|Windmill Grass photos
Ex Matters & Bozon
Other Common Name:
Umbrella Grass, Star Grass
Native to all mainland States of Australia but not in the Northern Territory.
Annual or perennial, tufted grass, up to 40 cm tall, with flattened stems and coarse, straight, flat to folded leaves up to 15 cm long and 5 mm wide. Windmill-like flower-head of 5 – 10 spikes, 5 – 17 cm long, radiating from the end of a stalk. Spikelets are arranged along the spike, alternately in two rows; each spikelet consisting of two truncated florets (i.e. flat-topped) and an awn (5 – 15 mm long for the lower floret). Florets turn from green to purplish when mature and to black when ripe. Flowers from spring to autumn, but mainly in the summer.
Occurs in most soil types but prefers red earths and grey clays.
There are several grasses with similar windmill-like flower-heads. Windmill-grass and Curly Windmill-grass tend to occur as individual tufted plants and have large flower-heads with many spikes and have awned florets, whereas Couch Grass (Cynodon dactylon) spreads along and through the ground by stolons and rhizomes (often forming mats), has up to 6 spikes only and its florets are awnless. Curly Windmill-grass (Enteropogon acicularis), unlike Windmill-grass, has narrow-lanceolate (spear-like) florets.
Occurs extensively in pastures and can be dominant in some areas where a disturbance has weakened the existing shrub species. The species is a colonizer of some eroded soils and scalded areas. Readily grazed when young but becomes unpalatable with age.
Windmill Grass - Seedhead
Photo: A J Brown
Windmill Grass - mature plant
Photo: A J Brown