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Description and adaptation

Grass Family (Poaceae). Kleingrass is a warm-season perennial bunchgrass introduced from Africa. Introductions were made as early as 1942, but it was not until the 1950’s that desirable types were introduced and evaluated. It is fine-stemmed and leafy at maturity which culms are erect, 50-120 centimeters (20-47 inches) tall, from a knotty base. Leave sheaths glabrous or with papillose based hairs and blades 2.5 millimeters (1/16 to 3/16 inches) wide, with scattered papillose based hairs on margins. Panicle is 7 to 20 centimeters (2 ¾ to 8 inches) long, spikelets on short pedicels. Spikelets are glabrous, 2.6 to 3.1 millimeters (about 1/8 inch) long with 2 florets which lower floret staminate, with long palea and upper floret fertile, glabrous, shiny, and hard, with acute apex. It is the same genus as switchgrass and blue panicum and bears a slight grass appearance. Kleingrass is quite variable in its makeup, sometimes prostrate but mostly erect. Kleingrass spreads by tillers or short rhizomes, and will root at the nodes when the stems contact with wet soils.

Kleingrass is adapted to a wide range of heavy soils and dry conditions in central Texas and on wet soils in the Gulf coast. In the Rio Grande Plains it does well on shallow sites, deep sandy soils and medium textured soils. Kleingrass grows in the southern United States (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina) as well as Mexico. The plant is moderate salinity tolerant. It produces good forage production with 46 to 76 centimeters (18 to 30 inches) rainfall or under irrigation, but is a poor cold tolerant plant. Cures for good winter forage in drier regions.

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USDA–NRCS James E. “Bud” Smith Plant Materials Center, Knox City, Texas

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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