Indian blue grass

Bothriochloa pertusa
(Photo: Forest and Kim Starr)
Grown as a turf (Photo: Gihan Jayaweera)
Seed heads (Photo: Col Middleton)
(Photo: Ian Staples)
(Photo: Bruce Cook)

may appear like turf if regularly mowed or grazed.

Common names 
Also known as: Pitted beard grass, Barbados sour grass, Antigua hay, Indian couch grass, hurricane grass,
Native to Eastern and Southern Asia
Council declaration 
SIL – Special Investigation List
Known distribution 

This species has been introduced into a number of countries accidentally and as a fodder species. This species was introduced into Queensland in 1939 as a potential fodder species. It is now an established invasive species in both the Northern Territory and central Queensland.


Tolerates light shade, but grows best in full sunlight. Does not grow well when shaded by taller pasture plants or weeds. Potential to establish along road ways, disturbed sites and open forest.


Bothriochloa pertusa is a sprawling stoloniferous perennial grass. The above ground biomass is secondary to the dense mat formed by this species stolon (runners) Stolons are often pink and regularly root at the nodes. Stolens can extend to 1.6m.

Impact and control methods 

Since its introduction in 1939 this grass has spread widely and appears to have formed monocultures across large areas within Queensland. The thick stoloniferous mat impedes or excludes many native species leading to a reduction in local biodiversity. Its thought that having much of this species biomass within the stolons provides this grass with an advantage in heavily grazed pasture.

Stem and leaves 

Stems are hollow and branch freely from 'knee like' nodes. Stems are between 60-100cm tall. Leaves are 10 to 30cm long and from 2 to 5mm wide, greyish green, with scattered, elongate, papillose-based hairs along margins and above ligule. Inflorescences terminal, often purplish,... 2-5cm long

Flowers and fruits 

The grass produces terminal, purplish flower racemes up to 7cm in length. Flowereing time can vary from 'early flowering' (January) to late flowering (May) depending on the cultivated variety or strain.

Reproduction and dispersal 

B.pertusa reproduces from seed and via stolons (runners) and can form dense matts excluding other species. Seed production in a grazed pasture in Australia was recorded as 840-1070 per m2 (McIvor et al., 1996) seed viability rapidly declines over a 48 month The fluffy seeds adhere to animal fur and thus aid the spread of the plant