Scientific name(s)
Plant description
Pasture type and use
Where it grows
Animal production
Further information
Author and date
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Indian Bluegrass

Scientific name(s)

Bothriochloa pertusa



Plant description

Plant: A stoloniferous, mat-forming perennial, 30 - 60 cm tall.

Stems: Stolons commonly red or pink, rooting down at nodes. Nodes hairless or hairy. Stems erect, or prostrate becoming erect.

Leaves: Grey-green in colour, the blades 5 - 10 cm long, 2.5 - 5 mm wide. Leaf blade surface is usually hairless except for a few sparse hairs at the base.

Seedhead:  Comprise 3 - 8 branches arising from different points on a central axis, 1 - 3 cm long, and purplish in colour.

Seeds:  Often pitted, with a sharply bent and twisted awn, 10-18 mm long; 1.0 - 1.5 million seeds/kg.

Pasture type and use

Indian bluegrass is suitable as a permanent pasture on poorer soils. It can be cut for hay. It is used for erosion control, reseeding eroded land, waterways, revegetating mine waste and for lawns, sown by seed or from sprigs.

Where it grows


It is usually sown in areas receiving 600 - 900 mm/yr, but is naturalised in areas outside these limits.


It is adapted to low fertility, acid to alkaline soils, from sands to clays. It colonises poorer soils when tufted grasses succumb to heavy grazing.


It grows during the warm season and tops are killed by heavy frost.


Companion species

Grasses: sabi grass, queensland blue couch.

Legumes: roundleaf cassia, jointvetch, lotononis, fine stem stylo, caribbean stylo.

Sowing/planting rates as single species

2 - 3 kg/ha.

Sowing/planting rates in mixtures

1 - 2 kg/ha.

Sowing time

While it can be sown from spring to late summer, it is best sown in spring when annual weeds are minimal, or in mid-summer if spring fallow is required to minimise annual grass and broadleaf weeds before sowing.


Not applicable


No fertiliser is required for establishment on suitable soils.


Maintenance fertliser

It has a low requirement for plant nutrients for stand persistence, with production usually limited by moisture availability. Suitable soils rarely need additional phosphorus but nitrogen fertiliser increases production, especially on run-down cropping land. Sulphur may be needed on some basalt soils if high rates of nitrogen are applied.


It is suitable for grazing and hay production.

Seed production

Seed can be harvested by header or brush harvester. Seed yields of 100 - 150 kg/ha can be obtained. Fertiliser application of 100 kg N/ha is required for good seed yield.

Ability to spread

It spreads by seed and expands by long stolons that root down at nodes.

Weed potential

It is regarded as a weed of pastures in some areas, although this is usually a symptom of declining fertility and heavy grazing.

Major pests

No major pests known.

Major diseases

Rust and ergot are observed in some varieties or naturalised ecotypes but cause only minor problems in grazed swards or in seed crops.

Herbicide susceptibility

It is killed by glyphosate and is tolerant of atrazine.

Animal production

Feeding value

Quality declines with increasing maturity, especially after flowering. Crude protein levels in young leaf may be 12% but as low as 3% in mature pasture.


It is particularly well eaten when young and leafy but not so well when mature.

Production potential

Generally low yields of 1 - 5 t/ha DM are achieved, because of the poor soils on which it is naturalised or on which it is sown in lower rainfall environments. Cattle produce from 80 - 140 kg liveweight gain/hd/yr at about 1 steer/ha.

Livestock disorders/toxicity

No toxicity has been reported.


Cultivar Seed source/Information
Dawson Selected Seeds
Medway Selected Seeds
Bowen DPI&F Note
Keppel DPI&F Note

 Denotes that this variety is protected by Plant Breeder's Rights Australia

Further information

Grassland Species Profiles
Tropical Forages database (SoFT) - Indian bluegrass



Author and date

Dr. Walter Scattini

December 2008