Spear Grass

© Spear Grass

Latin Name

Heteropogon contortus


Spear Grass is only palatable early in the summer, after which it becomes hard and less acceptable for grazing. The awns often penetrate the woolly coats of sheep and decrease the quality of the wool.


Length up to 1 m. Spear Grass is a perennial and quite a fast-growing grass. Utilization is by most grazers. Inflorescence a single green raceme (often hairy) with long, brown, velvety, intertwined awns. Leaf sheaths are compressed and awns curl when dry and tend to cluster together.


Spear Grass grows in well-drained, stony soils and in open areas. The twisted seed-heads are often seen along roadsides. Can be seen growing in the Limpopo Province and the Kruger National Park in South Africa.


October - March

Field Notes

Spear Grass is a valuable fodder grass although it does have its disadvantages. In parts of the world such as Australia the grass is responsible for wiping out the wool industry in some regions of the country due to the seed damaging the wool after becoming entangled.

Kruger National Park - South African Safari