Queensland Native Seeds

Capillipedium spicigerum

Scientific NameCapillipedium spicigerum
Common Name(s)Scented Tops, Scented Top Grass


A tufted, perennial, warm season grass which may reach 1.5m in height. Inflorescences are panicles, reddish to purple in colour and produce a pleasant fragrance when crushed. Leaves glaucous or green.


Scented Top is a common component of grasslands on forest soils in NSW and Qld. It's a soft, palatable and attractive Australian native grass however few land owners appear to have noticed its presence. It often co-occurs with Bothriochloa bladhii (Forest Bluegrass) with which it may introgress. The two grasses are sometimes confused possibly owing to the reddish colour of inflorescences and behavioural similarities.

Capillipedium spicigerum may persist under competition from invasive species, may flower several times a year, can be cut for hay and establishes well in rehabilitiation. Other native grasses commonly occuring with Capillipedium include Dicanthium sericeum (Queensland Bluegrass), Bothriochloa decipiens (Pitted Bluegrass), Heteropogon contortus (Black Speargrass), Cymbopogon refractus (Barbed-Wire Grass), Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass) and Aristida spp (Three-Awn Grasses).

Exotic grasses sometimes competing with Scented Top in grazed situations are Rhodes Grass and the weed, Eragrostis curvula (African Love Grass). Capillipedium will compete with the latter except with severe, long term, over-grazing. Capillipedium may outcompete Rhodes grass where fertility is run down. In the north of its range, Bothriochloa insculpta cultivars such as Bisset and Hatch often establish and compete on similar country.

Historical Notes

Recognition of notable fodder value was not granted to Capillipedium in the Queensland Department of Primary Production publication, Flora of South-eastern Queensland, Vol. 3 (Stanley and Ross, 1989).

However, in the 1973 publication, The Grasses of Southeast Queensland, we find, "This grass is widespread in forest country of eastern Queensland. It is readily eaten by stock and responds well to good soil fertility." (Tothill and Hacker, 1973)


Distribution Map | Capillipedium spicigerum | Queensland Native Seeds

Capillipedium spicigerum | harvesting | Queensland Native Seeds
Capillipedium spicigerum | habit | Queensland Native Seeds
Capillipedium spicigerum | habit | Queensland Native Seeds

References and Related Links

Stanley,T.D., and Ross, E.M. (1989). Flora of South Eastern Queensland, Vol.3. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.

Tothill, J.C., and Hacker, J.B. 1973. The Grasses of Southeast Queensland. Division of Tropical Pastures, C.S.I.R.O., Brisbane.