Themeda australis

Scientific name: Themeda australis

Common name: kangaroo grass

Family: Poaceae


Themeda australis   


Kangaroo grass is found in the Australian Woodland area at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden.


A native grass found in all states of Australia and also in New Guinea. This is none other than the spectacular Themeda australis or kangaroo grass. There are several forms of Themeda, this particular one has glaucous [blue-grey] leaves and is a low spreading, tufting perennial that has a dense mat-like habit. During the warmer months the leaves develop maroon colourings, which only add to the visual beauty of this grass. Summer also sees the growth of wiry flower heads, so heavy with seed that they often lie sprawling on top of the mat of leaves. The visual effect is of a colourful, spidery tangle.

Themeda australis is a great alternative for lawn grass and is also an attractive ground cover. Only to be brush cut twice a year, this plant is well suited to native gardens though not so ideal for the manicured garden as the appearance is somewhat rugged. The thick, clumping form of the kangaroo grass makes it difficult for weed seed to germinate and therefore reduces weed invasion in the garden. This growth habit is also useful to retain soil moisture, create a habitat for soil micro-organisms and the flowers attract native butterflies from November through to January.

Kangaroo grass is found in the Australian Woodland area at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden. Our blue form was bought commercially as Themeda triandra cv Mingo. Pending further taxonomic research, Themeda australis is considered to be the correct name for the Australian species while Themeda triandra is applied to an African species.

Our Gardenís Australian Woodland has many other native grasses; herbaceous plants and shrubs for which seed has been wild collected. Large, under-tree plantings have taken place to show the public the full potential of these native species.