Queensland Native Seeds

Imperata cylindrica

Scientific NameImperata cylindrica
Common Name(s)Bladey Grass


"Perennial. Rhizomes present, elongated. Culms erect, 10–150 cm tall." (Simon, B.K. & Alfonso, Y. 2011. Ausgrass2)


Imperata cylindrica has become a weed in countries where its a naturalised, exotic invader. In Australia however, as a native grass, it has a small, balanced role in the landscape. It has a place in the ecology where it binds soils and stream banks helping them resist erosion. This is an effect of the extensive underground rhizomes the plant develops at some depth. It is also grown for its attractive inflorescences however the margins of the leaves are sharp enough to cut fingers if they are carelessly handled. After fire has swept through paddocks, woodland or forest, I. cylindrica may very quickly regrow and flower, producing its typically stark white inflorescences, often beautifully contrasting a blackened landscape.

We note I. cylindrica on sand dunes where it stabilises its salt laden substrate, in pine plantations where it has increased opportunistically after disturbance, fire and herbicide usage has removed competing vegetation, on stream and river banks, and in small patches in forest and woodland which can be on various soils including clays and clay loams.

"The small seeds of Imperata cylindrica (Blady Grass) are eaten by emus and kangaroos," (Simon, B.K. & Alfonso, Y. 2011. Ausgrass2)

Historical Notes

Usage of Imperata cylindrica by Australian aboriginal people is mentioned in many places. "Imperata cylindrica grass roots were eaten by the children as sugarcane and the leaves were used for making dilly bags." (Organ M.K. and Speechley C., 1997)


In all states, however only in the far north of WA and the SE corner of SA. Mostly coastal and subcoastal, also found in some inland areas.

Distribution Map | Imperata cylindrica | Queensland Native Seeds

References and Related Links

Simon, B.K. & Alfonso, Y. 2011. Ausgrass2, http.//ausgrass.myspecies.info/, [Accessed on Dec 9, 2019].


Organ M.K. and Speechley C., 1997. Illawarra Aboriginees - An Introductory History. https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1022&context=asdpapers