T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Microlaena stipoides (Weeping rice grass)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Monocots
(Unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Microlaena
Species: M. stipoides
Synonym:  Ehrharta stipoides
Binomial name: Microlaena stipoides
Common names: Rice grass, Weeping grass, Weeping rice grass, Weeping meadow grass, Slender rice grass, pātītī 

Microlaena stipoides is a species of grass that occurs naturally New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines and in all states of Australia. Microlaena stipoides grows to a height of approximately 0.7 metres and produces delicate drooping stalks carrying the spikelets which contain seeds. The naked caryopses (grains) are similar in shape to rice grains but smaller, approximately 5 mm long, with a mass that varies widely, ranging from 1 mg to 7 mg. Microlaena stipoides prefers acidic soils and is drought and frost-tolerant.
Microlaena stipoides produces nutritious pasture for grazing livestock with productivity of approximately 2-7 tonnes per hectare and digestibility of approximately 60-70%.