Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris and C. Pennisetiformis) is an introduced perennial grass that can significantly damage natural ecosystems and increase the risk of fire. Prevention of further spread is important because once established, it is difficult and costly to control.
- tufted erect or spreading perennial grass to 1 metre tall that forms large tussocks
- seed heads are dense white to purple forming a thick cylindrical spike 10-15cm long
- seed heads are covered in clusters of bristles, giving them a fluffy appearance (like a fox tail).
Why is it a problem?
- aggressively colonises riparian habitats where it forms dense monocultures, displacing native vegetation
- thick swards create large amounts of dry fuel, increasing the risk of fire, and the intensity and frequency of natural fire regimes.
- SA Arid Lands
- Murraylands and Riverland region – isolated roadside infestations throughout the Riverland through to the Murray Mallee.
- actively grows in summer, very drought tolerant, and can establish in various soils
- established plants respond rapidly to rain in spring, summer and autumn
- plants can germinate from seed, mature and flower within 6 weeks of a significant rainfall
- plants that appear dead can revive and successfully produce seed
- man-made corridors, including roads, railways and pipelines are significant pathways for its introduction into regions previously not infested
- seed is spread by graders and other earthmoving equipment, and also the wind created by vehicles along these corridors
- disturbed ground within corridors, particularly where increased runoff occurs, can be rapidly colonised.
How it spreads
- Man-made corridors therefore provide a stepping stone for infestation to spread into the wider environment.