Digitaria dilatata (Poir.) Coste
Panicum platense (Spreng.) Kuntze
Paspalum eriophorum Schult. & Schult.f.
Paspalum lanatum Spreng.
Paspalum moluccanum Huber
Paspalum ovatum Nees ex Trin.
Paspalum pedunculare J.Presl
Paspalum platense Spreng.
Paspalum selloi Spreng. ex Nees
Plant growing amongst shorter grasses
Photograph by: Harry Rose
Paspalum dilatatum is a clump-forming, perennial grass with clustered stems arising from very short, creeping rhizomes. The stems are erect to ascending, growing 30 - 180cm tall and producing new roots at the nodes when in contact with the soil. The roots can descend as much as 120cm into the soil[
The plant is grown to stabilize soils and prevent erosion.
S. America - Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia
Found in moist grassland, occupying different topographic positions, which are subject to various regimes of flooding and drought, both of which may occur in the same growing season[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Paspalum dilatatum grows best in the subtropical zone in regions without a dry season, or with only one or two monhs without rain. It is often cultivated and can succeed from the tropics to the warmer parts of the temperate zone; it can be found at elevations up to 2,300 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 30°c, but can tolerate 13 - 36°c[
]. It is one of the most frost tolerant subtropical grasses and, when dormant, its deep root system can survive temperatures down to about -10°c, although young growth can be severely damaged at -3°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 900 - 1,300mm, but tolerates 750 - 1,700mm[
Prefers a position in full sun, tolerating light shade[
]. Succeeds in a wide range of at least moderately fertile soils[
]. Prefers moist growing conditions but farily tolerant of dry soils[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, tolerating 4.3 - 8.3[
]. Established plants are tolerant of drought and occasional inundation of the soil[
The plant is considered a minor pest of lawns and other utility turf[
]. It commonly invades irrigated pastures[
]. It produces large quantities of seed, which can attach themselves to clothing, animal fur etc, and spreads readily by this means where conditions are suitable for germination. Vegetative spread is extremely slow. Although a slow establisher and with the impediment of disease of the inflorescence, it has been a remarkably successful coloniser[
A long-day plant, it has an optimal daylength of 14 hours[
Growth of young plants is slow, but once they are established the growth is vigorous and many leaves are produced in a short time[
Established plants have their fastest growth rate early in the growing season, but growth slows down during mid-summer and autumn. During the cool period in subtropical regions and at higher altitudes the plants are dormant. Flowering occurs throughout the growing period and seeds scatter as soon as they are ripe. With declining soil fertility, the vigour of the plant declines and it is then often invaded by other species[
Yields of fresh herbage can range from 39 - 65 tonnes per hectare[
Paspalum dilatatum can be divided into two varieties, var. Dilatatum and var. Pauciciliatum Parodi. The latter has 2n = 40 chromosomes and is more prostrate. It has slightly smaller and less hairy spikelets, more spikelets per raceme and its lemma and palea have three veins compared with nine in var. Dilatatum. This variety is better adapted to light and poorly drained soils than common Dallis grass. Important cultivars of var. Dilatatum are 'Raki' from New Zealand, 'Charu' from Uruguay and 'Natsugumo' from Japan[
The plant is grown to stabilize soils, and gives excellent protection against erosion[
]. Once established, the plant provides good stable ground cover to combat erosion, particularly that which is caused by water movement[
]. It is used to stabilize mine dumps in South Africa[
Seed - has some post-harvesting dormancy which can be broken by removal of the glumes[
]. It can be sown at any time from spring to late summer, although best sown just before the expected rainy season since germination and establishment can be slow. While seed is generally drilled or broadcast into a well-prepared, fine, weed-free seedbed, it can also be sown directly into rice stubble without further seedbed preparation. It is normally sown at 5 - 10 kg/ha, and preferably placed less than 15mm deep[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.