Bothriochloa pertusa (L.) A. Camus

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Graminae

Synonyms

Amphilophis pertusa (L.) Stapf; Andropogon pertusus (L.) Willd.

Common names

Seymour grass, hurricane grass (Africa), camagueyana (Cuba), Indian blue grass (Australia), Barbados sour grass.

Description

Tufted perennial 30-70 cm high, rarely stoloniferous. Sessile spikelets finely hairy on the back and sides; pedicelled spikelets, usually with one pit but occasionally with three or none (Napper, 1965). Very close to Bothriochloa insculpta, the latter having a glabrous lower glume and one to three pits. It is smaller with slightly smaller panicles and shorter spikelets. In some specimens of B. pertusa the culms creep about the surface of the soil and root at the nodes (Bor, 1960). Roots penetrate to 55 cm with production of 6 356 kg/ha of root on alluvial soil at Varanasi, India (Ramam, 1970). Rhizomes constitute 80 percent of the total below-ground dry matter.

Distribution

Kenya, Uganda, southern and north-eastern tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, Caribbean archipelago.

Altitude range

Sea-level to 2 100 m in India.

Rainfall requirements

In the areas of 500-1 375 mm in India (Whyte, 1968) and in the dry zone of Burma with 600-1 000 mm of rainfall, up to 1 800 mm in Timor.

Drought tolerance

Withstands short dry spells. Shankarnarayan (1963) lists it as a perennial drought-evading plant.

Soil requirements

It will grow on poor soils and succeeds H. rufa on poor soils in Panama. It is common on the black cotton soils of India (Chinnamani, 1968) and Timor (Whyte, 1968) and also grows on a variety of soils from coarse to fine- textured with a pH range from pH 5.8-7.5 and on lateritic soils (Whyte, 1968).

Ability to spread naturally

It is a vigorous weed in the pastures of the United States Virgin Islands, invading Guinea grass, molasses grass and Bermuda grass (Oakes, 1968).

Land preparation for establishment

A fine seed-bed is preferable, but it will establish slowly in a rough seed-bed.

Sowing methods

Broadcast the seed on the surface of the soil and roll or cover lightly.

Sowing time and rate

Sow in early summer at 1.5 kg/ha.

Number of seeds per kg.

1 210 000 pure seed (Bogdan & Pratt, 1967).

Response to defoliation

It withstands heavy grazing and trampling (Bor, 1960). It represents the first stage in degradation of the Sehima/Dichanthium cover in India (Dabadghao & Shankarnarayan, 1973).

Response to fire

It survives fire (Whyte, 1968).

Dry-matter and green-matter yields

In Cuba, Pérez Infante (1970) obtained average annual yields of 15 000 kg DM/ha, of which 40 percent was produced in the dry season under sprinkler irrigation (Bogdan, 1977).

Suitability for hay and silage

Silage was made successfully in pits 7.62 x 0.45 x 1.83 m deep in India from 1940-45 from this grass (Whyte, 1964). It makes useful hay (Bor, 1960).

Cultivars

In Maharashtra State, India, Oke (1971) recommends cv. Ghana Marvel 20 which gives 40-100 percent more dry matter than the local strain. The Queensland Department of Primary Industries is evaluating six types of this species.

Diseases

There are no major diseases.

Main attributes

It will stand up to trampling and constant grazing.

Main deficiencies

Tends to become a weed.

Ability to compete with weeds

Excellent. It can invade also Guinea, molasses and Bermuda grasses, although can be suppressed by pangola grass (Oakes, 1968).

Pests

There are no major pests.

Palatability

It is quite palatable.

Natural habitat

Grassland on clay soils and open woodland.

Tolerance to flooding

Whyte (1964) lists it as an associated species in loamy soils subject to waterlogging at Ballasar colony, North Gujarat, India.

Genetics and reproduction

2n=40, 60 (Fedorov, 1974). In India it behaves both as an apomict and also undergoes sexual reproduction (Gupta, 1969-70)

Seed production and harvesting

The seed is a hairy spikelet with an attached joint and pedicel.

Economics

A bad weed of pastures in the Virgin Islands (Oakes, 1968). It is low- yielding ­ used for fodder, hay and mulching in India. Considered one of the better grasses in Barbados, Jamaica, Uganda and India.

Animal production

No figures have been found.

Further reading

Oakes, 1968; Pérez Infante, 1970; Rao, 1970.

Value for erosion control

It has been recommended for reseeding eroded land in India and shows promise for erosion control in central Queensland. It is a good grass for revegetating spoil from central Queensland coal mines.