Nature is sometimes very clever!

Imagine a seed that actually screws itself into the soil to give it the best chance of growing. Now that is cunning!

There are some local native grasses are called speargrasses. One of these is Oat Speargrass (Anisopogon avenaceous), that grows up to 1m tall.

When young, the seeds start off green and straight, but as they mature in the seed head, they dry to a straw colour and bend as shown in my drawing. Once mature, (in November), they fall to the ground with the sharp point downwards. Down in the leaf litter and other grasses and groundcovers, it is damp. The twisted stem then unwinds itself and lengthens, but the awns are caught in surrounding vegetation and can’t move, so the seed turns and the sharp point is pushed into the soil.

I find this fascinating. To demonstrate, you can take a mature seed from the seedhead, hold the seed, lick your finger and touch it on the twisted stem, then watch the awn slowly turn. The same thing happens with seeds from other local speargrasses from the Austrostipa genus. Seeds from these grasses are similar in shape, but don’t have the small awns.

To find out more, talk to us. Visit or Facebook.