Gamba Grass – Andropogon gayanus
Habit: Perennial grass to 4m. Leaves to 30cm long and 2cm wide with a white mid-rib. Hairy seeds look fluffy.
Spread: Wind, water and machinery and deliberate sowing.
Declared Plant WA
P1 Movement of plants and seeds prohibited
P2 Infestations to be eradicated
There are only a few incursions of Gamba Grass in the (east) Kimberley but this grass, which was originally introduced as a pasture species, has proven devastating in other areas of Northern Australia. Gamba grass grows to 4 metres high and is often referred to as a “transformer weed”, meaning that it can spread and dominate large areas, eliminating a diversity of native species. The bulky, dry biomass of Gamba significantly increases natural fuel loads, and results in hotter and more frequent fires across larger areas. The intensity of the fires has serious implications to the natural ecology of tropical Savannah and reduces the opportunity for the recovery of native plants.. Climate change is predicted to produce a hotter, dryer and therefore more fire prone landscape that further enables the spread and invasion of this weed species.
In March 2008, Scientists called for a ban on Gamba Grass due to its devastating impacts on Northern Australian ecosystems. Read more here:
The fluffy seeds are easily spread by wind, machinery.
(Photos: Colin Wilson)