Buffel Grass – Cenchrus cilliaris
Habit: Tussock forming perennial grass to 1m. Seed heads to 15cm long with bristly seeds.
Spread: Seeds spread in the wind and can catch on clothing.
One of the biggest problems with buffel grass is that it becomes scenescent an dries as large dominant swards. It becomes a fire hazard in that it is highly flammable and creates for a hotter and more widespread fire. Buffel grass quickly responds to a fire or soil disturbance and is then able to invade a larger area. Buffel grass generally creates for a reduced floristic diversity. This photo was taken near Port Smith.
When green, Buffel Grass continues to flower and seed prolifically. This plant was originally introduced as a pasture grass and has become widespread throughout the Kimberley, Pilbara and central Australia.
The inflorescence of Buffel Grass later forms black purple seeds as below. These seeds can spread short distances via wind and water and can also attach
Note: Buffel Grass is closely related to Birdwood Grass (Cenchrus setiger), and looks very similar, so it is often difficult to distinguish these two species. They can however be treated similarly in control programs.