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Para grass
(Brachiaria mutica)

Para - illustration  
  • trailing grass
  • very tolerant of waterlogged conditions
  • planted from runners or seed
  • grows best in warm conditions
  • cold sensitive.


Brachiaria mutica (Porssk.) Stapf -
1 culm with leaves;
2 ligule;
3 infloresence;
4 part of raceme;
5 spikelet.




Para grass grows well under warm, moist conditions, and has naturalised in many swampy areas. It is planted mostly in ponded pasture systems especially in coastal areas, but will also grow inland where the body of water prevents frosting. However, it is intolerant of cold and frosts badly.

Its trailing runners root freely at the nodes and may grow 4 m in one summer. Erect shoots from the nodes bear broad hairy leaves up to 30 cm in length, while the root system is shallow and fibrous.

Para will grow in virtually any wet soil, but responds to good fertility. It is often found with phasey bean in swamps, but will combine with centro and puero in better drained areas. Once well established, para grass may be stocked fairly heavily, but cattle often strip off the leaves, leaving bare stems.

Ponded pastures for dry season grazing can have a significant effect on stock carrying capacity, stock survival and age of turnoff. Para grass is usually established from cuttings, although seed is available.

In water deeper than 30 cm, other wet-land grasses, such as aleman grass are used.

All introduced water-grasses are now considered 'environmental weeds' in Queensland, and State government policy restricts planting para and other species such as Aleman grass and Hymenachne in sensitive wetlands.

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

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