Axonopus fissifolius

Click on images to enlarge

Print Fact Sheet

Scientific name

Axonopus fissifolius (Raddi) Kuhlm.


Axonopus affinis Chase
Paspalum fissifolium Raddi


Family: Poaceae (alt. Gramineae) subfamily: Panicoideae tribe: Paniceae.

Common names

caratao grass, carpet grass, common carpet grass, Louisiana grass (USA);  mat grass, narrow-leaved (narrowleaf) carpet grass, durrington grass (Australia);  teppichrasengras (German);  grama-missioneira (Brazil);  zacate amargo (Mexico).

Morphological description

Shallow-rooted (>90 % of roots in the 0-5 cm layer) perennial, initially forming shortly rhizomatous tufts that quickly develop vigorous stolons with relatively short, glabrous oval-section (± 2 x 1.5 mm) internodes;  forms a dense mat with foliage 15-30 cm tall, and flowering culms mostly 30-60 cm;  can be mowed to a turf.  Leaf sheath compressed, keeled, largely glabrous;  ligule a fringed membrane 0.5 mm long;  blades 4-6 (-8) mm wide, and 5-15 (-28) cm long, flat or folded, glabrous except for sparse spreading hairs on the lower margins of young leaves, bluntly acute at the tip.  Inflorescence a panicle comprising 2 or 3 (rarely 4-7) slender, spikelike racemes, paired or sub-digitately arranged on a long slender peduncle;  racemes (2-) 3-7 (-10) cm long;  spikelets, 1.7-2.8 mm long, 1 mm broad, inserted alternately either side of a flattened rachis;  caryopsis tan to pale brown, compressed-ellipsoid to lenticular , 1.4-1.8 mm long.  2.5-3 million seeds per kg.
Differs from A. compressus in having more slender culms and stolons, narrower leaves and shorter, more obtuse spikelets.


Native to:
North America:  South and central USA, Mexico.
Central America and Caribbean:  Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama.
South America :  Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Occurs on low, flat areas in humid and sub-humid warm temperate to tropical woodland and savannah .

Naturalised in:
Africa, Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands.


Used as a permanent pasture, ground cover and turf in moist, low fertility soils.  It is generally too low growing to be useful in cut-and-carry systems or for fodder conservation .

Feeding value

Nutritive value

No record of toxicity.



DM yields are mostly in the range of 1-5 t/ha/yr, even in fertilised grass .

Production potential

Dry matter

2n = 20, 40, 60, 80.

Animal production

Commercial seed is mostly produced in the humid sub-tropics, mostly as "opportunity" crops.  While in most other grass seed crops, stands are "cleared off" to produce a synchronous crop, and nitrogen fertiliser applied to promote tillering, this is generally not followed for seed crops of this species.  Crops ripen unevenly and are mostly harvested non-destructively, providing about 50 kg/ha of seed per pass.  Fresh seed should be dried at no more than 35ºC, to avoid damage to the seed.


Susceptible to DSMA, bentazon, bromoxynil, 2,2-DPA and metsulfuron methyl.  Tolerant of diclofop methyl.

Seed production

Herbicide effects


Barnard, C. (1969) Herbage Plant Species. Australian Herbage Plant Registration Authority; Canberra, CSIRO Australia, Division of Plant Industries.
Bogdan, A.V. (1977) Tropical Pasture and Fodder Plants. pp. 44-45. (Longman Inc., New York).
Campbell, L.R.V. (1999) Paspalum dilatatum and Axonopus affinis in Australia. In: Loch, D.S. and Ferguson, J.E. (eds) Forage Seed Production Volume 2: Tropical and Subtropical Species. (CAB International, Oxon., UK).
Cassidy, G.J. (1971) Response of a mat grass - paspalum sward to fertilizer application. Tropical Grasslands, 5, 11-22.
Evans, D.O., Joy, R.J. and Chia, C.L. (1988) Cover Crops for orchards in Hawaii. Hawaii Institute of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. p. 14.
Jones, R.M. and Bunch, G.A. (2003) Experiences with farm pastures at the former CSIRO Samford Research Station, south-east Queensland, and how these relate to results from 40 years of research. Tropical Grasslands, 37, 151-164.
Lima, L.M.S., Alquini, Y., Brito, C.J.F.A. de, Deschamps, F.C. (2001) Degradação ruminal dos tecidos vegetais e composição bromatolÓgica de cultivares de Axonopus scoparius (Flüegge) Kuhlm. E Axonopus fissifolius (Raddi) Kuhlm. Ciência Rural, 31, 509-515.

Other comments

Selected references


Country/date released


None released to date.      

Internet links

Promising accessions



None reported.