Better Pasutures for the Tropics
Jarra digit grass
(Digitaria milanjiana)
  • vigorous creeping grass
  • persistent under heavy grazing
  • seeding type of pangola
  • nematode-resistant.

Digitaria milanjiana (Rendle) Stapf -
1. habit leafy culm;
2. inflorescence;
3. dorsal view to two spikelet types;
4. ventral view of two spikelet types.


Jarra digit grass was originally selected for resistance to the burrowing nematode, a serious econonic pest of bananas in north Queensland.

Jarra is a stoloniferous perennial with long mauvish coloured stolons, producing inflorescences 50-120 cm tall. These have hairless purple coloured nodes and bear typical digit seed-heads.

Jarra has spread on a range of soils from coarse granite sands to alluvial loams, growing best on fertile soils under high rainfall; however, it does not tolerate waterlogging. It has normally been planted after bananas from cuttings, giving rapid ground within 3 months in summer planting and so competing strongly against weeds. It sets reasonable yields of seed and so can be planted from seed. A grass rotation of 2 years will break the burrowing nematode cycle, but Jarra is also a useful pasture plant in the seasonally dry and wet coastal tropics.

Strickland is a new cultivar that has been selected for grazing under more subtropical conditions. It has both tufted and rhizomatous habis of growth.

Creator: Ian Partridge,
Date created: 14 April 1998  Revised: 15 January 2003

Better Pastures home page