Eragrostis chloromelas Steud.

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Graminae

Common names

Boer love grass (United States).

Description

Plants with short, dense, basal tufts of filiform, curling leaves; inflorescence open and lax, branches filiform, flexible, purplish; spikelets spreading, not appressed to the branches. It is very similar to E. curvula in that both the culms are not branched (Chippendall, 1955). It is a tufted perennial. The basal leaves provide most of the forage. The seed-heads are distinctly diamond shaped.

Distribution

Africa. Introduced to the United States.

Season of growth

Spring through summer to autumn.

Rainfall requirements

Around 625 mm (Bogdan & Pratt, 1967).

Drought tolerance

Adapted to semi-desert conditions and very drought resistant.

Soil requirements

Loose sandy loams and loams (Bogdan & Pratt, 1967).

Ability to spread naturally

It spreads well by seed.

Land preparation for establishment

A rough seed-bed prepared with a disc harrow is needed.

Sowing methods

Broadcast.

Sowing depth and cover

Surface sow and cover lightly.

Sowing time and rate

Sow in summer at about 200 g/ha.

Number of seeds per kg.

6.6 million (naked caryopses) (Bogdan & Pratt, 1967).

Main attributes

Its ability to produce green feed in the spring and continue into summer and autumn.

Frost tolerance

It is easily killed by frost (Humphrey, 1960a).

Palatability

Its palatability is rather low (Bogdan & Pratt, 1967) in Kenya but Humphrey (1960a) states that cattle make good use of Boer love grass in Arizona, especially in autumn when other grasses have dried off.

Chemical analysis and digestibility

No figures have been cited.

Genetics and reproduction

2n=40, 60, 63 (Fedorov, 1974).

Seed production and harvesting

The seed is in the form of naked caryopses of good quality that are easy to handle (Bogdan & Pratt, 1967).

Economics

It is a valuable grass in semi-desert tropical grassland areas.

Animal production

It is hardy and persistent under moderately dry conditions and has been used with fair success in reseeding rangeland at West Pokot and around Baringo in Kenya (Bogdan & Pratt, 1967).

Further reading

Humphrey, 1960a.

Tolerance to salinity

It is not well adapted to alkaline soils.