Common pasture plants in the Kimberley rangelands of Western Australia

Page last updated: Monday, 5 February 2024 - 1:03pm

This information is a resource for pastoral lessees, station managers and others to help identify plants and assess pasture condition and trend in the Kimberley, Western Australia.

The Kimberley rangelands

The Kimberley rangelands (Figure 1) are characterised by grasslands, which are predominantly perennial tussock (bunch) and hummock grasses, with or without some tree cover.

The Kimberley has a tropical monsoonal climate with a wet summer (November to April) and a dry winter (May to October). This rainfall pattern leads to tropical savanna vegetation in the north and arid desert grassland in the southern interior.

Map of the Western Australian rangeland regions
Figure 1 Rangeland regions of Western Australia

Information on these plants can assist pastoral lessees and station managers to assess pasture condition and trend, and improve grazing management.

This information is from well-respected publications, and observations, monitoring and trials by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

Common plants in the Kimberley

Common name
(link to DPIRD species page)

Scientific name

(link to FloraBase)

Bunched kerosene grass, wind grass Aristida contorta
Erect kerosene grass Aristida holathera
Feathertop threeawn grass Aristida inaequiglumis
Feathertop wiregrass Aristida latifolia
Hoop Mitchell grass Astrebla elymoides
Barley Mitchell grass Astrebla pectinata
Bull Mitchell grass

Astrebla squarrosa

Buffel grass and birdwood grass Cenchrus ciliaris and C. setiger
Ribbon grass Chrysopogon fallax
Rattlepods Crotalaria spp.
Bundle-bundle Dichanthium fecundum
Limestone grass Enneapogon polyphyllus
Woollybutt grass Eragrostis eriopoda
Neverfail Eragrostis setifolia
Wire grass Eriachne obtusa
Silky browntop Eulalia aurea
Black speargrass Heteropogon contortus
Native millet Panicum decompositum
Native pea Rhynchosia minima
White grass Sehima nervosum
Plume sorghum, perennial sorghum Sorghum plumosum
Annual sorghum, speargrass Sorghum stipoideum
Salt water couch Sporobolus virginicus
Kangaroo grass Themeda triandra
Curly spinifex Triodia bitextura
Hard spinifex - Kimberley Triodia intermedia
Soft spinifexes

Triodia pungens, T. schinzii and T. epactia 

Rice grass Xerochloa laniflora


Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions's FloraBase pages.

Mitchell, AA & Wilcox, DG 1994, Arid shrubland plants of Western Australia, revised edition, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Perth.

Petheram, RJ & Kok, B 2003, Plants of the Kimberley region of Western Australia, revised edition, University of Western Australia Press, Perth.

Contact information

Chris Hetherington