Alice Springs Desert Park

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A perennial tussock forming plant, the Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra), previously called Themeda australis, is widespread in Australia, as well as across the Pacific, Asia and Africa.

Named Kangaroo Grass by Ludwig Leichhardt (1842) during his expeditions north of Sydney because it was thought to be the favourite food of the kangaroos.

The Aboriginal people used to gather the Kangaroo Grass, separating the seeds and grinding them with stones to produce flour, make porridge and damper.

Used as bush medicine, the Kangaroo Grass is chopped into small pieces and boiled in water to make a medicinal drink relieve sore throats and cure colds.

The Arrernte name is Aherre~aherre (pronounced a~URR~aurr~a).

Did you know that many over a quarter of Australia’s butterflies use native grasses as their host plants, and at least 13 species use ‘Kangaroo Grass’ as their host plants.

More info in our Flora section Grass and Grasses and Kangaroo Grass.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Monocots
  • Clade: Commelinids
  • Order: Poales
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Subfamily: Panicoideae
  • Genus: Themeda
  • Species: T. triandra
  • Binomial name: Themeda triandra
  • Synonyms:
    Themeda australis

Footnote & References

  1. Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass), Growing Native Plants, Australian National Botanic Gardens, https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/interns-2004/themeda-triandra.html
  2. Kangaroo Grass – Themeda triandra, Australian Butterfly Conservation, www.facebook.com/australianbutterflyconservation/photos/a.1114453988596542/2604914856217107/

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