Themeda triandra

Distribution Map
Family: Poaceae
Distribution: Widespread in grasslands, tropical savannahs, woodlands and open forests in all Australian States and Territories from arid lowlands to alpine areas. Also occurs in Asia and Africa.
Common Name: Kangaroo grass
Derivation of
Themeda...derivation obscure but apparently Arabic in origin, referring to a lack of water
triandra... from Greek, tri, three and andr, man, referring to three male spikelets in the flower.
Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Themeda is a genus of grasses occurring in Australia, Asia and Africa. There are about 30 species worldwide with about 5 being found in Australia. T.triandra (syn. T. australis) is the most common member of the genus in Australia.

Themeda triandra
Themeda triandra   Themeda triandra
Themeda triandra 'Mingo'
Photo: Brian Walters

Themeda triandra is a tufted, perennial grass that forms spreading or upright clumps, usually about 0.5 metres high but may reach about 1.5 metres high. The leaves are usually greyish green but forms with a blue-grey colour can be found. Flowers are seen from late spring to mid autumn, appearing as reddish-brown spikelets with distinct awns (stiff bristles) and surrounded by leaf-like bracts. Seed ripens in late summer but there may be a high proportion of infertile seed present.

Kangaroo Grass is a useful, tufting species for a rockery area. It is very hardy in most soils and prefers a sunny to semi-shade position. The species can withstand extended dry periods once established. A very useful cultivar known as 'Mingo' is especially attractive having a prostrate, spreading habit up to about 0.3 metres high with blue-grey foliage and rusty red/brown flower spikes.

Propagation can be carried out from seed but germination may be very slow. Division of established clumps is probably the more reliable method of propagation.

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