Curly Windmill grass

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Enteropogon acicularis and E. ramosus

CATEGORY: C4  perennial


  • Tufted, warm-season long-lived  perennial to 1m tall
  • Seedhead digitate, with long stiff  branches arranged in several planes like wheel spokes.  Spikelets awned and not blunt-tipped
  • Flowers from spring to autumn in  response to rain


  • One of the most widespread and  common species
  • Found on all soil types, although  more common on red soils and in lightly grazed areas
  • High drought, moderate frost and  good flood tolerance


  • Low to moderate  grazing value
  • Digestibility  ranges from 37-62%
  • Crude protein 5-13%


  • Produces good growth after rain from  spring to autumn
  • Young growth is moderately  palatable, but flowering plants are harsh and left ungrazed
  • Produces some winter growth, but  this is ignored by stock if other palatable species are present
  • Seedling recruitment is infrequent
  • Can increase under light to moderate  stocking rates, but is eliminated under heavy stocking
  • Rest pastures when there are good  prolonged summer rains to aid seedling establishment


  • Both Enteropogon species have broadly overlapping distributions.  In the past they have been mistakenly  combined in the literature, making it difficult to confidently determine the  quality and management requirements of each species
  • E. acicularis grows to 40cm tall and has hairy stems and leaves.  The leaves are rarely twisted and arise from the  base of the plant.  There are 7-22  branches in the seedhead
  • Enteropogon ramosus grows 60-100cm tall and is hairless.   The leaves are often twisted and arise from branched stems.  There are usually 6 branches in the seedhead
  • Windmill grass (Chloris truncata) has blunt-tipped  spikelets that are black when mature

(Flowering plant: K Hertel)