Megathyrsus maximus var. maximus (POACEAE) Green panic, Guinea grass

Weeds to Whack

This pasture grass has invaded Brisbane gardens and usually is a problem only on disturbed, open ground. Once an area is restored and revegetated with natives, it does not succeed. Short underground stems (rhizomes). Above ground stems are usually erect, forming tufted clumps. Native to Africa, Green Panic is a tall clumping perennial to 3 m usually about 1.5 m tall. Leaves are relatively broad, mostly with hairy sheaths, somewhat hairy and rough to the touch.
Photo: Robert Whyte

Seed Head Opening

 Seed heads (inflorescences) are branched open panicles, with the lower branches arranged in a whorl, higher branchlets not so. Seeds are small, oval, mostly green (sometimes purplish).
Photo: Robert Whyte

Seed Head Showing Whorled Branchlets

This photograph shows very clearly the whorled branchlets lower on the stem, becoming less so when they are higher. In Africa this grass attracts many seed-eating birds. It is especially popular with Bronze Mannikins, which visit the grass in flocks. It may provide a much needed food source for small birds in an urban South-East Queensland environment. Small birds are often seen grazing where it has taken over.

Photo: Mark Crocker