Kangaroo Grass – Themeda triandra



Themeda is from the Arabic thaemed (little water), the allusion is obscure; triandra is from the Greek treis (three) and aner (man), possessing three stamens (most grasses have three stamens).


Themeda triandra is a tufted perennial grass; the local species in Townsville is 30–100 cm tall. The inflorescence is leafy and up to 35cm long; each inflorescence branch is subtended by a spathe (leafy bract). This species is probably the most recognisable member of the grass family in Australia.

Distribution and Habitat

Themeda triandra is native to Australia, Africa and Asia. It was more widespread prior to European settlement; it is very susceptible to overgrazing and has been replaced by Black Speargrass (Heteropogon contortus) owing to a combination of fire and grazing.

Ecological Notes

Themeda triandra is widely used for landscaping and revegetation.


Seeds usually need to be stored for 12 months to overcome dormancy.



  • Gardner CA (1952) Flora of Western Australia Vol. 1, Part 1. In ‘Gramineae’. (Government Printer:Perth)
  • Jacobs SWL, Whalley RDB, Wheeler DJB (2008) ‘Grasses of New South Wales (Fourth Edition).’ (University of New England: Armidale)
  • Sharp D, Simon BK (2002) AusGrass: grasses of Australia. CD-ROM, Version 1.0. (Australian Biological Resources Study: Canberra, and Environmental Protection Agency: Brisbane)
  • Simon BK (1993) ‘A Key to Australian Grasses.’ (Qld Dept Primary Industries: Brisbane)
  • Tothill JC, Hacker JB (1983) ‘The grasses of southern Queensland.’ (University of Queensland Press:St Lucia)

Related Pages

Kangaroo Grass © C.Gardiner JCU Townsville 2012

Kangaroo Grass © C.Gardiner JCU Townsville 2012