Mexican Feather Grass

South America

General description

Perennial, densely tufted tussock grass < 70 cm tall. Flowerhead is feathery, erect when young, weeping when mature and borne in spring. Seeds are rough-coated with a tufted hair at base.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell Mexican feather grass. As Mexican feather grass is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant Mexican feather grass within the Auckland region.
Auckland Council will control Mexican feather grass at all sites where it is known to occur.

If you see Mexican feather grass anywhere in the Auckland region, please report it to Auckland Council at

Pastures, open and disturbed habitats, grasslands, coastal areas, roadsides, wasteland.

Seeds dispersed by wind, water and attachment to animal pelts. Human-mediated dispersal through contamination of clothing, footwear and machinery.

Potential to outcompete native plants in coastal habitats and affect native fauna by altering habitat structure. Unpalatable to livestock and selective grazing may displace valuable pasture species.

Site Management

Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species. Please report to Auckland Council.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

nassella tussock
Nassella trichotoma

Nasella tussock has brighter green leaves and larger projection on base of floret (3-4mm). The awn (the long bristle-like appendage extending from the end of the seed) is 4.5 to 9 cm long in N. tenuissima; 2 to 3.5 cm in N. trichotoma.

Chilean needle grass
Nassella neesiana

Chilean needle grass has much broader leaves. The awn (the long bristle-like appendage extending from the end of the seed) is 4.5 to 9 cm long in N. tenuissima and 6 to 9 cm long in N. neesiana.

RPMP status

National Pest Plant Accord Species
Whole region (Eradication)
Mexican feather grass - Main species image