Plants of
South Australia
Digitaria divaricatissima var. divaricatissima
Finger Panic-grass,
Spider Grass
Display all 14 images
Distribution by Herbarium region
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier

Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 5

Prior names

Panicum divaricatissimum

Digitaria coenicola

Digitaria divaricatissima

Panicum coenicolum

Common names

Finger Panic-grass

Spider Grass


Digitaria from the Latin 'digitus' meaning finger, alluding to the digitate inflorescence. Divaricatissima from the Latin 'divarico' meaning spread out and '-issima' meaning most, alluding to the large and diffused panicle.

Distribution and status

Found scattered across the northern and eastern parts of South Australia, growing  in woodland on heavier soils prone to occasional flooding. Also found in all mainland states except in Western Australia. Native. Common in South Australia. Rare in Victoria. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Green Adelaide
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect tufted perennial grass to 80 cm high with swollen and densely hairy base. Leaves velutinous to glabrous (usually the lower leaves hairier than upper with blade flat, to 20 cm long and 7 mm wide. Inflorescence a panicle to 25 cm long, with widely spreading, angular branches. Lower ones whorled and at first erect, finally spreading and naked for 2-6 cm from the base. Spikelets to 2.5 mm long, villous with white silky hairs as long as and concealing the spikelets which are in pairs on unequal pedicels. First glume ovate, minute, the second 3-nerved. First lemma (sterile) 5-nerved, the second glume and the first lemma both villous and equal. Fertile lemma nearly as long, acute, smooth. Flowering between February and April. Seeds are brown ovoid grain with shiny and smooth surface. Seed embryo type is lateral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between March and June. Use hands to gently strip seeds off the mature seed spike that are turning purple-brown. Mature seeds will come off easily. Alternatively, you can 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. Seed viability is usually high.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA2,000 (1.22 g)25028-Jan-2010KHB360
Flinders Ranges
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.