The grass family is one of the most important families in the world, if not the most important. It forms the very basis of many ecosystems and all animals are therefore either directly or indirectly dependent of them for survival. Grasses are used as a food source; they provide shelter for a huge range of organisms, and they protect the soil from being degraded which leads to erosion.


Egoli Granite Grassland

When most people look at grasslands or veld all they see is a yellowish grass that often occupies open spaces and doesn’t appear to support much life, perhaps you see it as a perfect place to develop a shopping center or a house. What we don’t see is a complex ecosystem which supports a huge variety of organisms such as insects, frogs, reptiles, birds and mammals which includes our large herbivores. Many species use the grassland to build nests, forage for food, and use as shelter. There are many different types of grasslands all over South Africa and in Gauteng we have Egoli Granite Grassland which occurs nowhere else.

There are many species of grasses that occur throughout South Africa and each species has been given an ecological status which groups similar types of grass together based on their reaction to grazing. There are 5 groups of grasses: Decreasers, Increaser I, Increaser II, Increaser III and Invaders.

Assessing the veld condition is done by doing a survey to determine the number and density of species in an area (called the species composition). There are several techniques used to analyse the data and all of them enable researchers to identify whether the grassland is healthy with a high biodiversity with a high ecological value, or degraded with few species and a low ecological value.

It is important to note that even grassland which might be considered degraded and with little value is still important as it will protect the soil from erosion and provide shelter to many organisms. 

If you have seen a species in the area that is not on the list please contact me so I can add it. Please be aware that if the species you saw is unusual or out of range I will need a photo as verification before I can add it to the list. Email:

Click on the link below to download the full bird list:

GEKCO Grass List (MS Word)

GEKCO Grass List (MS Excel)

GEKCO Grass List (46 species)

# Scientific Name Common Name
1 Alloteropsis semiolata Black Seed Grass
2 Aristida congesta subsp. barbicollis Spreading Three Awn
3 Aristida congesta subsp. congesta Tassel Three Awn
4 Aristida transvaalensis Klipgras
5 Bewsia biflora False Love Grass
6 Brachiaria brizantha Common Signal Grass
7 Brachiaria nigropedata Black Footed Signal Grass
8 Brachiaria serrata Velevet grass
9 Bulbostylis burchellii Sedge Grass
10 Cenchrus ciliaris Buffalo Grass
11 Cymbopogan excavates Broad Leafed Turpentine Grass
12 Cymbopogan plurinodis Narrow Leafed Turpentine Grass
13 Cynodon dactylon Couch Grass
14 Digitaria eriantha Common Finger Grass
15 Digitaria ternate Black Seed Finger Grass
16 Eragrostis chloromelas Curly Leaf Grass
17 Eragrostis curvula Weeping Love grass
18 Eragrostis gummiflua Gum Grass
19 Eragrostis plana Tough love Grass
20 Eragrostis racemosa Narrow Heart Love Grass
21 Eustachys paspaloides Fan Grass
22 Fingerhuthia Africana Thimble Grass
23 Harpochloa falx Caterpillar Grass
24 Heteropogan contortins Spear Grass
25 Hyparrhenia filipendula Fine Thatching Grass
26 Hyparrhenia hirta Thatch Grass
27 Loudetia simplex Common Russet Grass
28 Melinis nerviglumis Mountain Red Top Grass
29 Melinis repens subspec. repens Natal Red top
30 Monocymbium ceresiiform Boat Grass
31 Panicum maximum Guinea Grass
32 Panicum natalense Natal Panicum
33 Pogonarthria squarrosa Herringbone Grass
34 Schizachyrium sanguineum Red Autumn Grass
35 Setaria sphacelata var. sphacelata Common Bristle Grass
36 Sporobolus pectinatus Fringed Dropseed Grass
37 Sporobolus stapfianus Fibrous Dropseed Grass
38 Themeda triandra Red Grass
39 Trachypogon spicatus Giant Spear Grass
40 Tribolum uniolae Hare Grass
41 Trichoneura grandiglumis Small Rolling Grass
42 Triraphis andropogonoides Broom Needle Grass
43 Tristachya leucothrix Hairy Trident Grass
44 Tristachya rehmannii
45 Urelytrum agropyroides Centipede Grass
46 Urochloa panicoides Garden Urochloa