Seeds to Success

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As readers of Uncle Bruce Pascoe's "Dark Emu" would be aware, Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass) is not just a beautiful plant with its awns (seed heads) shaped like a kangaroo's paw but has also been a vital food source for millenia. Naturally occuring Kangaroo Grass grasslands are now endangered throughout Australia due to overgrazing by livestock and removal for housing. When pounded, Kangaroo Grass can be used to make flour. Kangaroo Grass is one of the most recognised native grasses in Australia and it is vital habitat value for Ground Parrots and several butterfly species including the Pale Orange Dart, Orange Ringlet, Klug's Xenica, the Eastern Ringed Xenica, and the Common Brown. Kangaroo Grass occurs in all Australian states and territitorties and overseas is also found in Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands where it is commonly found in grasslands and woodlands. Kangaroo Grass grows to 1.5 metre tall and 0.5 metre wide and produces its seed heads between December and February. It produces red-brown spikelets which contain its seeds. Kangaroo Grass can be used in rockeries, mass planted as grasslands, and is a good replacement for weedy exotic grasses and the much over-used Red Fountain Grass (Pennisetum advena 'Rubrum') and Miscanthus.  It is hoped that future broadacre farming of Kangaroo Grass throughout Australia as a replacement for wheat, sorghum, barley, millet, rye and other exotic grain crops will exist as well as managed use for livestock grazing. Cutting them back in early Spring encourages fresh new growth. Kangaroo Grass was previously known as Themeda australis but is now Themeda triandra as it identical to the species in Africa.  

Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass)

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