Plant with seed

Seed head

Seed up close

Seed head variations

Stems pulled back to reveal ligules - Microlaena left, Ehrharta right.

Ehrharta on left, Entolasia on right

Ehrharta left, Entolasia right

Microlaena left, Ehrharta right

Close up Microlaena seed

Scientific Name

Ehrharta erecta Lam.



Common Names

panic veldt grass


South Africa




Distinguishing Characteristics

This is a tufted grass that can grow up to 0.6m high. Will grow almost anywhere even in shady positions. It especially likes moist conditions.

Leaves are soft and often a paler shade of green than surrounding grasses. They are hairless and mostly smooth. The ligule between the leaf and stalk is a membrane between 4 and 7 mm long.

The seed head (panicle) is usually erect and 6 to 20cm long. The seed head can be seen above the grass and the seeds are green and oval in shape. It flowers in Spring and Summer. These plants grow vigorously and seed prolifically, sometimes all year round.

The seed forms on this grass in a very short timeframe possibly in as little as a few weeks. To locate this grass it is easiest to find the seed heads above the grass and track back to the base of the plant for removal. The roots are fine and easy to remove, however care should be taken that the whole plant is removed as they have a tendency to break off above the roots or split in two. To eradicate this grass thorough and regular hand removal is required. May be sprayed with glyphosate if not growing amongst natives.



Other plants easily confused with this plant

This grass can be easily confused with Entolasia marginata as they have very similar seed heads. On closer examination the plants are quite different, Entolasia  is courser and has leaves at right angle to the stem. The seed heads of Entolasia are denser, slightly larger and a stronger colour of green.

Microlaena stipoides is also easily confused. Microlaena has weeping seed heads and the seeds are long and pointed (2 awns). The leaves of Microlaena are generally thinner, rougher and slightly darker green. The ligule between the leaf and stem is much less prominent on Microlaena - both have hairs.


Sources & References

"Plantnet FloraOnline"  (2005)

"Grasses of Temperate Australia" by C.A. Lamp, S. J. Forbes, J. W. Cade


Prepared by Justin KY Chu, July 2005

Checked by IEWF, June 2006