Long-style feather grass (Cenchrus longisetus)

Also known as: feathertop grass, white foxtail grass

Long-style feather grass is a tufted grass with prominent feathery seed heads. It is not eaten by livestock and can take over pastures.


How does this weed affect you?

Long-style feather grass has been frequently cultivated as an ornamental grass in Australia, and is often a weed of footpaths and vacant land.  It is unpalatable to stock and able to increase in infested pastures.

What does it look like?

Long-style feather grass is a densely tufted rhizomatous perennial grass growing to 90 centimetres high. It is distinguished by dense, cylindrical seed heads up to 12 centimetres long and 2 centimetres wide, surrounded at their bases with light green or white bristles up to 7 centimetres long. It has dense branching roots up to 60 cm deep.

Scientific name change

This plant was previously named Pennisetum villosum.

Where is it found?

Long-style feather grass can grow in arid and semi-arid climates if there is enough water available. It is often found along waterways and disturbed sites such as roadsides. It is scattered across many parts of NSW.

Long-style feather grass is native to northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.


Parsons, W.T., & Cuthbertson, E. G. (2001). Noxious weeds of Australia. CSIRO publishing.

PlantNET (The NSW Plant Information Network System). Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney. Retrieved 16 March 2021 from: https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Cenchrus~longisetus

More information

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Herbicide options

Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.

PERMIT 9792 Expires 30/11/2025
Flupropanate 745 g/L (Tussock®)
Rate: 300 mL per 100 L of water
Comments: Spot spray application
Withholding period: Spot spray: Do NOT graze or cut for stock feed for at least 14 days. Blanket spray: Do NOT graze, or cut for stock feed for at least 4 months. If stock are grazed in treated areas after required time has passed, remove stock from treated areas and do NOT slaughter or milk for human consumption until they have been on clean feed for at least 14 days.
Herbicide group: 15 (previously group J), Inhibition of very long chain fatty acid synthesis (VLCFA inhibitors)
Resistance risk: Moderate

PERMIT 9792 Expires 30/11/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: 1 L in 100 L of water
Comments: Spot spray application. Apply when plant is actively growing.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: 9 (previously group M), Inhibition of 5-enolpyruvyl shikimate-3 phosphate synthase (EPSP inhibition)
Resistance risk: Moderate

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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All pest plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.

Reviewed 2024