Grasses Day

Leigh Douglas


Grasses Day

Amphibromus, Lachnagrostis, Austrostipa, Chloris, Themeda, Neurachne ….. or, Wallaby Grass, Blown Grass, Spear Grass, Windmill Grass, Kangaroo Grass, Fox-tailed Mulga Grass – just some of the native grasses identified by Alan Bedggood at our home near Lake Lonsdale, as he led about 20 of us on a fascinating tour of discovery on our November activity. Ask Alan if you think I’ve got some names wrong …. because it’s quite likely ….. a new learning curve, and definitely a new passion.

Alan brought along samples of grass for us to handle and look at closely, with and without using little powerful illuminated magnifiers for studying the finer points of grasses, such as their awns, lemmas, and glumes, the only way in which to speciate many grasses; the more closely we could look, the more interesting it all became (and becomes).

Out on the grasslands

A great memory tool Alan suggested was the use of comparative imagery: e.g., a wallaby grass floret looks like a unicorn’s head; some have moustaches, beards and fringes ….. Ask Alan …..

It’s amazing how knowing more about the grasses has deepened our understanding of ecosystems and habitats around the area. [Being at our place made it doubly beneficial to us]. It was a great relief to me to find that my favourite grass at home is native, Swamp Wallaby Grass, and not an introduced feral. It makes a beautiful sight, tall and graceful in winter-wet areas.

Wallaby Grass

It was not only native grasses, however, so I’d better mention that there were a lot of weeds he identified here too! In addition to identifying weeds, Alan and Wendy discussed different ways to control them, and the pros and cons of each; also valuable was learning more about the degrees of threat posed by different species: e.g. African Veldt Grass is pretty scary, rampant along roadsides since the 2006 fires.

We helped Judith Thompson celebrate a very special birthday (Happy Birthday Judith!) over lunch, which we had under the verandah to keep us out of the sun…although the sun was more than welcome after our prolonged cold weather. Thank you Alan ….. both for the weather ….. and for sharing your passion.