Northern Beaches FloraBaby Sun Rose Blowfly Grass (Briza maxima) Bottlebrushes Coastal Morning Glory (Ipomoea indica) Cyathea cooperi Grevillea ‘Peaches and Cream’ Grevillea Poorinda Royal Mantle Native Violet Norfolk Pine Ochna Pigface Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) Scurvy Weed Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) Spiny-headed Mat-rush

The Blowfly Grass (Briza maxima), also known as Quaking Grass is a species of the grass genus Briza. Native to Northern Africa, the Azores, Western Asia, and Southern Europe, it has been cultivated or naturalised in the British Isles, Australasia, the western United States, Hawaii, Central and South America.

Blowfly Grass (Briza maxima), Dee Why, Northern Beaches NSW
Blowfly Grass (Briza maxima), Dee Why, Northern Beaches NSW

Once grown as a garden ornamental and for dried flower arrangements, it is not commonly grown in cultivation, being considered a weed species in Australia.

Blowfly Grass (Briza maxima), Dee Why, Northern Beaches NSW
Blowfly Grass (Briza maxima), Dee Why, Northern Beaches NSW

This grass is a slender, tufted annual that grow to 60 cm high. Leaves glabrous; blade to 20 cm long and 8 mm wide, finely scabrous along margins, otherwise smooth.

The inflorescence is a slender, few-branched panicle. Spikelets of 7–20 flowered, drooping, plump, ovate or broadly oblong, 10–25 mm long, 8–15 mm wide, usually minutely hairy, occasionally glabrous. Glumes (a bract leaf-like structure, below a spikelet in the inflorescence – flower cluster of grasses) dark brown to purplish.

Blowfly Grass (Briza maxima), Dee Why, Northern Beaches NSW
Blowfly Grass (Briza maxima), Dee Why, Northern Beaches NSW

Common name
Blowfly Grass, Blow Flies, Quaking Grass, Big Quaking Grass, Great Quaking Grass, Greater Quaking Grass, Large Quaking Grass, Quivering Grass, Shivery Grass, Rattle Grass, Rattlesnake Grass, Shell Grass, Shelly Grass.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Charophyta
  • Class: Equisetopsida
  • Subclass: Magnoliidae
  • Superorder: Lilianae
  • Order: Poales
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Subfamily: Mesembryanthemoideae
  • Genus: Briza
  • Species: Briza maxima

Footnote & References

  1. Many thanks for Paul Melehan and Graeme Carrad for genus/species ID, member of NSW Native Plant Identification, Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/332752936930981/
  2. Briza maxima L., Blowfly Grass, Western Australian Herbarium (1998–). Florabase—the Western Australian Flora. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/244 (Accessed 17 Oct 2022).
  3. Briza maxima L., Blowfly Grass, Atlas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://id.biodiversity.org.au/node/apni/2908064

Northern Beaches FloraBaby Sun Rose Blowfly Grass (Briza maxima) Bottlebrushes Coastal Morning Glory (Ipomoea indica) Cyathea cooperi Grevillea ‘Peaches and Cream’ Grevillea Poorinda Royal Mantle Native Violet Norfolk Pine Ochna Pigface Ribwort Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) Scurvy Weed Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare) Spiny-headed Mat-rush

Northern BeachesNorthern Beaches Fauna Northern Beaches Flora

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