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Cenchrus Ciliaris, Buffel Grass - 0.5 Kg Seeds

Cenchrus ciliaris, buffel grass, African foxtail grass. Cenchrus ciliaris is a perennial, tufted grass. The inflorescence is a bristly 'spike' (like a cat's tail) and is nearly always purple to straw-coloured.
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Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) is receiving long overdue attention as an invasive weed that poses serious threats to biodiversity conservation worldwide. Most research focuses on the species as forage plant and is largely published in agricultural and grey literature.

Meanwhile, there is a dearth of information about the species ecology in natural landscapes despite strong evidence from field workers and managers that the species is an aggressive invader and threat to biodiversity in many environments.

Common name: buffel grass, buffelgrass, foxtail buffalo grass, blue buffalo grass, african foxtail grass (English); bloubuffelgras (South Africa); cenchrus cilié (French); Büffelgras (German); anjan grass , koluk katai, dhaman (India); pasto buffel (Spanish); zacate buffel (Spanish - Mexico); capim-búfel (Portuguese - Brazil).
Height: Up to 50 cm
Difficulty level: Moderate

Planting & Care
Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris L.) is grown widely in tropical and sub-tropical arid rangelands around the globe because of its high tolerance to drought and capacity to withstand heavy grazing. Outside its natural range, Buffel grass can rapidly invade native vegetation, roadsides and urban landscapes, altering the wildfire regime and displacing the native flora and fauna.

Due to the economic benefits of the species, eradication is controversial and weed management authorities are ill-informed to effectively target management actions. While over 400 research papers have been published relating to the improvement of Buffel pasture, less than 20 relate to its impact on biodiversity and even fewer describe its nature as an invader (Web of Science, June 2011).

Strategic control of Buffel grass invasions requires knowledge of regions infested with or vulnerable to invasion, as well as a willingness from the community to be involved in controlling its spread, all of which are currently lacking.

Sunlight: Full sun. Intolerant of shade.

Soil: Often occurs in the wild on sandy soils, but is also well adapted to deep, freely draining sandy loam, loam, clay loam and red earth soils. Although slow to establish on black cracking clay soils, once established it grows well. Requires good fertility, particularly with respect to N, P and Ca. P levels should be >10 mg/kg and total N levels >0.1%. The optimum soil reaction is pH 7-8, but grows on soils with pH as low as 5.5.

Water: The most drought tolerant of the commonly sown grasses, Cenchrus ciliaris occurs naturally in areas with average annual rainfall from as low as 100 mm up to about 1,000 mm, but most commonly between 300 and 750 mm.

Temprature: Relative growth rate rises steeply from 15/10º-30/25ºC, with a small further increment to 36/31ºC.

Fertilizer: Establishment fertiliser is rarely necessary since Cenchrus ciliaris should only be sown on fertile soils. However, phosphorous may be necessary if sowing with a legume . Stands become unproductive with time as nitrogen is tied up in the root system. It is generally not economical to apply nitrogen fertiliser to overcome this situation, but management techniques include use of legumes (e.g. Leucaena leucocephala ) or limited cultivation to release mineral N from the soil organic matter every 3-5 years.

  • Generally, Buffel grass is apomictic (Bray, 1978), although rare sexual individuals have been identified (Akiyama et al.
  • , 2005).
  • Seed spreads easily by wind, along water courses and human or animal traffic.
  • Some varieties can also reproduce vegetatively through rhizomes and stolons.
  • The result of this is that a range of plant forms occur and can be observed growing in dense monotypic stands, as well as in small clumps or even lone tussocks throughout the landscape.


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