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Annual Cat's-tail

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Scientific Name:Rostraria cristata
Annual Cat's-tail flower-head
Annual Cat's-tail flower-head
Photo: A J Brown


Native to the Mediterranean but widely naturalised.


A small, slender, tufted
annual grass to 60 cm high but often less than 15 cm. Leaves are softly hairy and flat, to 20 cm long and 8 mm wide but often much smaller. Flower-head is a contracted, oblong to ovate, panicle of 1-8 cm long with 2-6 flowered spikelets. Outer glumes or bracts of the spikelets are slightly unequal in size; the lower being 1-2.5 mm long and the upper 2-3 mm long. The lemma (inner flower bract) is 2-3 mm long with a fine and straight awn or bristle, 1-3 mm long.


Widespread in drier areas of Victoria but also on near-coastal sands. Often common on seasonally wet freshwater and saline swamp and lake margins.


Superficially similar to other small annual grasses with contracted panicles, such as Avellinia (
Avellinia michelii) and Annual Fog (Holcus annuum).
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