Kakadu National Park

Wednesday 17 July 2019

This tall grass lines Kakadu’s lowlands late in the tropical summer (February to March), when its flower spikes can reach four metres high.

Speargrass gets its name from its sharp pointed seeds. The seeds are harvested by ants and provide an important food source for birds such as finches.

In Banggerreng time (around April each year), the ‘knock ‘em down storms’ arrive and flatten the speargrass ahead of the dry season.

Culture

Some Bininj/Mungguy names for speargrass come from their moieties (top-level kinship groups), which are based on seasonal behaviour.

Yirridjdja moiety grass falls down early in the season and is called man-bedje (or an-bedje in Gundjeihmi). Late-season grass with duwa moiety is called mardadubba.

Other names

  • Scientific name: Sorghum spp.