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Common Wallaby-grass

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Common Wallaby-grass photos

Scientific Name:Rytidosperma caespitosum (syn. Austrodanthonia caespitosa)
Photo: White Top Wallaby Grass
Photograph courtesy of
Viridans Biological Databases (external link)

Other Common Name:

Ringed Wallaby-grass, Wallaby Grass, White Top Wallaby-grass


Native to Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania.

Plant Description:

Tall, tufted
perennial grass from 20 – 90 cm tall, with dense tussocky base to 12 cm diameter. Stems smooth, slender to rather robust with 2 – 4 hairless nodes. Leaves to 30 cm long, 1 – 3 mm wide, flat or loosely in-rolled, hairy to hairless. Ligule a ciliate rim (0.5 mm long) with a tuft of longer hairs at the sides (1-2 mm long). Flower-head, a purplish, contracted panicle, 3 – 8 cm long with 10 – 30 or more spikelets; appearing bleached and fluffy when mature and dry. Spikelets contain 6-9 closely overlapping florets, each of which have two lateral rows of long hairs on the back and a hairy base. The body of the floret is usually 3.5 – 5.5 mm long, ending in two 7 – 15 mm long acuminate lobes with a bent and twisted, rather stout awn arising from the notch between the lobes. Flowering spring, infrequently at other times.


Mostly on clay soils, and less frequently on sandy loam, or loamy red earths. Found in a wide range of communities, but is a dominant species in black box and grassland communities.

RegionSalinity ClassWaterlogging Class
Mallee, Loddon Murray, Central and Northern, Wimmera, Western, GippslandS0, S1W0, W1


Common Wallaby-grass is a very variable species with some forms approaching
Bristly Wallaby-grass. Common Wallaby-grass usually has larger florets than Bristly Wallaby-grass but the bristles (long acuminate points) on its floret lobes are shorter (2 – 4 mm long).

Common Wallaby-grass

White Top Wallaby-grass - emerging flowerheads
Common Wallaby-grass - emerging flowerheads
Photo: A J Brown
White Top Wallaby-grass - mature plants
Common Wallaby-grass - mature plants
Photo: A J Brown

White Top Wallaby-grass - spikelets
Common Wallaby-grass - spikelets
Photo: A J Brown

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