Fine stem is easily establised by oversowing on these sandy-surfaced soils, and
although a specific inoculant is recommended, it seems to be rarely used as the plants do
Fine stem has small pointed leaves on fine stems covered with sparse fine hairs about 3
mm long. Its buried crown protects the plant from fire, frost and heavy grazing, making it
well suited to extensive management.
Fine stem stylo has an extended flowering period, producing a new flower, and hence a
new seed, each day from September to May, with peaks of production in December-January and
April-May. Unless irrigated early in the season, the lack of height in the plant by
December makes mechanical harvest difficult; however, even heavily grazed plants continue
to flower over a long period, and the seed is spread through stock.
Fine stem is quite palatable and tends to be grazed heavily; this often puts excessive
pressure on the associated native grasses leading to patches of pure legume and subsequent
weed invasion. Fine stem has not been affected by anthracnose.
There is only one type of fine stem; this is sometimes referred to as Oxley
after an early selection programme, but would more accurately be called `common'.