Windmill grass

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Chloris  truncate



  • A short-lived, warm  season, prostrate perennial to usually less than 50cm tall; often stoloniferous
  • Leaves are short,  pale green or blue green, with an abrupt taper at the tip (boat shaped); new  leaves are folded
  • Seedhead is  digitate, with 6-9 spikes (to 20cm long) that radiate like the vanes of a  windmill
  • Spikelets are  truncate (blunt tipped), black when mature and with an awn that is longer than  the spikelet
  • Flowers from late  winter to summer


  • Commonly found in  heavily grazed, higher fertility areas, such as around sheep camps
  • Often seen growing  and seeding in bare or disturbed areas after summer rainfall
  • Found on most soil  types.  Moderately drought and salt  tolerant


  • Low to moderate  grazing value
  • Digestibility  ranges from 35-68%
  • Crude protein 7-12%


  • A useful coloniser  of bare or degraded areas, germinating after spring and summer rains
  • Most feed is  produced in spring and summer, but leaves are fibrous and not very palatable;  must be kept green and leafy to maintain quality
  • Growth increases  with improved fertility, but it will often decline in abundance due to shading  unless pastures are kept short
  • Heavy grazing  pressure in late spring and summer increases the abundance of windmill grass by  increasing bare ground and reducing competition
  • Probably best  grazed by sheep, as it grows close to the ground
  • Can be sown by  broadcasting onto the surface around early October when the soil has good  moisture.  If soil moisture is low, it  can induce dormancy in the seed


  • Tall chloris (Chloris ventricosa) grows to 1m tall, with 3-5  somewhat limp branches digitately arranged in the seedhead and awns that are  shorter than the spikelet
  • Curly windmill grasses (Enteropogon  ramosus and E. acicularis) are only common at the lower altitudes of  the slopes and plains.  They don’t have  truncate spikelets
  • Couch (Cynodon dactylon) is a  mat-forming grass with unawned seeds

(Habit: H Rose)