Poa tussock or tussock grass

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Poa labillardierei

CATEGORY: C3  perennial


  • Coarse, densely  tufted, yearlong green, perennial grass to 120 cm high
  • Stems round,  roughened below seedhead
  • Leaves to 80 cm  long and 3.5mm wide, rough on the lower surface and dull green or greyish green  in colour
  • Seedhead is an open  panicle to 25cm long, with erect or loosely spreading branches.  Florets are shortly hairy and often have a  pinkish tinge
  • Flowers most of the  year


  • Prefers moister  areas, such as drainage lines and gullies, especially where soil fertility is  moderate to high; highly frost tolerant


  • Low grazing value
  • Digestibility  ranges from 42-69 %
  • Crude protein 4-12%


  • Provides shelter  for lambs and lambing ewes and is valuable for preventing soil erosion along  gully lines
  • Can have a very  high growth rate, though even new growth is only ever of moderate feed value
  • Mature plants have  a mass of old leafy material and are not readily grazed.  Because of this, it can become highly  invasive under light set stocking.  However,  the new growth of plants that have been burnt or kept short are more readily  grazed
  • Can be effectively  managed by stocking cattle at high densities with protein supplementation and  can form a useful maintenance drought feed


  • There are a number  of other Poa species, which can be  difficult to distinguish, but most are associated with drier habitats and are  smaller in stature
  • Snow grass (Poa  sieberiana) is a smaller plant with long fine leaves
  • Serrated tussock (Nassella  trichotoma) leaves are so tightly rolled that they roll in the fingers like  a needle and the seedhead has long awns
Poa Tussock
Poa Tussock
Poa Tussock
Poa Tussock
Poa Tussock