Family name: Poaceae
Common name: Tussock paspalum
Category: 1a NEMBA

Paspalum quadrifarium


Paspalum quadrifarium is a coarse perennial grass, 2 m high, growing in large bluish-green bunches. Rhizome short, stem compact. Leaves with longitudinal prominence on the back, 15-40 cm long and 5-8 cm wide. Inflorescence in clusters of 40, rust coloured, 12-30 cm long. Flowers and seeds produced twice a year.


Native to Uruguay, Argentina and Southern Brazil, declared as a noxious weed in Australia, Southeastern United States and coastal Italy.

History in South Africa

Tussock paspalum was probably introduced in South Africa as an ornamental and horticultural grass. It has been recorded in KwaZulu-Natal, from the Melmoth area along N2 between Kokstad and Port Shepstone and along R56 in Richmond and Pietermaritzburg.

How it spreads

Tussock paspalum spreads rapidly through rhizomes and seeds.

Environmental and economic impact

Tussock paspalum is an aggressive grass which forms dense infestations. Rhizomes spread horizontally and produce suckers, which form a large dense clump, thus outcompeting native plants. Invades river banks, lake shores, roadsides, valleys and agricultural plantations.

How to eradicate

Tussock paspalum is currently controlled by uprooting. There are no herbicides registered for this species in South Africa.

What can you do to help?

Report sightings of these plants to the Early Detection and Rapid Response Programme (EDRR) at SANBI. We will need to know its locality (the exact locality, supply any landmarks or GPS information if possible).

For more information, please contact:

Alex Marsh or Ruqaya Adams

Tel: +27 21 799 8403/4



Francois de Wet


  •  Riefner, R.E. et al.2010. Paspalum pubiflorum and Paspalum quadrifarium (Poaceae) new to California, with a key and notes on invasive species. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 4: 761-770. Available on
  • Invasive species in South Africa. (2010). Paspalum quadrifarium. Working for water nursery partnership programme. South Africa. Available on
  •  USDA, NRCS. 2010. The plants database. National Plant Data Centre. Available on
  •  South African Plant Invaders Atlas. 2010. SAPIA News no. 7. ARC-Plant Protection Research Institute. Available on
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