Ringed wallaby grass or white top

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Austrodanthonia caespitose

CATEGORY: C3 perennial


  • Densely tufted,  yearlong green, perennial grasses 20-90cm tall
  • Leaves variable,  hairless or hairy and flat or rolled, but generally long, narrow and with a  hairy fringe at the junction of the leaf blade and leaf sheath
  • Seedhead is a  loosely contracted panicle.  Spikelets  are green with pink tinges along the edges of the glumes in early flowering,  becoming fluffy white when mature.   Florets with 3 rings of hairs and an awn that greatly exceeds the two  lateral lobes; the latter end in bristles
  • Flowers in late  spring and early summer in response to rain


  • Found in a range of  plant communities and soil types, but more on clay soils
  • Does not tolerate  waterlogging, but are very tolerant of soil acidity and aluminium
  • Drought and frost  tolerant


  • Moderate to high  grazing value
  • Digestibility  ranges from 37-60% from one semi-arid trial at Cobar
  • Crude protein  10.1-14.9%


  • Produces good  amounts of very palatable and nutritious forage that still provides reasonable  quality hay or roughage when hayed-off
  • Most growth occurs  in late winter and spring.  Produces  little forage after summer rain, but is more likely to do so if plants have  been grazed short
  • Persists unless  very heavily and continuously grazed and will tend to decline if not grazed for  a long period
  • Abundance increases  with increased (to quite high) grazing pressure as it is very tolerant of  grazing and trampling and frequent defoliation removes shading from taller plants
  • Maintain moderate  grazing in late winter and spring to reduce competition from medics and clovers
  • Seeds prolifically  unless heavily grazed, so spelling to aid seed set is generally not  required.  However, reducing stocking  pressure or resting the pasture following good rains in spring or autumn will  aid seedling establishment
  • Seed can be sown in  spring by broadcasting onto disturbed surfaces, followed by light harrows in  spring or autumn.  Coverage should be no  greater than 3mm, with reliable moisture and low weed burdens being essential


  • Approximately 10  species of Austrodanthonia occur on  the plains.  Common species include A. bipartita, A. fulva and A. setacea.  Correct identification of each of the wallaby  grass species requires expert knowledge

(Plants with mature  seedheads: G Brookes)