Phalaris aquatica L.

Toowoomba Canary-grass

Cent. Pl. 1: 4 (1755) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Shortly rhizomatous perennial, lower internodes often swollen, culms erect, to 160 cm high. Leaves smooth and glabrous; blade to 30 cm long and 20 mm wide; ligule obtuse, membranous, to 10 mm long. Panicle dense, cylindric, (2–)5–15 cm long. Spikelets 5.5–7 mm long; glumes 3-nerved, subequal, dorsally winged; sterile lemmas linear, the lower up to one-quarter (sometimes lacking), the upper to one-third (but often less) as long as fertile lemma; fertile lemma lanceolate, 3–4 mm long, with appressed hairs. Flowers Nov.–Jan.

*Brid, *CVU, *DunT, *EGL, *EGU, *GipP, *Glep, *Gold, *GGr, *HNF, *HSF, *LoM, *MuF, *MuM, *NIS, *OtP, *OtR, *Strz, *VAlp, *VRiv, *VVP, *WaP, *Wim. Naturalized in all States except ACT and NT. Native to southern Europe. Grown as a fodder-grass but also widely naturalised in ditches along roadsides and in low-lying ground mostly in the vicinity of agricultural land. The plant was popularized as a fodder grass in the early 1900s when seed was distributed (as Phalaris commutata) from Toowoomba Botanic Gardens in Queensland.

Source: Walsh, N.G. (1994). Poaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-01-24
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Poales
family Poaceae
genus Phalaris
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Phalaris aquatica in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Phalaris aquatica in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present naturalised
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Glenelg Plain present naturalised
Bridgewater present introduced
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Warrnambool Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present naturalised
Greater Grampians present naturalised
Dundas Tablelands present naturalised
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
East Gippsland Lowlands present naturalised
East Gippsland Uplands present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised
Otway Ranges present naturalised
Strzelecki Ranges present naturalised
Victorian Alps present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory