Briza maxima, Large Quaking-grass

Grasses and Sedges
Scientific Name
Briza maxima
Common Name/s
Large Quaking-grass
Weed Information

Threat: High threat environmental weed.

Description: A sparsely tufted, upright mid-green short-lived annual grass that grows 10–65cm tall. It has distinctive, blow fly-like, nodding flowering heads. Reproduction is by seed.

Flowers: Pale brown and hairy, loose and finely branched with nodding, shell-like spikelets which rattle in the wind. Large flower spikelets vary in number (between three and 12) and size (7–25mm long) and lack awns. Flowers in spring to early summer.

Leaves and stems: Few leaves in loose basal tufts which tend to wither at flowering. Leaf blades narrow and flattish, pale green and slightly twisted, sometimes blotched appearance.

Note: It can displace orchids, herbs and grasses within a few years and reduces the species richness of indigenous vegetation. Has a significant impact to the threatened Eltham Copper Butterfly (Paraluciapyrodiscus lucida), due to its ability to out compete and prevent regeneration of Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa), the native food plant of this rare butterfly. Can significantly increase fuel loads and associated fire risk. Easily spread via water, wind, mammals and slashing. Seed bank can persist for up to three years.

Control measures: Hand weeding, spot-burning and spot spraying.

Dispersal: Birds.