Photo guide to weeds

Para grass (Urochloa mutica)

  • Para grass close up - acknowledgement Sheldon Navie
  • Para grass infestation - acknowledgement Sheldon Navie

General information

Para grass is a semi-aquatic plant and a common weed in many cane-growing areas. Para grass has been used in tropical locations as a fodder species, especially as a ponded pasture in beef production.

Overview

Scientific name Urochloa mutica
Description
  • Perennial grass grows up to 1m high.
  • Creeping, prostrate growth habit.
  • Stems are hollow and robust.
  • Stems stand erect towards the ends and sprout new roots wherever the nodes touch the ground.
  • Leaf blades are hairy, dark green, usually up to 15cm long and less than 1cm wide and taper to a long, fine point.
  • Flower heads are up to 18cm long and made up of several spikes, each about 5cm long.
  • Seeds cluster thickly along each spike.
Habitat
  • Aggressive growth in low-lying ungrazed areas and in sugar cane crops
  • Often found in wet situations, especially drains, but will also grow in deep soils in non-swampy areas.
Distribution
  • Native to tropical Africa.
  • Introduced into Queensland around 1880 to reduce soil erosion along banks of waterways.
  • Found throughout much of coastal and sub-coastal Queensland.
Life cycle
  • Flowers mostly during summer and autumn.
Spread
  • Seeds can spread by floodwaters and animals.
Impacts

Environmental

  • Invades areas of disturbed remnant vegetation on suitable soils and cane-growing areas.
  • Very aggressive invader, significantly displacing native plants.
  • Potential threat to natural wetland ecosystems.
Prevention

The best form of weed control is prevention. Treat weed infestations when they are small - do not allow weeds to establish.
Ways to prevent weed spread 

Control

Physical control

  • Grazing para grass prevents it dominating other vegetation.

Herbicide control

  • Herbicides are effective.

See the para grass fact sheet (PDF, 200KB) for herbicide control and application rates.

Biological control

There is no biological control agent available for this plant.

Declaration details
  • not a declared species under Queensland legislation but may be declared under local government law

Last updated 26 February 2014