Hyparrhenia hirta

Hyparrhenia hirta

Common Names

Thatching Grass (english)
Gewone Dekgras (afrikaans)
Morulela (tswana)
intunga (zulu)

Taxonomy

Family POACEAE
Genus Hyparrhenia
Species hirta
SA Plant Number
Basionym Hyparrhenia hirta

Description

Hyparrhenia hirta is a very hardy, evergreen, large, dense, tufted, perennial grass that develops beautiful autumn colours. It bears insignificant flowers from September to June.

It is one of the best host plants for butterflies and moths – butterflies such as Aeropetes tulbaghia (Mountain Beauty), Dira clytus (Cape Autumn Widow), Tarsocera cassus (Spring Widow), and the beautiful Rosy Pink moth, Decachorda rosea. It is palatable before flowering. Thereafter, it is cut and used as thatching grass.

It becomes dominant in disturbed areas. In the garden, use as a backdrop, a screen or as an element in a grassland garden.

As with all grasses, to keep it healthy, it should be cut back once a year and raked to remove the thatch. Plant in sun or semi-shade in well-drained soil, but it will tolerate heavier soils where it sometimes grows along riverbanks.

Size: Flowering stem up to 1.5m

Wildlife

Butterfly Host Plant:

It is one of the best host plants for butterflies and moths, namely butterflies such as Aeropetes tulbaghia (Mountain Beauty), Dira clytus (Cape Autumn Widow), Tarsocera cassus (Spring Widow), and the beautiful Rosy Pink moth, Decachorda rosea.

Uses

Traditional:

Used extensively for thatching.

Distribution

Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal, Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Western Cape

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