Serrated tussock is a perennial grass (living for longer than one year), with mature plants forming dense, drooping tussocks up to 50cm high and up to one metre in diameter. However, in grazing situations the tussock can be reduced to small tufts of erect foliage.
The colour varies from green during summer to yellow-green in winter. In seed, the plant takes on a purple hue, due to the coloration of the seeds.
A great way to determine if the plant is is fact serrated tussock is with touch. When a finger and the thumb are pulled along the leaves from the tip towards the base, rough serrations can be felt. Also, when rolled between the index finger and thumb, serrated tussock leaves roll smoothly, like a needle. This distinguishes them from some similar native grass species, which feel as though they have flat edges.
The following steps are a basic way to help determine if a plant is serrated tussock or not;
Can you see the hairs on the leaf without magnification?
-Yes? It is probably wallaby grass
If no, are the leaf bases purple?
-Yes? It is probably spear/ corkscrew grass
If no, and if the leaf bases white, is the ligule also white and hairless?
-No? It is probably Poa
If yes, do the leaves roll like a needle between your fingers?
Yes? Than it is serrated tussock.
Some futher identification facts:
Seeds are typically small, no greater than 2mm in length. At maturity, seeds are pale brown to purplish (giving the whole plant a shimmery, soft purple colouring). When in flower, the plant becomes top heavy, and will droop over, sweeping along the ground.
Roots – Diffuse, wiry, fibrous, mostly shallow.
Ligule - Distinctive, white, hairless
Flowers - Oct to Jan
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