Andropogon aciculatus Retz.
Mackie's pest, grass seed (Australia), love grass (Malaysia),
manienieula (Hawaii), kase, seed grass (Fiji).
A vigorous creeping grass with stout, tough rhizomes, the culms
ascending to 45 cm. Inflorescence a small panicle, 7.5-10 cm long, with
numerous slender branches. Spikelets narrow. Awn bristly, short and fine.
The branches at first ascend almost vertically, spread obliquely at flowering
and then bend upward again at fruiting. Each branch has three spikelets
at its tip, one sessile and two pedicelled.
Widely distributed in the tropics of Asia, Polynesia and Australia
at low elevations.
It is fairly drought tolerant.
Although occurring on neutral soils, it favours sandy acidic
loams with pH 5.1-6.1. It prefers moist soils.
Response to defoliation
One of the few grasses which can stand heavy grazing in India
(Bor, 1960). Under heavy grazing it replaced Arundinaria ciliata at Khon
Kaen, Thailand (Robertson, Humphreys & Edwards, 1976).
It is common on abandoned cultivations on poor sandy soils.
Genetics and reproduction
2n=20 (Fedorov, 1974).
An extremely common grass in village pasture in the plains
of Asia because the prostrate, creeping stems resist overgrazing and trampling.
Grazing animals suffer severely from the ripe fruits becoming attached
to their hair by the sharp basal callus. By this means the fruit works
its way into the flesh and causes extensive ulceration. Dogs frequently
develop abscesses between the toes from the same cause, and germinating
seeds of this grass can sometimes be pressed out of large bags of pus in
the dog's flesh (Bor, 1960). Useful for rough lawns, forming a dense, hard-wearing
turf, but a troublesome weed when uncontrolled because of the sharp-pointed
seeds (Henty, 1969). A serious pest in north Queensland. The seeds work
through clothing and cause irritating sores. It used to be used as a cover
for coconut plantations in the Philippines, and in Guam the straw was used
for making hats and mats. Probably represents the final stage in deterioration
of the Phragmites/Saccharum/lmperata swamp grasslands in India (Dabadghao
& Shankarnarayan, 1970).
Dabadghao & Shankarnarayan, 1970.
Value for erosion control
Its creeping rhizome and its capacity to resist hard grazing
makes it useful for stabilizing embankments and similar sites.