Native plants


Scientific name: Spinifex sericeus
Maori name: kowhangatara
Other names: Silvery sand grass

Grass or similar - native to the Wellington Region
Suits: dry, sunny, exposure, coastal and dune garden, small garden or balcony

About Spinifex

The attractive Spinifex sericeus, or often just called spinifex, is the most important native sand-binding grass species in the country. It is usually found at the front of actively accumulating foredunes where its long trailing runners and vigorous growth make it an ideal sand dune stabiliser. It does not tolerate stable dune systems and does not compete well with other exotic dune plants. Spinifex often occurs with other indigenous sand binding species on the foredune including pingao (Ficinia spiralis), nihinihi (sand convolvulus, Calystegia soldanella).
Spinifex has distinctive runners carrying tufts of floppy  hairy silver green leaves which grow into long rhizomes trapping the sand and eve catching ball-like seed heads. The plant is dioecious, i.e. male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. Wind dispersed these seed heads of teh female rolls along the beach, spreading their seeds.

Thrives in raw sand and shifting sands, and is tolerant of salt spray, prolonged dryness, extreme temperatures, high light intensity, and strong wind.
Very often used in dune restorations.


Provides for birds

  Nectar Fruit Seeds
Key . . .

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Read more about gardening for birds or see full nectar calendar.

Provides for lizards

  • Ground cover for retreat
  • Clump forming for camouflage and insects

Read more about gardening for lizards.

More detail