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Nick Thoms

Prickly Spear-grass

Species Name: Austrostipa stipoides

Description: These large, prickly golden tussocks dominate the ocean-facing sandy slopes of the Bluff. Long, sharp tussocks to 1.5m with golden seed heads occurring through January. Prickly Spear-grasses provide great protection to dozens of smaller plants growing in between the tussocks. It is known as spear grass because the mature seeds can penetrate the skin and bodies of animals. It also provides shelter and protection for many small animals.

Plant form: Grasses and allies
Where to find: Widespread, the Bluff, grassy foredunes and saltmarsh
Foliage: Straw-like narrow, sharp leaves to 25 cm long, mostly within the tussock
Flower: Tight, narrow flower head, mostly within the tussock
Flowering: October – March