Pennisetum purpureum (POACEAE) Elephant Grass

Weeds to Whack

Elephant Grass is also called Cane Grass locally because of its similarity to sugar cane. This giant grass has invaded many open areas of Enoggera, Fish and Ithaca creeks. It is a fast grower, outcompeting local natives. It forms clumps which need to be cut back and poisoned by hand, as they often grow in sensitive areas. It propagates from nodules along the stem as well as seed. The clump of Elephant Grass shown in the photo is holding the creek bank together. After it is slashed back, bank stabilisation will have to be undertaken. In the background are Chinese Elms and Camphor Laurels. In the foreground are some weedy grasses.

Photo: Robert Whyte


Also known as Napier Grass or Uganda Grass, this perennial tropical grass is native to the African grasslands. Historically, it has as been used for grazing, probably how it came to be in Enoggera catchment.
Photo: Mark Crocker

Inflorescence Close-up

The elongated seed-head (8-30 cm long and 1.5-3 cm wide) is spike-like and greenish, yellowish or slightly purplish in colour. It is very bristly and is actually made up of a hairy main stalk with numerous very short branches.
Photo: Mark Crocker