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Tussock grasses or bunch grasses are a group of grass species in the family Poaceae. They usually grow as singular plants in clumps, tufts, hummocks, or bunches, rather than forming a sod or lawn, in meadows, grasslands, and prairies. As perennial plants, most species live more than one season. Tussock grasses are often found as forage in pastures and ornamental grasses in gardens.
^ R.H. Groves, R.D.B. Whalley "Grass and Grassland Ecology in Australia" in Flora of Australia Volume 43 Poaceae 1: Introduction and Atlas, CSIRO Publishing, Canberra. "Tussock" grass implies a vertical orientation of the grass clump. In North American usage "Bunch grass" is more specific and defines a clumping, non-rhizomatous or non-stoloniferous growth form, vertical to splayed, and usually perennial with a deeper rooting system than other Poacea.^ Crampton, Beecher. "Grasses in California. University of California Press. Berkeley. 1974. ISBN 0-520-02507-5. p. 7 Walker, T.W. 1955 "The Ecology of Tussock Grasslands: Discussion" Proc. NZ Ecol. Soc 3:7 "One fifth of New Zealand carries tussock or bunch grass vegetation, more than other steppes, prairies, or grasslands of the world"
Your grandpa might have an entirely bald head except for the tussock of gray on top of it, and your yard might consist of dandelions and one tussock of tall grass. It's most common to use this noun, in fact, for grass that sprouts taller than the surrounding growth. When tussock was originally used, in the 1540s, it meant "a tuft of hair." Its origin is uncertain.Snow tussock is the name given to several alpine species of Chionochloa. These occur in grasslands where one species is dominant, or share dominance with other species. Snow tussocks naturally dominate the low alpine zone, about 500 metres above the treeline. They made up around 13% of the grasslands in the 1840s, and have complex distribution patterns. (Source: teara.govt.nz)