Melinis repens

Photo: Ron Vanderhoff

Synonyms: Melinis repens subsp. repens , Saccharum repens, Rhynchelytrum roseum, Rhynchelytrum repens

Common names: Natal grass, natalgrass, Natal redtop, rose natal grass, Zizka

Melinis repens (Willd.) (Natal grass) is an erect grass that grows to 28 in tall and has attractive long reddish or pink silky hairs on the triangular fruit at maturity, fading to silvery white with age. It is an annual species that sometimes perennates in warmer climates. In California, Natal grass is almost entirely perennial. Its branched inflorescences are open (2-3 in wide) and fluffy. The leaves are narrow and flat (3-8 in long) from unbranched stems. It can flower throughout the year under favorable temperature and moisture conditions but is limited by hard freezes. Natal grass is native to tropical eastern Africa and parts of Asia, including India. It has naturalized across the southern United States and Pacific Islands and is considered invasive in Florida. Where it is invasive, it often forms large stands that compete with and potentially displace native species. Stands of Natal grass carry fire, further impacting native vegetation. Although historically used as an ornamental, Natal grass no longer appears to be sold in the horticultural trade in the United States.

Cal-IPC Rating: Watch

CDFA Rating: None?


Plant Risk Assessment - An evaluation of the potential for a plant to be invasive in California.

Weed Management Notes

No Weed RIC Management Notes are available for this species. Check for information on other species in the genus on the Weed RIC site.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

There are no Symposium presentations associated with this species yet.

Other Melinis repens Information

  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - Distribution map and records of this species in California.
  • EDDMapS - Distribution of this species in North America.
  • GBIF - Global distribution information.
  • Jepson Interchange - Information on this plant's taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Information on identification and distribution, with links to websites in individual states.
  • The Plant List - Global taxonomic resource and collaborative clearinghouse from Kew Gardens, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Missouri Botanic Garden and others.
  • Additional photos