Floren bluegrass

Scientific name(s)
Dichanthium aristatum


  • Suited to heavy textured soils including cracking clays.
  • Tolerant of two weeks or more inundation.
  • Salt tolerant.
  • Palatable all livestock.
  • Tolerates heavy grazing and assumes a prostrate growth habit.
  • Persists under low soil nitrogen availability.
  • Provides a good ground cover that protects soil from erosion
    and minimises weed growth.
  • Moderately shade tolerant.
  • Able to suppress invasive weeds such as Lippia in flood-plain areas.


  • Relatively low seedling vigour compared with vigorous grasses
    such as rhodes grass.
  • Low forage production in unfertilised old stands,
    especially those heavily grazed.
  • Competitive with legumes such as annual medics and desmanthus.

Plant description

Plant: A perennial tussock grass with slender stems and varying degrees of stolon development. Young plants are prostrate to semi-erect with foliage to 80 cm high, becoming erect at maturity.

Stems: Stems are initially prostrate then becoming erect, 1-1.8 m long at maturity with or without short woolly nodes. Flowering stems in most ecotypes have dense, short hairs for 1.5-2.5 cm immediately below the inflorescence (the variety ‘Floren’ has sparse hairs).

Leaves: Leaf blades are up to 25 cm long and 8 mm wide.

Bare approx. 750,000 seeds/kg.
Coated (2:1) approx. 250,000 seeds/kg

Seedhead: A panicle with 2-5 branches, sometimes only 1 under unfavourable conditions, 2-8 cm long and hairy at base. Awns on seed are 16-30 mm long.

Pasture type and use

Sub-tropical permanent pasture, particularly in seasonally flooded or waterlogged land, and also used in non-flooded situations. Suitable for grazing and for hay. Good for waterway and bank stabilisation and suppression of invasive weeds such as lippia in flood-plain areas.

Where it grows

Floren is moderately drought tolerant and can be killed by prolonged dry conditions. It is usually sown in areas receiving 750-1400 mm/yr.

It is one of the few introduced warm season grasses suited to very heavy black, self-mulching clays with alkaline pH but is adapted to a wider range of soils including moderately acid red and black clays, clay loams and loams. It tolerates waterlogging.

Floren produces little growth in spring in the subtropics but good summer-autumn feed and tops may burn off after frost.


Companion species
Grasses: Strickland, creeping bluegrass, Bambatsi and purple pigeon grass.

Legumes: lucerne, annual medics, desmanthus.

Sowing/planting rates as single species
2-4 kg/ha bare seed and 6-12 kg/ha coated seed depending on coat weight. Slightly chaffy but not difficult to sow using most conventional seeders. Some find sowing easier using a starter fertiliser to help the seed to flow better.

Sowing/planting rates in mixtures
1-2 kg/ha bare seed and 3-6 kg/ha coated seed depending on coat weight.

Sowing time
It can be sown from spring to late summer. It is best sown in spring if weeds, especially annual grass weeds, are controlled or minimal, or in late-summer. It establishes well from seed broadcast onto a cultivated seedbed or dropped on surface in furrow and followed by press-wheels.cultivated seedbed or dropped on surface in furrow and followed by press-wheels.

Not applicable

No fertiliser is required to establish Floren in suitable soils.


Maintenance fertiliser
Application of 100 kg N/ha will greatly increase dry matter production and 20 kg S/ha may be needed to maximise response on some heavy clay soils. Phosphorus may be required if soil analysis or previous experience indicates a need.

Floren is tolerant of heavy grazing. It can be cut for hay.

Ability to spread
It spreads by seed and expands slowly by stolons.

Weed potential
It will invade degraded native pasture and on roadsides subject to soil disturbance from grading. It is not a significant weed in cropping.

Major pests
No major pests are known.

Herbicide susceptibility
It is killed by glyphosate and is tolerant of atrazine.

Animal production

Feeding value
The growth of cattle grazing tropical pasture grasses, including Floren is limited by low dry matter digestibility, especially in winter. Supplementary nitrogen in diet will increase feed intake in deficient situations.

Vegetative growth is very palatable and palatability declines as flowering stems mature in autumn and dry off in winter, especially after frost.

Production potential
Liveweight gains of about 1-1.5 kg/hd/day in summer and negative to small losses in winter are expected from cattle.

Livestock disorders/toxicity
No health problems are known in grazing livestock.