80 cm high, flat leaves to 5 mm wide, with rough margins and ribbed upper surface. Longevity indefinite.

Flowers: Spring. Wind pollinated.

Fruit: Dry, one-seeded, indehiscent fruit. Produces two types of seeds: those borne on flowerheads (22 000 per plant per year) and stem seeds (cleistogenes) formed at the nodes and sheath base of flowering stems that allow reproduction in absence of flowering.

Seed: Seed dispersed by adhesion to machinery, animals and clothing. Seed viable for more than 12 years.

Gallery images: seed, seedling, rootstock, resprout


  • Native of South America.
  • Invasive species listed as a weed of national significance and declared noxious in several council areas.
  • Weed of grassland and remnant woodland habitats, first recorded at the Australian Botanic Garden in 1989.
  • Out competes other species by vigorous growth.
  • Resprouts after fire.
  • C3 cool season metabolism.
  • Spreading widely in grasslands and along tracks at the Australian Botanic Garden.

 Asterisk * indicates exotic species naturalised at the Australian Botanic Garden.

Ecology of Cumberland Plain Woodland

Nassella neesiana plant

Nassella neesiana plant

Nassella neesiana flower