Pampas grass is our featured pest plant this month, because right now its seed heads are evident everywhere in our district. The plants form large grassy clumps with a dead leaf base. Its erect and bushy flower heads are quite attractive and easily recognised, emerging January to March, but unfortunately they are prolific producers of seeds which then blow everywhere and colonise any open or disturbed ground. Volunteers at the Sanctuary have found lots growing amongst the native seedlings planted out last year.
Pampas grass is commonly mistaken for the native toetoe, but this has drooping and yellowish flower heads whereas pampas flowers are erect and white or slightly purple. Also the live leaves of pampas are easily pulled off (don’t cut yourself – it’s also known as cutty grass) and dead leaves curl into spirals, whereas toetoe leaves don’t do either.
Smallish plants can be dug out or sprayed, but large ones need a chainsaw or bulldozer! Please don’t let any take hold near you. As usual you can find more information on the Weedbusters website.