Eastern game grass (United States).
Densely clumped grass with short, fibrous, woody rhizomes.
Culms oval, stout, woody, solid, to 3-4 m tall, 3-5 cm thick at base, branching
erect at centre of clump, geniculate peripherally, stilt-rooting from lower
nodes, with a single ring of purple or mauve roots at the node, often growing
through the persistent culm sheath; nodes glabrous, 5-14 cm long. Leaf-sheaths
overlapping at base, clasping when young, lax and papery when old, often
persistent, about 20 cm long; leaf-blades lanceolate-acuminate, to 1.5
m long and 10 cm wide, widest at about two-thirds of its length. Inflorescence
to 30 cm long, terminal and axillary, of one to six racemes of unisexual
spikelets, female basally for one-third to one- eighth of the length of
the raceme, male distally (Gilliland et al., 1971). It differs from T.
laxum in that the inflorescence is stiff, and the male spikelets are longer
Western Hemisphere, United States to Brazil; Malaysia.
Season of growth
About 1 000-1 500 mm annually.
It grows best on moist, well-drained, fertile soils.
Number of seeds per kg.
15 000 (United States).
Vigour of growth and growth
It makes major growth in early spring and stays green until
frosts. It seeds from July to September in the United States.
Response to defoliation
This grass should not be cut closer than 25 cm from the ground.
It can be grazed during spring and summer, but deteriorates
after frost and provides little winter grazing. Grazing is best if deferred
at least 90 days every two to three years, to enable plants to produce
Cattle have difficulty in biting through the tough midribs of the leaves,
and the shallow-rooted stools are easily uprooted. It makes very little
growth in dry weather. It is persistent, and stands can be maintained almost
indefinitely under sound management (Whyte, Moir & Cooper, 1959). Inter-
row shallow cultivation helps control weeds but deep cultivation destroys
the shallow roots. It is seldom grazed, but generally cut for soilage or
silage at six- to ten-week intervals at a height of 25 cm; it is fertilized
with nitrogen as necessary. Generally less productive than elephant grass
(Pennisetum purpureum) and lower in nutritive value.
Despite the above remarks, workers in Suriname found that, after the
pasture was grazed for three years with rest periods of two months, a year
without grazing put the pasture into excellent condition (Appelman &
Dry-matter and green-matter
In Suriname it yielded 25 000 kg/ha of green matter in the
first year without fertilizer, and 10 000 kg/ha in the second year (Appelman
& Dirven, 1972).
Suitability for hay and
It is a choice hay plant and is usually managed for hay production
in the United States, although no more than 50-60 percent of the current
season's growth should be removed at any time during the growing season.
For quality hay, it is cut at 15-20 cm when the seed-heads start appearing
(Leithead, Yarlett & Shiflet, 1971).
It is susceptible to frost.
Response to photoperiod
Flowering is accelerated by short days (Evans, Wardlaw &
Tolerance to flooding
It does not tolerate standing water for long periods.
Compatibility with other
grasses and legumes
It is usually grown as a pure stand, and inclusion of legumes
Genetics and reproduction
2n=54, 70, 72 (Fedorov, 1974). It is a diplosporous apomict.
The grass is being quite extensively planted on rubber estates
in Malaysia as a soil conditioner in drained swamps, and for mulching.
It provides good fodder (Gilliland et al., 1971).
Leithead, Yarlett & Shiflet, 1971.