Parramatta grass – Sporobolus africanus

An upright and tufted long-lived grass with wiry flowering stems usually growing 15-50 cm tall. Its long and narrow leaf blades (6-40 cm long and 1-4 mm wide) may be flat or somewhat rolled. Its seed-heads are also very thin and elongated in appearance (6-35 cm long and 4-7 mm wide)they have many short branches (10-20 mm long) that are held closely to the main stem. Each of these branches bears numerous small flower spikelets (2-2.8 mm long).


Common names

Also known as: Parramatta Grass, African dropseed, dropseed grass, rattail grass, Indian rat’s tail grass, rat’s tail grass.

Flowering time

Spring- Autumn


Native to southern and eastern Africa (i.e. Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa).

Known distribution

This species is widely naturalised in Australia, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the country. It is most common in the coastal regions of Victoria, New South Wales and southern Queensland, and is also reasonably common in south-eastern South Australia and south-western Western Australia. Scattered populations occur in Tasmania, the ACT, the Northern Territory and northern Queensland. Also naturalised on Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island, in New Zealand, and in other parts of the Pacific (i.e. in French Polynesia, Niue and Hawaii).


A weed of lawns, footpaths, parks, roadsides, disturbed sites, waste areas, swamps, grasslands, open woodlands and pastures in temperate, sub-tropical and occasionally also tropical regions. It is particularly common in areas with compacted soils.


An upright (i.e. erect) and tufted or tussocky long-lived (i.e. perennial) grass usually growing 15-50 cm tall, but occasionally reaching up to 110 cm in height.


    1. Weeds of Australia