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Bunch grass


Bunch grass

Tussock grasses or bunch grasses are found as native plants in natural ecosystems, as forage in pastures, and as ornamental grasses in gardens.[1][2][3] Tussock and bunch grasses, in the Poaceae family, are grasses that usually grow as singular plants in clumps, tufts, hummocks, or bunches, rather than forming a sod or lawn, in meadows, grasslands, and prairies. As perennial plants usually, they live more than one season.

Many species have long roots that may reach 2-metre (6.6 ft) or more into the soil, which can aid slope stabilization, erosion control, and soil porosity for precipitation absorption. Also, their roots can reach moisture more deeply than other grasses and annual plants during seasonal or climatic droughts. The plants provide habitat and food for insects (including Lepidoptera), birds, small animals and larger herbivores, and support beneficial soil mycorrhiza. The leaves supply material, such as for basket weaving, for indigenous peoples and contemporary artists.

Tussock and bunch grasses occur in almost any habitat where other grasses are found, including: grasslands, savannas and prairies, wetlands and estuaries, riparian zones, shrublands and scrublands, woodlands and forests, montane and alpine zones, tundra and dunes, and deserts.

Fire resistance

In western North American wildfires, bunch grasses tend to smolder and not ignite into flames, unlike invasive species of annual grasses that contribute to a fire's spreading.[4]


Some Genera examples:



New Zealand


Other N.Z. tussock grass:

  • Chionochloa australis
  • C. flavescens
  • Festuca novaezelandiae
  • Poa caespitosa
  • P. colensoi
  • P. foliosa

North America

Bunch Grasses:[5]

South America




See also

Plants portal

Non-Poaceae tussocks


External links

  • California Native Grasslands Association: Bunchgrass species & habitats: preservation & restoration.
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