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Early in April our Monday morning weeders had a working bee in the Great Otway National Park opposite Guvvo’s (west of Anglesea). The day before the working bee I did a walk through the park looking for environmental weeds that we could target.

There was a lot of Boneseed and Coast Teatree that had germinated after the recent cool burn. Returning to my car I walked along the Great Ocean Road and noticed an unusual grass growing beside the road. It was a metre high and the flower heads were at the end of the stem. The radiating flower branches were like the fingers of your hand, spreading from a common centre.

chlorisgayanaChloris gayana

I took a specimen and using the key in the Flora of Victoria website, I identified the grass as Chloris gayana. A botanical key is where the user must answer a number of questions about the specimen’s flower structure, the leaves, the height, spread etc to finally come up with an identification.

There were no records in Flora of Victoria in the whole of South West Victoria for this specimen. Neil sent a herbarium specimen to the National Herbarium Victoria (NHV). They confirmed the identification.

At the working bee Neil found another weedy grass growing prostrate beside the Great Ocean Road that I identified as Eragrostis cilianensis. The identification was also confirmed by NHV and there were no records for the Otways and few from South West Victoria.

We are not sure whether the weeds will spread from the road reserve and become a problem in the district but we think it is unlikely.

Carl Rayner with Neil Tucker