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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Brief

Flowering class: Monocot Habit: Herb Distribution notes: Exotic
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Description

Tall tufted perennial, usually 1-2 m tall, occasionally much taller. Inflorescence a large open panicle, pyramidal or oblong in outline with the lower branches often whorled. Spikelets 3-4.5 mm, glabrous or pubescent, sometimes overtopped by long hairs from tip of pedicel; lower glume broadly ovate, 1/3 to 1/2 length of spikelet, 3-nerved; upper glume ovate-oblong, 5-nerved, acute; lower lemma ovate-oblong, 5-nerved; upper lemma strongly transversely rugose.
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Derivation of specific name

maximum: largest
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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Native of tropical and sub-tropical Africa. Natural populations occur in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Madagascar (Leistner 1991 and Pernes, Combes, Rene-Chaume and Savidaan 1975) and likely elsewhere. Widely introduced throughout the tropics (Leistner 1991) including New World nations of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Brazil and the United States in Mississippi, Louisiana (Parsons 1972), Florida and Texas (Hitchcock and Chase 1950). Successfully introduced to India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Sarawak, the Phillipines and Hawaii (Okeagu 1991).

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"
Global Distribution

Pantropical

Indian distribution

State - Kerala, District/s: Kottayam, Kollam, Idukki, Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, Thrissur

"
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Distribution in Egypt

Nile Valley North of Nubia (Delta).

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Global Distribution

Native to tropical and southern Africa, widely introduced in the tropics.

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Originally from tropical Africa, introduced elsewhere. Taiwan, in grassland, roadsides, riverbanks, plantations and disturbed places.
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Distribution: Pakistan (Punjab & N.W.F.P.; introduced); tropical Africa; introduced to most other warm countries.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Perennials; rhizome stout, culm erect, node densely hirsute. Blade 30-75 cm long, to 35 mm wide; sheath papillate-hirsute to glabrous; ligule 4-6 mm long. Panicle open, 20-35 cm long, axils pilose, lower branches whorled. Spikelets 3-3.5 mm lng, obtuse, usually glabrous, faintly veined, mostly purplish red or flushed with purple; glumes unequal; lower glume ca. 1/3 length of spikelet, 1-3-veined or veinless; upper glume 5-veined; lower lemma usually staminate, rarely empty, 5-7-veined; upper lemma distinctly transversely rugose, stramineous, coriaceous.
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Physical Description

Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Rhizomes present, Rhizome short and compact, stems close, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems geniculate , decumbent, or lax, sometimes rooting at nodes, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stem nodes bearded or hairy, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 1-2 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 2-6 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly cauline, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath hairy, hispid or prickly, Leaf sheath hairy at summit, throat, or collar, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades 1-2 cm wide, Leaf blades 2 or more cm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Leaf blades more or less hairy, Ligule present, Ligule a fringed, ciliate, or lobed membrane, Ligule a fringe of hairs, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or clus ter per stem or culm, Inflorescence a panicle with narrowly racemose or spicate branches, Inflorescence branches more than 10 to numerous, Inflorescence branches 1-sided, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets pedicellate, Spikelets sessile or subsessile, Spikelets dorsally compressed or terete, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 1 fertile floret, Spikelets with 2 florets, Spikelet with 1 fertile floret and 1-2 sterile florets, Spikelets solitary at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating below the glumes, Spikelets secund, in rows on one side of rachis, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes distinctly unequal, Glumes equal to or longer than adjacent lemma, Glumes 3 nerved, Glumes 4-7 nerved, Lemma coriaceous, firmer or thicker in texture than the glumes, Lemma 5-7 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma apex acute or acuminate, Lemma awnless, Lemma mucronate, very shortly beake d or awned, less than 1-2 mm, Lemma straight, Palea present, well developed, Palea longer than lemma, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Physical Description

Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Rhizomes present, Rhizome short and compact, stems close, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems geniculate, decumbent, or lax, sometimes rooting at nodes, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stems branching above base or distally at nodes, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 1-2 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 2-6 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly cauline, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath hairy, hispid or prickly, Leaf sheath hairy at summit, throat, or collar, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades lanceolate, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blades 1-2 cm wide, Leaf blades 2 or more cm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Leaf blades more or less hairy, Leaf blades scabrous, roughened, or wrinkled, Ligule present, Ligule a fringed, ciliate, or lobed membrane, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence an open panicle, openly paniculate, branches spreading, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence branches more than 10 to numerous, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets pedicellate, Spikelets dorsally compressed or terete, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 1 fertile floret, Spikelets with 2 florets, Spikelet with 1 fertile floret and 1-2 sterile florets, Spikelets solitary at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating below th e glumes, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes distinctly unequal, Glumes equal to or longer than adjacent lemma, Glume equal to or longer than spikelet, Glumes 3 nerved, Glumes 4-7 nerved, Lemma similar in texture to glumes, Lemma 5-7 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma apex truncate, rounded, or obtuse, Lemma awnless, Lemma margins inrolled, tightly covering palea and caryopsis, Lemma straight, Palea present, well developed, Palea about equal to lemma, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis, Caryopsis ellipsoid, longitudinally grooved, hilum long-linear.
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Dr. David Bogler

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Description

Densely tufted perennial; culms 80-300 cm high, erect or ascending, often branched, the nodes usually bearded. Leaf-blades linear, 10-60(80) cm long, 4-20 (-40) mm wide, flat, glabrous, long-tapering to a fine point; lowermost sheaths strongly compressed and keeled. Panicle ovate, 10-45 cm long, contracted or open, the branches mostly bare in the lower half, the lowermost conspicuously whorled. Spikelets oblong, 2.5-3.6(4) mm long, glabrous or shortly and densely pubescent, acute or subobtuse; lower glume orbicular, hyaline, a quarter to a third the length of the spikelet, rounded or shortly acute, 1-3-nerved or sometimes almost nerveless; upper glume 5-7-nerved; lower lemma 5-7-nerved, its palea almost as long; upper lemma pallid, rugulose.
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Description

Perennial, rhizomatous; rhizome stout. Culms robust, erect, 1–3 m tall, nodes glabrous or pilose. Leaves basal and cauline; leaf sheaths glabrous to hispid; leaf blades linear to narrowly lanceolate, flat, 20–60 × 1–3.5 cm, narrowed at base, glabrous or pilose, margins scabrid, apex acuminate; ligule 1–3 mm, membranous, with dense cilia dorsally. Panicle oblong or pyramidal in outline, 10–45 cm, much branched; branches spreading, lowest arranged in a whorl. Spikelets oblong, 3–4.5 mm, glabrous or pubescent, often tinged purple, obtuse or acute, occasionally overtopped by long hairs from apex of pedicel; lower glume broadly ovate, 1/3–1/2 length of spikelet, 3-veined, obtuse or acute; upper glume ovate-oblong, as long as spikelet, 5-veined, acute; lower floret staminate, lemma similar to upper glume, palea well developed; upper floret thinly coriaceous, pale yellow or green, shiny, finely transverse rugulose. Fl. and fr. Aug–Oct. 2n = 32.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

"Perennials. Culms to 200 cm high, erect, tufted; nodes bearded. Leaves 20-50 x 1-1.5 cm, linear, base rounded, apex acuminate; sheaths to 30 cm long, glabrous or tubercle-based hairy; ligules membranous. Panicles 10-30 cm long, effuse, decompound; branches to 18 cm long, whorled at the lower nodes, alternate above; pedicels to 5 mm long. Spikelets 3-4 mm long, oblong, acute. Lower glume c. 1 x 1 mm, broadly ovate. Upper glume 2-3 x 1-1.5 mm, oblong, obtuse. Lower floret male. Upper floret bisexual. First lemma 2-3 x 1-1.5 mm, oblong. Palea c. 2.5 x 1 mm, elliptic-acute. Stamens 3. Second lemma c. 2 x 1 mm, ovate, acute, subcoriaceous, transversely rugose. Palea c.2 x 1.5 mm, elliptic, subcoriaceous, rugose. Stamens 3. Ovary elliptic; stigma pink. Grains c. 1.5 mm long, ovate."
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Synonym

Megathyrsus maximus (Jacquin) B. K. Simon & S. W. L. Jacobs; Panicum hirsutissimum Steudel; P. jumentorum Persoon; P. maximum var. hirsutissimum (Steudel) Oliver; P. poly-gamum Swartz.
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Type Information

Type fragment for Panicum tephrosanthum Hack. in Schinz
Catalog Number: US 81143
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): L. Menyharth
Year Collected: 1891
Locality: Boruma, Sambesi., Mozambique, Africa
  • Type fragment: Hackel, E. 1901. Bull. Herb. Boissier ser. 2. 1: 766.
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Type fragment for Panicum trichocondylum Steud.
Catalog Number: US 81152
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): É. P. Duchasssaing de Fontbressin
Locality: Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles, West Indies
  • Type fragment: Steudel, E. G. von. 1853. Syn. Pl. Glumac. 1: 74.
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Type fragment for Panicum scaberrimum Lag.
Catalog Number: US 81099
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): M. Sessé y Lacasta
Year Collected: 1804
Locality: E of Monserrat, Mexico, Central America
  • Type fragment: Lagasca y Segura, M. 1816. Elenchus Pl. Nov. 2.
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Type fragment for Panicum polygamum Sw.
Catalog Number: US 80924
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): O. P. Swartz
Locality: Greater Antilles, Jamaica, West Indies
  • Type fragment: Swartz, O. P. 1788. Nova Genera & Sp. Pl. Prodr. 24.
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Type fragment for Panicum laeve Lam.
Catalog Number: US 80726
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): Collector unknown
Year Collected: 1780
Locality: Hispaniola Island, Greater Antilles, Dominican Republic, West Indies
  • Type fragment: Lamarck, J. B. A. 1791. Tabl. Encycl. 1: 172.
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Native habitat is grassland, open woodland and shady places (Leistner 1991). In the U.S. occurs in fields and waste places (Hitchcock 1950).

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General Habitat

Cultivated as fodder grass
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Cultivated for fodder (Guinea Grass).

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Habitat & Distribution

Widely cultivated for forage. Guangdong, Taiwan [native to tropical Africa and America].
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Associations

Known Pests: CLAVICEPS MAXIMENSIS (ERGOT), PHYLLOSTICTA PANICI (BLACK LINEAR LEAF SPOT), CERCOSPORA FUSIMACULOSUS (LEAFSPOT), EUSCYRUS CONCINNUS, APHIS CRACCIVORA, FUSARIUM SPP. AND USTILAGO SP. (SMUT).

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Population Biology

Frequency

Common
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General Ecology

P. maximum is adapted to a mean annual rainfall of between 700-1700 mm per year. Mean temperature for the coldest month where P. maximum occurs ranges from 5.4-14.2 degrees C and optimum temperature for growth is 19.1-22.9 degrees C (Russell & Webb 1976 in Skerman and Riveros 1990). It will not tolerate heavy frosts, but recovers from light frosts with the return of warm weather (Skerman and Riveros 1990). Not resistant to more than occasional light frosts and dies out rapidly under close continuous grazing (Judd 1974). Continuous grazing results in rapid sward deterioration (Okeagu 1991). Guinea cannot be grazed below 35 cm, or it will recover slowly (Skerman and Riveros 1990). P. maximum is tolerant of shade and fire (FAO Tropical Feeds Database). It successfully grows under plantations (Okeagu 1991). One of the outstanding features of green panic (a cultivar of P. maximum) is its ability to grow in partial shade (Skerman and Riveros 1990). A study in the vicinity of Fort Victoria, Australia which explored productivity of P. maximum under closed canopy, open canopy and in open grassland showed consistently that dry matter yield was highest in sites under open canopies (Kennard and Walker 1973). Results of a 4 year experiment (Waidyanatha, Wijesinghe and Stauss 1984) in Sri Lanka for shade tolerance of P. maximum under a cultivated stand of Hevea brasiliensis (planted a year before experiment's initiation as budding stumps at a spacing of 4.3x4.9m) showed a decline in annual dry matter yield of P. maximum between the first year (dry matter yield was 11,132 kg ha-1) and last year (2180 kg ha-1 yielded). P. maximum is drought resistant, but will not stand long periods of complete desiccation (Judd 1974). Does not grow in sites liable to prolonged waterlogging or flooding (Russel and Webb 1976 in Skerman and Riveros 1990).

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering and fruiting: August-December
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Flower/Fruit

Fl. & Fr. Per.: June-October.
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Life Cycle

Persistence: PERENNIAL

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Life Expectancy

Perennial.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Megathyrsus maximus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Megathyrsus maximus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 7
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Urochloa maxima

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 20
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Panicum maximum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 8
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Native to tropical Africa and Madagascar and considered widely common. Occurs naturally in shady places, especially under canopy of trees and along river banks, but well adapted to a variety of conditions. (Widely introduced throughout the tropics [Leistner 1991] including New World nations of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil and the United States in Mississippi, Louisiana [Parsons 1972], Florida and Texas [Hitchcock and Chase 1950]. Also introduced to India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Sarawak, the Phillipines and Hawaii [Okeagu 1991]. Ca. 2.4 million ha of rain forest has been replaced by improved pastures of guineagrass in the Brazilian Amazon over the last 20 years [Serrao 1981]).

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Threats

Comments: The species is not threatened. Adapted to many habitats. Widely common in its native range.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Uses: FORAGE/BROWSE, Pasture, Silage/grain

Comments: P. maximum has provided an excellent fodder. Large scale cultivation of the species is done in South and Central America and the West Indies (Okeagu 1991). In Hitchcock, 1950, it is considered to be the most important cultivated forage grass of tropical America. It has been introduced throughout the tropics and subtropics on all continents and has escaped cultivation in many areas. It is also a major weed in sugar cane fields, due to its ability to grow under poor conditions. It can be killed by a pre-emergent spray of 2.4-D sodium salt at 4.5 kg/ha of an 840 g AI/kg product (eg Hormicide). No wetting agent is required when used as a pre-emergent spray. Use a minimum of 340 litres of water per hectare. For seedlings in the five-leaf stage, use Diuron at 2.5 kg/ha of an 800 g AI/kg product (Karmex, Diuron) applied in a minimum of 340 litres of water per hectare. For mature plants use 2.2-DPA at 2.3kg of a 740 g AI product (Shirpon, Dowpon) plus paraquat at 85 ml of a 200 g AI/litre product (e.g. Gramoxone) plus wetting agent at 250 ml per 200 litres of water. Spray to the point of runoff (Tilley 1977 in Skerman and Riveros 1990). Spraying young coarse guinea (a cultivar of P. maximum) plants with paraquat or dalapon also gives effective control. Frequent slashing, together with competition from more vigorous pasture plants, has also given some control (Teitzel and Harding 1972).

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Wikipedia

Megathyrsus maximus

Megathyrsus maximus, known as Guinea grass and green panic grass in English, is a large perennial bunch grass that is native to Africa, Palestine, and Yemen. It has been introduced in the tropics around the world. Until 2003, it was named Urochloa maxima. It was moved to genus Megathyrsus, which it shares with one other species, M. infestus.[3]

Description[edit]

Megathyrsus maximus grows naturally in open grasslands, usually under or near trees and shrubs and along riverbanks. It can withstand wildfire and drought. The species has broad morphological and agronomic variability, ranging in height from 0.5 to 3.5 m (1.6 to 11 ft), with 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) stems. Panicles are open, with as many as 9000 seeds per plant.

Uses[edit]

It can be used as a long-term foraging grass, if grazed consistently and if fertilized. It is well suited for cut-and-carry, a practice in which grass is harvested and brought to a ruminant animal in an enclosed system. Shade tolerance makes it suited to coexisting with trees in agroforestry. Some varieties have been used successfully for making silage and hay. The leaves contain good levels of protein, 6-25% depending on age and nitrogen supply.

Invasive species[edit]

In some places, such as Sri Lanka, it is considered an invasive weed that suppresses or displaces local native plants and is a fire hazard.[4]

In the Australian state of Queensland, the Queensland Acclimatisation Society introduced Guinea grass to 22 locations between 1865 and 1869.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Megathyrsus maximus (Jacq.) B.K.Simon & S.W.L. Jacobs". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-06-25. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  2. ^ Panicum maximum. Tropical Forages.
  3. ^ Megathyrsus. Grass Manual. Flora of North America.
  4. ^ Wisumperuma, D. (2007). Guinea grass at Sungei Buloh Nature Park. 219.
  5. ^ Clements, R. J. and E. F. Henzell. (2010).Pasture research and development in northern Australia: an ongoing scientific adventure. Tropical Grasslands 44, 221–30.

References[edit]

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Guinea Grass is a native of tropical Africa introduced into most other warm countries and well established in Pakistan. Its introduction to India probably dates from before 1800. It is an outstanding fodder grass readily eaten by cattle.

Morphologically it is extremely variable ranging from tall very robust plants about 3 m high to small plants less than 1 m high. The spikelets may be glabrous or pubescent. Tall specimens (especially those of southern India, Africa and North America) are distinguished from the North American Panicum plenum, by the bearded nodes and longer ligules, but this does not hold for Pakistani plants. These are nearly all the small variant and mostly have pubescent spikelets, the latter character being the best distinguishing feature since the nodes of these plants are usually glabrous.

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Many cultivars of the species exist.

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