Karroochloa purpurea (L.f.) Conert & Tuerpe


Author: D.B. Hoare

Danthonia purpurea (Thunb.) Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult.

Common names

Haasgras (Afrikaans)


Arundinoideae; Danthonieae. The genus contains four species, all of which are confined to southern Africa.

  Origin and geographic distribution

Grows in the Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State provinces of South Africa, and Lesotho.


Shortly rhizomatous tufted perennial grass growing to 220mm tall. Leaf blades to 40mm long and 1mm wide, rolled, falcate, hispid. Leaf sheaths hispid. Panicle 10-20 mm long; spikelets 3-6 flowered; glumes often tinged with dark purple; backs of lemmas with numerous tufts of hairs 2mm long. Spikelets 5-7 mm long to 4mm wide.


This dwarf grass species provides grazing when in flower and some cover for the soil. Useful as a natural pasture for sheep.


Chromosome base number, x = 6.

  Leaf blade anatomy

C3 photosynthetic pathway.


None reported and considered to be non-toxic.


Occurs in mountainous areas and in short grasslands in the fynbos, grassland and Nama-karoo biomes. It replaces Tetrachne dregei and Themeda triandra in overutilised grassland (Zacharias 1990). Acocks therefore described this species as a "caretaker grass" of arid and semi-arid country (Zacharias 1990).

  Soil requirements

Tolerant of many soil types.

  Propagation and planting

Not propagated.

  Growth and development

Grows and flowers from July until May, therefore is only dormant for one month of the year.

  Diseases and pests



Long-growing species that can establish quickly in degraded areas.


Gibbs-Russell, G.E., Watson, L., Koekemoer, M., Smook, L. Barker, N.P., Anderson, H.M., Dallwitz, M.J. 1989. Grasses of southern Africa. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa, No. 58, National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

Zacharias, P.J.K. 1990. Acocks' Notes: key grasses of South Africa. Grassland Society of Southern Africa, Howick.