Chinese Pennisetum

(Pennisetum alopecuroides)

Progressive Control Pest

Chinese Pennisetum is a tufted, perennial grass that forms large tussocks around 1 metre in height. It has long, hairless, wiry leaves. Flower heads are purplish, bristly, cylindrical spikes that look like small bottlebrushes.

Reasons for the Strategy

Chinese Pennisetum plant featuring spiky bottle brush type flowers.

Chinese Pennisetum is generally unpalatable to stock. It is capable of invading productive pasture land and reducing pasture productivity. It is difficult to identify, especially in young plantation forests.

Chinese Pennisetum is assessed at “3” on the infestation curve. There are a number of sites in the Lee, Sherry, and Slippery catchments. The low incidence of Chinese Pennisetum in the Tasman-Nelson region, extensive areas of suitable habitat, and the potential for it to cause significant adverse effects, mean the benefits of progressive control far outweigh the costs.


To reduce the distribution and density of Chinese Pennisetum in the Tasman-Nelson region during the term of the Strategy.

Alternative Measures

The alternative option of “do nothing” or relying on voluntary control will not achieve the objective of reducing the distribution and density of Chinese Pennisetum, and will result in significant additional costs to the community with respect to lost production and the increased cost of control in the future. Requiring total control is not practical, even given the low number of sites. There are a number of Chinese Pennisetum infestations in plantation forests that will continue to be difficult to eradicate.

Strategy Rule for Chinese Pennisetum

The occupier shall destroy all adult and juvenile forms of Chinese Pennisetum on land that they occupy. A breach of Strategy Rule 5.3.5 is an offence under Section 154(r) of the Biosecurity Act 1993.

Biosecurity Act Requirement

No person shall knowingly sell, propagate, breed, release, or commercially display Chinese Pennisetum, under Sections 52 and 53 of the Act.