Feathertop wiregrass (Aristida latifolia) in the Western Australian rangelands

Page last updated: Friday, 24 July 2020 - 10:35am

Feathertop wiregrass (Aristida latifolia) is one of many plant species found in the Western Australian rangelands.

This page provides a summary of the plant's value for pastoralism. Pastoral lessees and station managers can use this information to assess pasture condition and trend.

Indicator value

Feathertop wiregrass is an indicator of poor pasture condition where it is dominant and it is considered to be an undesirable species. It tends to be an increaser on heavy soils under heavy grazing pressure.

Forage value

Feathertop wiregrass is unpalatable to livestock and is only grazed under very heavy grazing pressure. 

Habitat

Black soil and heavy soils.

General description

Feathertop wiregrass is an erect perennial grass that can grow to 45–80cm tall, forming slender leafy tussocks. The stems are mostly unbranched and almost wholly covered by tight sheaths. The leaves are long and flat, but tend to become rolled and curl up with age and can form a tangled mass at the base of the plant. The seeds occur in narrow seed heads to 45cm long. Each seed has 3 unequal awns 15–30mm long attached by a twisted shaft to a spike which has a sharp point.

Contact information

Matthew Fletcher
+61 (0)8 9166 4019
Kath Ryan
+61 (0)8 9166 4015