This is a list of grasses/crops that are used as pastures and are generally considered safe for stock with some caveats. In some instances under certain circumstances these plants may be toxic i.e. immature or stressed Sorghum (Prussic acid) and under certain conditions other grasses can become toxic under conditions of stress, to much nitrogen, mould, bacteria or fungus for instance Rye Grasses may be toxic each accompanying link has a reference near the bottom of the page regarding Livestock disorders/toxicity.
Identifying grasses is not an easy task . This is a good site for grass identification this is also useful in identifying Common Range Plants

A-B-C-D-E-F -G-H-I-J-K -L-M-N-O-P -Q-R-S-T-U -W-X-Y-Z -Toxic

Common Name
Safe Grasses


African lovegrass
Aleman grass
Alsike clover
American jointvetch
Angleton grass
Arrowleaf clover



Bahia grass
Balansa clover
Ball clover
Bambatsi panic
Barley Mitchell grass
Barrel medic
Berry saltbush
Berseem clover
Biennial/short-lived hybrid ryegrass
Birdsfoot trefoil
Bladder clover
Blue lupin
Blue pea
Bokhara clover
Brachi hybrid
Brachiaria hybrid
Brachy sub clover
Brazilian centro
Brunswick grass
Buffel grass
Bull Mitchell grass
Bullrush millet
Burgundy bean
Butterfly pea
Button medic



Caatinga stylo
Caucasian clover
Chou Moellier
Cloncurry buffel grass
Cluster clover
Common vetch
Creeping bluegrass
Creeping saltbush
Creeping vigna
Crimson clover
Curly Mitchell grass



Digit grass
Disc medic
Dual purpose wheat



Eastern star clover
English plantain
Eqyptian clover
Evening primrose



Fine stem stylo
Finger grass
Fodder kale
Forage oats
Fonio (digitaria exils and digitaria ibura)
Forage sorghum
Forest bluegrass
French serradella - hard seeded
French serradella - soft seeded



Gama medic
Gatton panic
German grass
Gland clover
Grazing bromegrass
Greater lotus
Green panic
Greenleaf desmodium
Guinea grass



Honey clover
Hoop (Weeping) Mitchell grass
Hubam clover
Hybrid disc medic
Hybrid ryegrass (short-lived types)
Hybrid/biennial ryegrass



Indian Bluegrass
Italian ryegrass (biennial types)
Italian ryegrass (Queensland term)
Italian/Annual ryegrass



Kangaroo grass
Koronivia grass






Mediterranean saltbush
Mitchell grasses



Narrow-leaved plantain
Native scurf pea



Old man saltbush



Pangola grass
Para grass
Pasture brome grass
Pearl millet
Perennial forage sorghum
Perennial ryegrass
Perennial veldt grass
Persian clover (ssp. majus)
Persian clover (ssp. resupinatum)
Pinto peanut
Poa labillardierei tussock grass
Prairie grass
Purple clover
Purple pigeon grass
Purple vetch



Queensland Bluegrass



Rape, Radish and Hybrid rape
Red clover
Rhodes grass
River saltbush
Rose clover
Round-leaf cassia
Ruby saltbush



Sabi grass
Serradella: French
Serradella: yellow
Shrubby stylo
Signal grass
Silverleaf desmodium
Slender serradella
Small leaf bluebush
Snail medic
Sphere medic
Spineless burr medic
Strand medic
Strawberry clover
Stylo; Caribbean stylo
Sub clover
Subteranean/Sub clover (ssp. brachycalicinum)
Subterranean/Sub clover (ssp. subterraneum)
Subterranean/Sub clover (ssp. yanninicum)



Talish clover
Tall fescue
Tall finger grass
Tall scurf pea
Tall verbine
Tall wheat grass
Tree lucerne



Villose jointvetch



Wallaby grass (Austrodanthonia bipartita, A. richardsonii)
Wallaby grass (Austrodanthonia caespitosa)
Weeping grass
Weeping rice grass
White clover
White melilot
White sweet clover
Wimmera/Annual ryegrass
Woolly pod vetch
Wynn cassia



Yanga bush
Yann sub clover
Yellow serradella


Potentially toxic grasses

Include Arrowgrass, Dallis Grass, Fescue, Johnson Grass, Klein Grass, Squirreltail Grass, Yellow Bristle Grass, Yellow Oatsgrass and Horsetails . This is a good site for grass identification

>Arrowgrass has prussic acid in its leaves and can have a high cyanide content, depending on the location and conditions under which it's grown. It's recorded to be potentially lethal to animals at .5 percent of their body weight. Signs of poisoning:Symptoms o f arrowgrass poisoning are typical of cyanide poisoning: excitement, rapid respiration, weakened pulse, tachycardia, salivation, voiding of urine and feces, staggering, collapse, bright-red mucous membranes, convulsions, and death.

>Dallis grass Paspalum dilatatum-Poaceae,Grass Family Similar species:Rye Grass;Lolium perenne(withErgotfungus,Clavicepsspecies). Description:Dallis grass is a common perennial grass that may grow as tall as 40 inches under the right conditions. The blades are flat, coarse, and have pointed ends. Little hairs grow at their base, and dozens of tiny oval seeds grow up the stem. Rye grass is a coarse green annual or perennial grass with a spiked end, similar to dallis grass, but it grows only to about 25 inches tall. Its seeds, which grow up the side of the plant, are somewhat flatter and less sparse than those of the dallis grass. Frequently, a parasitic fungus invades the flower heads, producing "honey dew." Insects are attracted to the secretion and help in transmitting the fungus. This fungus produces lysergic acid derivatives, ergotamine, and ergotoxine, affecting animals that ingest it. The endophytic fungus (Acremonium lolii) that invades rye grass produces a tremorgenic toxin that induces muscle tremors. Signs of poisoning:Symptoms include nervousness; trembling; staggering; abortion; convulsions; blood-vessel restriction causing nerve damage in the tail, ears, and other limbs; lameness; and gangrene. These symptoms occur within several days to several weeks of ingestion. Cattle are more commonly involved in dallis or rye grass poisoning, but other animals, including horses, may also be susceptible.

Fescue Festucaspecies-Poaceae,Grass Family Description:Chewings fescue,Festuca rubra, grows to three feet tall and has round, wiry leaves that grow in tufts at the base of the plant. Nematode galls are often found in the seed and have produced toxic symptoms in horses after they ingest either the seed or the grass. Coryne toxins are the toxic principle. Tall fescue,Festuca arundinacea,is a drought-resistant, coarse perennial grass that thrives in wet areas and is often grown for forage. It has a long, flat, ribbed, dark-green blade, and can grow up to four feet. It bears many small flowers on one-foot spikes. The plant contains alkaloids, perloline, and halostachine. An endophyte fungus is known to infect fescue and is important to the development of toxicity to animals grazing the grass.Signs of poisoning:With chewings fescue poisoning, muscle trembling, ataxia, staggering and falling, abortions, and death have all been noted, with degeneration of liver and kidneys in chronic cases. Tall fescue poisoning occurs after several days to several months of grazing endophyte-infected fescue. Symptoms may vary depending upon the time of the year: In winter, lameness, diarrhea, anorexia, rough haircoat, and possible gangrene of the tail, hooves, and ears may appear. Poor growth rates and weight loss may occur. In summer, animals may have elevated temperatures, and females have little milk for their young. Stillbirths, abortions, prolonged gestations, retained placentas, and infertility are frequent in mares. Foals may have very long hooves if they survive birth due to the prolonged gestation. Fescue infected with the endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum (formerly known as Acremonium coenophialum) is known to produce many ergopeptide alkaloids. Most of the toxic effects of fescue are now attributed to ergovaline, a specific ergopeptide alkaloid.

Johnson Grass Sorghum halepense -Poaceae,Grass Family Similar species:Columbus Grass; Sorghum;Sorghumspecies; Sudan grass;Sorghum vulgare.Both Johnson and Sudan grasses may contain hydrocyanic acid (prussic acid) and sometimes toxic levels of nitrates. Toxicity is highest in young plants and lowest when the plant is yellow, more than two feet tall, and forming fruiting heads. The levels of cyanide increase when the plant is stressed, for example during drought or frost. Leaves have a higher concentration of cyanide than stems.

Kleingrass Panicum coloratum-Poaceae, Grass Family Similar species:Panicum vitgarum. Description:Kleingrass is a perennial with narrow blades and looks similar to coastal grass (the hay of choice in Texas). Look for bunches of small seeds at the tops to help identify it. Kleingrass grows up to four feet tall and bears small spiklets on its tops at maturity. The toxic principle is believed to be saponin, but it's not found in the same quantities in all plants. Although the grass has a strange smell, it may be eaten by hungry horses when no other forage is available. Kleingrass hay is also toxic. The seed provides a good food source for game birds and the foliage provides cover and shelter for small game birds such as quail and dove.

Squirreltail Grass Hordeum jubatum-Poaceae, Grass Family Also known as:Foxtail Grass, Wild Barley. Signs of poisoning:The grass may pierce the skin on the animal's ears, neck, face, or mouth, causing abscesses, ulcers, possible blindness, and the inability to eat. It may cause colic and impaction in horses.

Yellow Bristle Grass Setaria Lutescens -Poaceae, Grass Family Also known as:Foxtail Grass; Pigeon Grass. Yellow bristle grass doesn't contain toxins, but it's a poor forage for animal consumption. It has little spikes and wiry bristles with tiny barbs on the ends that cause mechanical injury to an animal's oral tissues.

Yellow oatgrass or golden oatgrass, Trisetum flavescens, is a species of grass in the Poaceae family. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It can be found elsewhere, such as sections of North America, where it was introduced as a rangeland grass for grazing. It now exists in the wild as a common weed. In Austria and Germany, T. flavescens is a common component of alpine pasture and is associated with the onset of signs about 18 months after cattle are put onto the infested pasture. Resident cattle show clinical signs at about 3 years of age. The grass is most toxic when it is young, and the clinical signs are worse when the cattle are at pasture. Pathogenesis The glycoside ingested in the plant is hydrolyzed by rumen microbes, intestinal mucosal enzymes, and bone cells to form the vitamin D3 analog. Absorption of the active substance results in a dramatic increase in the uptake of calcium from the diet. Blood levels of calcium are markedly increased, and this is followed by deposition of calcium in soft tissues.
The mode of action of the glycoside is similar to that of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol. Recent studies have confirmed that the toxin is in fact Vitamin D3. Trisetum flavescens, has joined a list of plants now known to contain active VD3. Science direct This plant and other plants containing calcinogenic glycosides are unlikely toxic to captive birds if fed at less than 10% of a balanced diet. The effects of VD toxicity is described here Vitamin D Properties and Metabolism

Horsetails Equisetum arvense -Equisetaceae,Equisetum Family Also known as:Foxtails; Scouring Rushes. Description:Horsetails have windswept-looking whorls of thin, grasslike leaves at the ends of the many tall, green, segmented hollow stems, resembling a horse's tail. They're reported to be poisonous to all classes of livestock, although horses appear to be most susceptible. The plant contains toxic aconitic acid, palustrine, and thiaminase. Horses have shown various degrees of poisoning after consumption, and young horses are more likely to succumb than older horses. Toxicity is higher in green plants than in aged plants.