While the red-grass common name is fitting, several other colours are associated with this variable and widespread species. Young tufts may be blue-green or green, the growth phase when this very palatable food item on the grazers’ menu is at its best. Later some pink colouring will appear and eventually towards the end of the season it becomes red with age, justifying its name.
Some culms will display a yellowish tint while the spikelets or flowers may be hairy, the hairs being either black or white. At high altitudes this grass is usually shorter with a purplish colour; pale purple in the valleys.
Observing the plants in the photo taken in the Karoo autumn, an orange hue as well as straw coloured parts could be added to the Themeda triandra lifestyle palette.
The awned spikelets are usually wedge-shaped and pendulous, dancing in the wind like small bells. They ring bells of recognition in the memory of those trying to remember what they had learnt about the Poaceae family (www.plantzafrica.com).