Caterpiller Grass

© Roger de la Harpe


Caterpillar grass - Harpochloa falx

Caterpillar grass derives its name from the caterpillar-shaped flowers it produces in summer. This plant is a thickly tufted perennial, in a cluster like a form to around 500 mm in height. The leaves are often rolled and are coarse, narrow, and dark green in colour. In frostless areas, this grass will remain green year round. In summer months caterpillar grass flowers on stalks around 750 mm in length.

Caterpillar Grass Uses

Caterpillar grass is very palatable to wild game and domestic livestock and can withstand close grazing and trampling. The grass and its inflorescence are sometimes used in flower arrangements.

Caterpillar Grass Habitat

In South Africa, caterpillar grass is found in throughout the country, except in the Western and Northern Cape, as this grass prefers areas with higher rainfall.


Caterpillar grass flowers from September to April.

Field Notes

Caterpillar grass is wind pollinated, like most grasses. The anthers produce pollen, which is wind carried to the feathery stigmas.