Wallaby grass

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Austrodanthonia species (formerly Danthonia species)

CATEGORY: C3  perennial


  • Fine leaved, tufted, yearlong green,  perennial grasses to about 1m tall
  • Leaves grey-green to dark green and  often hairy.  All species have a hairy  fringe at the junction of the leaf blade and leaf sheath
  • Seedhead is a contracted to open  panicle.  Spikelets are green with pink  tinges along the edges of the glumes in early flowering, becoming fluffy white  when mature
  • Flowers in spring and autumn


  • Different species are adapted to  specific soil types and conditions from very hard shallow soils to more fertile  areas
  • Generally do not tolerate  waterlogging, but are very tolerant of soil acidity and aluminium


  • Low to high grazing  value
  • Digestibility  ranges from 45-82%
  • Crude protein  10.1-25%


  • Feed value is dependant on the  species and location; plants growing on very shallow poor soils show little  response to fertiliser and often form low quality, unproductive plants.  In more fertile areas, plants respond to  fertiliser and tend to produce larger quantities of higher quality feed
  • Species on more fertile soils mostly  increase with increased (to quite high) grazing pressure as their buds and  storage organs are at or below ground level and frequent defoliation removes  shading from taller plants.  Species on  infertile soils are generally only suited to light grazing pressure
  • Spell to allow seeding in spring or  summer after good rainfalls
  • Does not tolerate heavy shading in  early spring, so maintain grazing pressure to avoid dominance by sub clover and  other annuals
  • Seed can be sown by broadcasting and  using light harrows in spring or autumn.   Coverage should be no deeper than 3mm and reliable moisture is essential


  • Correct identification of each of  the wallaby grass species requires expert knowledge
  • Silvertop wallaby grass (Joycea pallida) has prominent orange-red  anthers in the seedhead and forms a tussock to 1.8m tall

(Lightly grazed plant: H Rose)