Plants of
South Australia
Bothriochloa macra
Red-leg Grass
Display all 14 images
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Display IBRA region text

Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 4.


Bothriochloa from the Greek 'bothrion' meaning little furrow or pit and 'chloe' meaning grass, referring to the distinctive discoloured groove in the joints. Macra from the Greek 'macros' meaning large.

Distribution and status

Found mainly in the southern part of South Australia south of Port Augusta but with a few scattered records further north in grasslands and grassy woodland communities but often in degraded sites. Also found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Uncommon in Tasmania and Queensland,. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Perennial grass, glabrous except for the inflorescence, with slender stems, usually reddish-purple to 80 cm high. Leaf blades flat to 20cm long, approximately 3 mm wide; sparsely hairy, green, sometimes with maroon colouring at the tips. Inflorescence a simple panicle to 8cm long with racemes to 6 cm long. Flowering between December and April. Fruits are lower glume loosely hairy or rarely glabrous, usually with a pit; upper glume slightly smaller, smooth. Lower lemma lanceolate-oblong to ovate to lanceolate, jagged at the apex, about 75% as long as the glumes. Fertile lemma stipe-like and half the length of glumes. Awn to 2.5 cm long, brown, geniculate. Seeds are yellow-brown grain to 2.5 mm long Seed embryo type is lateral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between December and March. Collect seed when the grass stems are reddish-purple in colour and when spikelets at the tips of the seed heads are just beginning to fall off. Use hands to gently strip seeds off the mature seed spike. Mature seeds will come off easily. Alternatively, break off the whole seed spike. Place the seeds/spike in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. No further cleaning is required if only seed collected. If seed spikes collected, use hand to strip off the mature seeds. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. From one collection, the seed viability was average, at 70%

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage

3,950 (9.09 g)
Northern Lofty
BGA6,700 (13.2 g)200+10-Feb-2011DJD2125
South Eastern
BGA5,400 (8,26 g)50+8-Mar-2017DJD3643
Southern Lofty
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.
Germination table: