Poa labillardierei

Common Tussock-grass

Family: Poaceae

Found in southern and eastern Australia including Tasmania, particularly in open forest communities, grassy woodland communities and in moister areas on low slopes and valley floors that are frequently wet. Usually on enriched soils such as basalt and shale. Extends from the coast to the western plains of NSW.

Culms (seeding stems) round, roughened below seed head, to about 1.2 m long.

Leaves to 80 cm long and 3.5 mm wide, rough on the lower surface and dull green or greyish-green in colour.

Seed head is an open panicle to 25 cm long, with erect or loosely spreading branchlets.

Florets are shortly hairy and often have a pinkish tinge. Flowers most of the year.


In the garden

Attractive low maintenance feature or background ornamental grass, ideal for landscaping and suitable for group plantings.

Is fast growing in all types of soils with a shallow root system. Low maintenance once established. Considered easy to grow. Often seen used in large numbers in mulched beds (adjoining golf course fairways, large formal landscapes etc).

In the home garden, the author pruned to remove spent seed heads (usually late winter) as this encouraged fresh new growth.

No known pests or diseases.

Highly frost tolerant.


Seed or extraction of the numerous seedlings if conditions are right as well as division. Cut back divided plants and pot up to establish roots before planting.

Regenerates after fires if they are not too hot. Tussocks can reshoot.

Other information

Poa – Ancient Greek word which means “fodder”

labillardierei – after the French botanist and explorer, J.J.H. de Labillardière (1755-1834)

Not at risk in the wild.


By Jeff Howes