Neverfail (Eragrostis setifolia) in the Western Australian rangelands

Page last updated: Friday, 24 July 2020 - 10:34am

Neverfail (Eragrostis setifolia) 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

Neverfail is a desirable perennial lovegrass (any grass of the genus Eragrostis is a lovegrass) that is more resilient under heavy grazing pressure than Mitchell grasses or saltbush. It is considered an indicator of good pasture condition when it is abundant and other desirable species remain in the pasture. Neverfail populations commonly improve when sheep are replaced with cattle.

Forage value

Neverfail is readily eaten by livestock and other herbivores, but after seeding, the palatability is reduced and continuing heavy grazing is a sign of feed shortage. Kangaroos preferentially target this plant.

Habitat

Low-lying areas, tolerates slight salinity.

General description

Neverfail is a slender, wiry-stemmed grass with dense, rounded tussocks that can grow to about 50cm tall. Individual stems are thickened at the tussock base and slightly woolly, separated by shiny bracts. The leaves are smooth and often narrowly rolled (about 1mm wide), ranging from 4–13cm in length. All leaves branch off from the stems above ground and never emerge independently from the tussock base. The seed head structure is typical of a lovegrass: it has crowded spikelets, some of which contain a single brown seed.

Contact information

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

Neverfail (Eragrostis setifolia) in the Western Australian rangelands