Coolatai is a drought, herbicide and fire tolerant tussock grass from Africa. It is a major weed in northern NSW and it is capable of smoothering the understorey of our regions woodlands and grasslands. It's most recognisible feature are its paired seed spikelets, where one spike has a stalk and the other is stalkless.
Coolatai grass is a long lived summer active perennial that produces short rhizomes that forms a dense grass tussocks and grows to 1.5 m. It has greyish-green leaves that turn orangey-red in winter, particularly after frost. The leaves are harsh to touch. Leaf sheaths are usually hairless and keeled. The leaf blade is flat and 2-3 mm wide with the ligule 2-3 mm long and minutely toothed.
The seedhead is a ‘false panicle' consisting of paired racemes with 5-8 awns per raceme. The paired racemes are up to 35 mm long and arise from 3-8 cm long flower bracts. Half the flowers are male and therefore sterile.
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