Sand tussock Poa billardierei

Key Features

  • A silvery-green tussock grass from 50-100 cm tall, with stiff, smooth, tightly rolled, sharply pointed leaves that may become drooping. Narrow, spike-like inflorescences are usually held within the foliage, and have relatively large spikelets (1-1.5 cm) in which the awns are very short or lacking.

Distribution and Habitat

  • Coastal sand dunes throughout New Zealand, but populations are scattered.


  • Habitat modification and loss.
  • Browsing by stock and feral animals (cattle, sheep, goats, horses, rabbits).
  • Competition from introduced marram grass.
  • 4WD vehicles.

Management Opportunities

  • Survey for new locations.
  • Mark known sites.
  • Protection of habitat.
  • Exclude stock and feral animals.
  • Control marram grass.
  • Propagate seed and re-establish at appropriate sites.

Monitoring Options

  • Check existing populations annually.
  • Report new locations to DOC, NZPCN.

Further Information and Support

  • New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN).
  • Pest and marram grass management - Department of Conservation, Regional Councils.
  • References:
    • Bergin, D. (2000). Sand tussock on coastal sand dunes. Guidelines fro seed collection, propagation and establishment. CDVN Technical Bulletin No. 3. New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited.
    • Wilson, H.D. (1994). Field guide. Stewart Island Plants. Manuka Press, Christchurch. (cites P. billardierei as Poa triodioides).