Feb 23, 2016 I Nancy Loyan Schuemann

“Hairy Panic” Overwhelms Australian Town

An out-of-control tumbleweed called the “hairy panic” has overtaken Wangaratta, a rural town in Victoria’s northeast. The grass, Panicum effusum, is found in every Australian state and grows rapidly. The long hairs along the edges of its leaves give it the “hairy” moniker. A wet January aided in the weed’s growth spurt and created an overabundance of the long yellow strands. When the grass dies, it dries up and spreads its seeds as it “tumbles” over the landscape.


The tumbleweeds cause “panic” because it overtakes the landscape and piles of it grow to roof height. It has engulfed homes, gardens, garages and driveways. Extremely dry conditions created more drying and more tumbleweed, forcing residents to spend hours clearing their property. Mostly affected are twenty residents of a new housing development, Bella Way. It’s located next to farmland where the weed is blowing from. The upside is that it isn’t flammable. The downside is that it is a nuisance.

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"Hairy Panic" Overtakes a Car

A local farmer is blamed for causing the infestation by failing to tend to his paddock and contain it. Lack of management of farmland is an issue that residents hope to have addressed.

When the infestation is over, perhaps a rock band can use the name “hairy panic”?

Nancy Loyan Schuemann
Nancy Loyan Schuemann is a writer specializing in architecture, safes, profiles, histories and a multi-published fiction and non-fiction author and is Nailah, Middle Eastern dancer.

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