Heteropogon contortus (POACEAE) Black Speargrass, Tanglehead

Plants to Plant

Perennial tussock grass to 1.5 m tall, variable in habit. Leaves and stems are green to blue-green and usually hairless or with only a few scattered hairs. The leaf sheath and blade are folded along the mid-rib and leaves are 5–30 cm long. The seed heads arise singly or in pairs from the axils of the upper leaves. Common as an understorey in Eucalyptus spp. woodlands and open forests. Grows on a wide variety of soil types including infertile sands, prefers good drainage. Individual plants can live for several years. Highly resistant to grass fires.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Twisted, intertwined awn

Fertile spikelets bears an intertwined awn 5–12 cm long, the basal part of which is twisted.

Photo: Robert Whyte


Found alongside Kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra), Bothriochloa, Eragrostis, Aristida, Chloris and Chrysopogon.