Purple pampas grass
|Botanical Name||Cortaderia jubata|
DescriptionTall cutting grass with large fluffy seed heads. Flowers late January, always bright purple fading to dirty brown. Can be distinguished from native species by its large size and erect flower heads. Introduced species have leaves which curl at the base of the plant when they are dead. Native toetoe is easily distinguished by the waxy surface on the leaf sheaths and also the golden flower heads. Can be confused with pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) which flowers later and has a flower head more variable in shape and colour. The leaves of purple pampas are deep green on both surfaces and the sheaths of mature plants have long hairs. It is often a smaller plant when mature and the majority of the leaf tips will touch the ground, whereas in C. selloana most of the leaf tips are at various heights above the ground.
Where is it found?Key communities are coastal and lowland shrub and forest margins, sand dunes and hinterland, cliffs, bluffs, riverbeds, inshore islands and coastal areas, disturbed forest and shrublands, sand dunes, roadsides, railway lines, farm hedges, quarries, wasteland, exotic plantations. Widespread and abundant.
Why is it a problem?Invades disturbed areas and open rocky sites. Spreads quickly. Competes with and smothers other vegetation. Creates a fire hazard with excessive build-up of dry material (dry leaves, leaf bases and flowering stalks). Impacted in particular are plants growing in rocklands e.g. coastal cliffs, coastal dunes etc. A threat to islands as dense colonies can form.
How does it spread?Seed dispersed by gravity, wind, vertebrate animals. Pampas has no set routes of dispersal. Harvesting of exotic plantations creates opportunity for seed germination. Grazing of cattle on coastal dunes in pine forests causes problems as cattle eat the native toetoe allowing displacement by introduced species. Large seed production per plant.
How do I get rid of it?
Small plants are easily grubbed out. Control large areas of infestation by grazing cattle in the area i.e. in pine plantations and wastelands (see warning above). Remove large plants with a digger.
Compost or mulch.
Can be sprayed using Gallant or Glyphosate + Penetrant. Complete coverage is required to achieve good results. Alternatively graze, cut or burn foliage and spray regrowth. Control exacerbates fire hazard.
(i) Glyphosate + Penetrant
Rate - 1.5 litres Glyphosate + 200 ml Penetrant/100 litres water.
(ii) Gallant (Controls grasses and some sedges; ineffective on broadleaf spp.)
Rate - Handgun 1 litre Gallant + 500 ml Uptake oil or crop oil/100 litres water. Knapsack 150 mls Gallant + 50 ml crop oil/10 litres water.
Grub out small plants. For larger infestations spray with Gallant or Glyphosate.
Pampas should be distinguished from native toetoe to protect native species from destruction.
This plant is prohibited from propagation, sale and distribution within New Zealand!