A field of bristle-leaved red top grass, also called Melinis Nerviglumis

It is easy to confuse this grass with the Natal Red Top if not for one thing:  the Natal Red Top grows in disturbed soil (a pioneer), while the Bristle-leaved red top is an indicator of undisturbed veld.

The bristle-leaved red top is a poor to average grazing grass – a consequence of having wiry, rolled leaves. What is loses in grazing value it more than makes up in attractiveness.  This showy grass is a lovely species for natural grass gardens.


  • Leaves mostly at the base
  • Usually in gravely soil
  • Flowers fade from deep purple to white
  • Can flower throughout the year
  • A dense tufted grass