Grass Varieties in South Africa

© Shem Compion

There is more to grass than your normal garden grass varieties in South Africa - although grass is the most common, overlooked plant in the world, it is surprisingly unique.

There are various South African grass species that grow in the ecosystems of South Africa, that play an important role in the balance of an animal's diet and other plant growth. explores all the grass species that thrive in different regions of the country, from stinking grass to creeping bristle grass.

Learn more about South African grass varieties.

Caterpiller Grass

Caterpillar grass is very palatable to wild game and domestic livestock and can withstand close grazing and trampling....more

Cats Tail

In South Africa, cat’s tail grass can be found growing in Limpopo. It grows in compacted, nutrient poor and sandy soils – often in disturbed environments....more

Common Finger Grass

Common finger grass is perennial, reaching a height of about 1.8 m. It inflorescence has three to 15 points which grow at the culm tip in coils....more


Cordgrass is regarded as an invasive plant in Southern Africa because of its secluded status on the West Coast; it is a common grass found in...more

Creeping Bristle Grass

The creeping bristle grass is a palatable perennial. It reaches a length of 0.5 m, its leaves growing densely closer to the base. It is tufted, at times, and its rhizomes are short....more

Curly Leaf Grass

The curly leaf grass is perennial, reaching a length of about 1 m. Its inflorescence is a panicle and its leaves are open, dry and curly. The lower branches of the grass grows in a whorl...more

Foxtail Buffalo Grass

Foxtail buffalo grass is a perennial that reaches a height of about 1 m, its blades being 8 mm in width. This grass is tufted and its inflorescence is a thick cylindrical spike....more

Guinea Grass

Guinea grass is a perennial and its leaf blades are 30 mm wide. Its spikelets vary in colour from green to purple – especially when it is exposed to direct sunlight....more

LM Berea Grass

LM grass is a perennial grass and one of the most popular grasses grown in South Africa for garden lawns. The inflorescence has two or three spikes at its tip....more

Narrow Leaved Turpentine Grass

The narrow-leaved turpentine grass is perennial, its blades being 2 to 5 mm wide. The inflorescence is a false panicle consisting of up to eight pair spikes....more

Nine Awned Grass

The nine-awned grass grows about 1 m in height. Its inflorescence is thick and has a hairy panicle that narrows to a sharp point. The nodes are covered in dense hairs as well....more

Red Grass

Red grass reaches a length of up to 1.5 m with leaf blades of 8 mm. It is a tufted perennial. Its inflorescence is a false panicle, hanging downward with spikes formed in a V-shape. During summer the grass is palatable...more

Spear Grass

Spear grass is perennial and grows quickly, reaching a height of 1 m. Its inflorescence is a singular raceme which is often covered in hairs, with long, soft, brown, tangled awns....more

Stinking Grass

Stinking grass is perennial and tufted. It grows in a spreading, shrub-like manner yet does not grow very upright. Its leaves are blue-green in colour and are only eaten when the growth is still new....more

Vlei Bristle Grass

Vlei bristlegrass is dense, perennial and tufted. Its rhizomes are thick and short, and its leaf sheaths long and rounded. Its inflorescence is a thick panicle in the form of a spike...more