Soft spinifexes (Triodia spp.) in the Western Australian rangelands

Page last updated: Wednesday, 7 July 2021 - 8:48am

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The soft spinifexes (Triodia epactia, T. pungensT. schinzii) are some 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

The soft spinifexes indicate good pasture condition, where dominant in soft spinifex pastures. They are desirable species in soft spinifex pastures and in pindan or curly spinifex pastures, but only an intermediate species on better soils. Soft spinifexes are decreaser species under heavy grazing.

Grey soft spinifex (T. epactia) is found in the Pilbara and can invade degraded cracking clay pastures.  

Forage value

Soft spinifexes are moderately palatable to livestock and are a good drought reserve. When young, the whole plant is edible.

Habitat

Red soils, pindan, river frontage.

General description

Soft spinifexes are perennial grasses, forming straggly hummocks to 80cm tall and up to 2m across. Stems are smooth, slender and coated with resin. The leaf blades are rolled, slender, up to 30cm long and are pointed at the ends. The seed heads are spear shaped and on single spikes. New plants may develop from runners.

Contact information

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