Purple Wiregrass is closely related to Aristida ramosa and both grasses share the same common name. Purple Wiregrass (Aristida personata) was originally classed as Aristida ramosa. The two are now considered separate grasses. Key differences between the two are that the Aristida personata is larger. The second difference is that Aristida ramosa will grow on drier sites. There are over 20 Aristida species within central west NSW. Most are difficult to distinguish without expert knowledge.
This grass is an incredibly useful native grass for revegetation and restoration projects. This is due to its ability to grow on low fertility, acidic soils. This is a brilliant quality for areas that have very drought prone soil and are prone to severe soil erosion. Grasslands are often is taken over by purple wire grass in worsening times of drought. This is due to the degradation of the grassland which leads to reduced ground cover.
Purple Wiregrass provides ground cover even on the poorest soils where few other grasses will grow. Because of this, it can be an indicator of soils less suitable for agricultural production. Often it serves as an indicator of overgrazed pastures as it is only palatable when it is very young. Overgrazing stock reduces or eliminates more desirable grasses. This allows the Purple Wiregrass to take over. This grass is not a great choice for a pasture. The main reason is due to unpalatability and the small leaves are shed in times of stress. This produces low amounts of forage. This grass seed can be a problem for your stock. For example, causing damage to the eyes, fleece, hides and flesh of animals.
- Very stress tolerant species.
- Resistant to grazing pressure.
- Highly drought tolerant
- Frost sensitive.
- Has little or no response to elevated fertility.