Chilean Needle Grass is a highly invasive weed which is having an immense impact on agriculture and biodiveristy in the Gecko CLaN region. The Gecko CLaN is currently undertaking a community awareness and education campaign to address this, made possible through a grant from Caring for Our Country.
Chilean needle grass (Nassella neesiana) is a perennial tussock-forming grass, native to South America. A Weed of National Significance in Australia, Chilean needle grass is a vigorous competitor in agricultural, natural and urban environments.
The presence of Chilean needle grass has a devastating impact on agriculture. It can severely reduce pasture productivity, contaminate crops and hay, and the needle-like seed can injure animals including sheep, alpacas and dogs, as the seed burrows into their skin and cannot be easily removed.
Chilean needle grass’ resilient reproductive system produces three types of seed (Panicle, Stem and Basal), which allows for the development of a large and persistent seed bank. The panicle seeds' ability to adhere to nearly anything it comes in contact with is the greatest contributor to its spread.
The best time to identify Chilean needle grass is in spring, when it produces panicle seeds with distinctive purple glumes and long light green awns. Chilean needle grass can be difficult to identify when its panicle seed-heads are not present. It can easily be mistaken for other grasses such as tall fescue and wallaby grasses, but especially spear grasses.
The Gecko CLaN is undertaking a community education campaign to raise awareness and education of Chilean needle grass. Please contact the Gecko CLaN for more information on activities in your local area.
For more information about Chilean needle grass go to: