Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris
, sometimes referred to as Pennisetum ciliare
), is a fast-growing, tropical perennial bunchgrass. Buffel grass is native to Asia and many parts of Africa; it has been introduced to semi-arid regions worldwide for erosion control and use as a fodder. It is considered an invasive weed in Australia, southwestern United States, Mexico and Hawaii. Buffel grass grows in clumps which can form dense thickets. Buffel grass favours alkaline soils and within arid areas establishes best in pockets of high nutrients and moisture. It can look dramatically different depending on the time of the year. Leaves vary in color from yellowish to bluish-green.
Buffel grass attributes:
- Stem: Ascendant to erect, and branching culms.
- Leaves: Linear; green, blue green to grey-green; scabrous, mostly glabrous, sometimes hairy at the base.
- Seedhead: Panicle; erect or nodding; straw, grey or purple-colored. Bristly, false spike 2-15 cm in length. Each bur-like fascicle has a single spikelet or cluster of 2-4 spikelets and are surrounded by an involucre of bristles of various lengths up to 16 mm in length; barbed bristles.
- Roots: Deep, strong fibrous root system.
- Look alikes:
Buffel grass is reported to contain 1 to 2% DM soluble oxalate levels, which may cause "big head" disease (Osteodystrophia fibrosa
) in horses and and hypocalcemia in grazing animals. This disease is most prevalent during the wet season when grass is young and lush.