Cenchrus retusus Sw.
Cenchrus setosus Sw.
Cenchrus subangustus (Schumach.) Morrone
Cenchrus triticoides (Poir.) Veldkamp
Gymnotrix geniculata Schult.
Gymnotrix polystachya (L.) Sw. ex Trin.
Panicum alopecuros Lam.
Panicum barbatum Roxb.
Panicum cauda-ratti Schumach.
Panicum cenchroides Rich.
Panicum densispica Poir.
Panicum dentispica Kunth.
Panicum erubescens Willd.
Panicum holcoides Roxb.
Panicum longisetum Poir.
Panicum polystachion L.
Panicum subangustum Schumach.
Panicum triticoides Poir.
Pennisetum alopecuroides Ham.
Pennisetum amethystinum P.Beauv.
Pennisetum atrichum Stapf & C.E.Hubb.
Pennisetum barbatum Schult.
Pennisetum borbonicum Kunth
Pennisetum breve Nees
Pennisetum cauda-ratti (Schumach.) Franch.
Pennisetum ciliares Hook.f.
Pennisetum ciliatum Parl.
Pennisetum dasystachyum Desv.
Pennisetum elegans Nees ex Steud.
Pennisetum erubescens (Willd.) Desv. ex Ham.
Pennisetum flavescens J.Presl
Pennisetum gabonense Franch.
Pennisetum gracile Benth.
Pennisetum hamiltonii Steud.
Pennisetum hirsutum Nees
Pennisetum holcoides Schult.
Pennisetum myurus Parl.
Pennisetum nicaraguense E.Fourn.
Pennisetum pallidum Nees
Pennisetum polystachion (L.) Schult.
Pennisetum polystachyum Schult.
Pennisetum purpurascens Kunth
Pennisetum ramosum C.Sm.
Pennisetum reversum Hack.
Pennisetum richardii Kunth
Pennisetum setosum (Sw.) Rich.
Pennisetum sieberi Kunth
Pennisetum stenostachyum Peter
Pennisetum subangustum (Schumach.) Stapf & C.E.Hubb.
Pennisetum tenuispiculatum Steud.
Pennisetum triticoides (Poir.) Roem. & Schult.
Pennisetum uniflorum Kunth
Setaria cenchroides (Rich.) Roem. & Schult.
Setaria erubescens (Willd.) P.Beauv.
Setaria geniculata Sieber ex Kunth
Flowering plant, growing on a slope at Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawaii
Photograph by: Forest and Kim Starr
Cenchrus polystachios is a clump-forming, annual or perennial grass. The culms are geniculately ascending, they can be simple or branched, with the branches often flowering, and are 30 - 200cm long. It has been said that the plant is annual in Africa and Asia, but is perennial in the Americas[
The plant is sometimes used for soil stabilization, whilst the dried culms can be used for paper production.
Widespread through tropical Africa, Arabian Pininsula, Indian Ocean to India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
Grassland on sandy soils[
]. Disturbed areas including roadsides, degraded pastures and waste sites[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of the moist tropical zone, preferring lowland areas but also found at elevations up to 2,400 metres - it is rarely found growing outside the tropical region. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 32 - 35°c, but can tolerate 12 - 40°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,000 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 750 - 3,000mm[
Grows best in a sunny position or in light shade[
], though it has persisted when growing under 80% shade[
]. It succeeds in a wide range of soils, preferring sandy soils and tolerating low fertility[
]. It succeeds in highly phosphate-deficient nigrescent soils in Fiji[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.4 - 8.5[
]. Established plants are tolerant of short-term seasonal inundation, and also of drought[
Originally native from Africa to India, the plant has spread through human activity and has become naturalized in many other areas of the tropics. It is declared a noxious weed in some areas[
]. The spreads are light and fluffy, they are spread readily by wind, attachment to animals, clothing etc. They also survive the annual burning that occurs in some areas - they then germinates rapidly and can smother other seedling plants. As a fire disclimax, it becomes the dominant species in a good deal of the mountainous land in Thailand and Fiji[
]. It causes major problems in the Northern Territory of Australia, where it has greatly increased the amount of flammable material in the wooded savannah ecosystem, leading to greater devastation from bushfires[
Dry matter yields may be between 5 - 10 tonnes per hectare[
This species is useful for controlling soil erosion, especially on sloping land[
It quickly covers the ashes of a fire and forms a dense tussock grassland preventing erosion[
]. As a fire disclimax, Cenchrus polystachios grassland invades a good deal of the mountainous land in Thailand and Fiji[
The fully mature culms make good paper pulp[
Seed - surface sow in situ and then roll the soil to firm the seed. Seed can also be sown in a nursery seedbed and then transplanted[
The seed has no dormancy and can germinate whilst still on the plant in very wet weather[
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