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Useful Tropical Plants

Cenchrus clandestinus

(Hochst. ex Chiov.) Morrone

Poaceae

+ Synonyms

Pennisetum clandestinum Hochst. ex Chiov.

Pennisetum inclusum Pilg.

Pennisetum longistylum clandestinum (Chiov.) Leeke

Kikuyuochloa clandestina (Hochst. ex Chiov.) H.Scholz

Common Name: Kikuyu Grass

Cenchrus clandestinus
Growing uncut and ungrazed in a pasture in Hawaii
Photograph by: Forest and Kim Starr
Creative Commons License
Cenchrus clandestinus Cenchrus clandestinus Cenchrus clandestinus Cenchrus clandestinus Cenchrus clandestinus Cenchrus clandestinus Cenchrus clandestinus Cenchrus clandestinus Cenchrus clandestinus Cenchrus clandestinus

General Information

Cenchrus clandestinus is a perennial grass which may form a loose clump of culms up to 46cm high when left ungrazed, but as a result of grazing or mowing adopts a prostrate mode of growth, becoming a dense mat of growth. It spreads vigorously from rhizomes and stolons which root readily at the nodes, and are profusely branched. The root sysyem of older rhizomes/stolons proliferates densely in the upper 15 cm of soil, becoming less dense towards the growing point of the plant; in friable soils, the roots can penetrate down to 3 metes[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
375
Title
Grassland Species - Profiles
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/Default.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse information on over 650 species of plants that grow in grassland, including trees, shrubs and perennial plants as well as grasses. Gives a brief description of the plant, its range and habitat and some of its uses.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
A common pasture plant, it is also often grown as a lawn, as a ground cover on recreational land and for soil stabilization. It has minor traditional medicinal uses.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

610
Title
Flora of Tropical East Africa
Publication
 
Author
Beentje H.J.
Website
http://plants.jstor.org/search?st=396814
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
Available on-line, a modern flora of East Africa.

Range

East tropical Africa - Ethiopia, eastern DR Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania.

Habitat

Upland grassland on fertile soils subject to grazing[
308
Title
Flora Zambesiaca
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://apps.kew.org/efloras/fz/intro.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online flora of plants from the Zambezi River basin. It lists a number of the plant uses as well as the habitats and botanical descriptions of the plants.
]. Deep red, well-drained latosolic soils at the forest margins, and in grassy glades; at elevations from 1,500 - 3,000 metres[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Perennial
Height0.20 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Cenchrus clandestinus is a plant of higher elevations in the tropical zone, where it is found at elevations from 1,400 - 3,500 metres; it can also be cultivated at lower elevations in the subtropical and warm temperate zones. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 16 - 26°c, but can tolerate 5 - 31°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -9°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -2°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 900 - 1,600mm, but tolerates 700 - 3,000mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Grows best in a sunny position, but tolerates light shade[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a very fertile soil on the heavy side, but can thrive on sandy soils if they are well fertilized[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
375
Title
Grassland Species - Profiles
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/Default.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse information on over 650 species of plants that grow in grassland, including trees, shrubs and perennial plants as well as grasses. Gives a brief description of the plant, its range and habitat and some of its uses.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 5.5, tolerating 4.5 - 7[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. Prefers well-drained soils, but plants can tolerate some waterlogging and up to 10 days inundation[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
].
Cenchrus clandestinus is a creeping, mat-forming grass that has been extensively used as a pasture grass, lawn and ground cover. It is an aggressive invader of pasture, crops and natural areas, spreading via an extensive network of rhizomes and stolons, and forming dense mats of growth, which inhibit regeneration by smothering seedlings and young plants. Small pieces of the rhizomes or stolon can easily be transported to new locations and these will quickly root to form new plants. In addition, it also produces allelopathic chemicals that kill other plant species in its vicinity. In Peru, it has invaded ancient Inca ruins, causing destruction through its roots growing in crevices and cracking the stones[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
]. The plant is said to be especially likely to become a weed in coastal areas on arable land and in irrigation channels[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].Both rhizomes and tillers can survive considerable drying after tillage; however, severe desiccation will kill them[
305
Title
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hear.org/pier/scientificnames/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very good website detailing weed species that have been introduced into the Pacific Islands.
].
After germination and emergence of primary tillers, the seedlings develop a prostrate growth habit as the stolons grow radially[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Dry matter yields may be between 9 - 30 t/ha[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The whole plant, or the bruised leaf, is used as a styptic[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Kikuyu grass is a hard-wearing grass that is tolerant of trampling - it is used for many purposes including for lawns and recreational areas, and to prevent soil erosion along roads, on irrigation channel banks, bunds and hills[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - the optimum temperature for germination is within the range of 19 - 29°c with the fastest rate at 29°c[
375
Title
Grassland Species - Profiles
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/Default.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse information on over 650 species of plants that grow in grassland, including trees, shrubs and perennial plants as well as grasses. Gives a brief description of the plant, its range and habitat and some of its uses.
].
Division of the rhizomes

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