Mitchell Grass

Mitchell Grass

Scientific name Astrebla lappacea Common name(s) Mitchell Grass
Synonym(s) Varieties Yanda Curly Mitchell grass (Astrebla lappacea)
Barley mitchell grass (Astrebla pectinata

There are several species of Mitchell grass, two of the most common being Curly Mitchell grass and Barley Mitchell grass. Curly Mitchell grass is a dense tufted perennial which grows in summer. It is long lived (20-30 years), very deep rooted and grows 30-90 cm high. When in flower, Mitchell grass has a spiked flowerhead 5-30 cm long with spikelets arranged in two regular rows, one each side.
Barley Mitchell grass is very similar, the most observable difference being in the flowerhead. Barley Mitchell grass appears to mature slightly later than Curly Mitchell grass and comes into head about a month later. Barley Mitchell grass has a short wide spike with closely packed spiklets. Both of these grasses can regenerate from their crown, which is usually located within the topsoil. Often after prolonged grazing little can be seen of the plants, but these will usually regenerate with summer rainfall.

Tolerance Drought resistant
Low tolerance to flooding
Soil Mitchell grass grows on floodplains with grey self mulching clay soils. It also grows on the brown and grey clay cracking soils as well as red alkaline clays. It is sometimes found on desert loams.

For optimum germination and growth, temperatures between 25°C and 35°C are required. The best times to sow are in September to October or in late January. To germinate and grow well, it requires follow-up rain at about six weeks. It grows best in warm, wet conditions.

Sowing rate Sow florets at a rate of 1 -2 kg per hectare for pasture
Uses Pasture
Revegetation and land rehabilitation

Mitchell Grass Out of Stock
Distribution map of mitchell grass (asterbla lappacea)

Mitchell grass distribution
Mitchell grass is found in the arid and semi-arid areas of inland Australia in areas which receive an annual rainfall of between 250 to 550mm. It occurs naturally in the downs and rangelands in north-western NSW, and in NT, SA, WA and north and west Queensland. Broken Hill is its most southerly limit. It is commonly found on the floodplains of the upper Darling River and its tributaries.

Curly Mitchell grass common in northern Australia.

Curly Mitchell grass (Astrebla lappacea)