North Africa grass (Ventenata dubia). Photo: Matt Lavin (CC BY-SA 2.0)

North Africa Grass

Ventenata dubia


  • Winter annual grass that grows 10-45 cm tall
  • Stems are long, thin, wiry, and branching
  • Leaves are narrow, smooth-edged, and occur mainly on the lower half of stems
  • Young plants (May/June) are green, have reddish-black nodes, long ligules, and shallow roots
  • Mature plants (June/July) are silvery/green, erect, have smooth-like stems, and an open panicle
  • Senesced plants (July/August) have straight lower awns and twisted/bent upper awns
  • Grows in open, disturbed areas typically below 1800 m elevation
    (e.g., grasslands, rangelands, roadsides, rail lines, dry forests, and riparian areas)
Young North Africa grass inflorescence.
North Africa grass reddish-brown node and long ligule at leaf base.
Full profile of north Africa grass (young).
North Africa grass inflorescence.
Bent awns of north Africa grass.
North Africa grass.
North Africa grass, open inflorescence.
Patch of north Africa grass.
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Introduction and spread

  • Native to north Africa, south-central Europe, south Russia, and west Asia
  • Confirmed in BC in the West and Central Kootenays, Boundary, Metro Vancouver, and Nanaimo
  • Spreads by seed with 15-35 seeds/plant
  • Seeds are viable for at least 3 years
  • Seeds disperse by contaminated hay and grass seed mixes, machinery, vehicles, humans, and animals
  • Can re-produce inflorescence in the same year if cut or grazed

Consequences of invasion

  • Displaces native grasses and forbs, altering the plant community and reducing biodiversity
  • Degrades grassland habitats
  • Reduces forage for wildlife and livestock
  • Reduces agricultural yields
  • Increases soil erosion

Status in the CKISS region

Integrated pest management options


  • Learn to identify this plant and report any sightings!
  • Immediately revegetate bare, disturbed soils with a non-invasive seed mix to reduce invasion.
  • Maintain a diverse, healthy native plant community to discourage invasion.
  • Do not move contaminated soils to a new area.
  • Clean your clothing, boots, vehicles, gear, and pets before entering/leaving an area.

Mechanical control

  • Hand-pull small infestations before seed set.
  • Mowing can be effective before seed set and before soils dry out.

Chemical control

  • Herbicides labeled for Ventenata management can be effective, but requires proper administration, timing, and possibly follow-up treatments.

Cultural control

  • Prescribed burns do NOT appear to be an effective control measure

Additional resources