Brachiaria arrecta

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Scientific name

Brachiaria arrecta (Hack. ex T. Durand & Schinz) Stent


Urochloa arrecta (Hack. ex T. Durand & Schinz) Morrone & Zuloaga
Brachiaria radicans Napper
Panicum arrectum Hack. ex T. Durand & Schinz [basionym]


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

Common names

tanner grass, African signal grass, napper/nappier grass .
In Colombia, sometimes known as “braquipará” (although “braquipará” is also used for Brachiaria plantaginea and a putative B. decumbens x B. mutica hybrid ).

Morphological description

Stoloniferous perennial with smooth, angled culms that root at the lower nodes.  Leaf-blades lanceolate, up to 15 cm long by 7–14 mm wide.  Flowering culms will grow to 100–150 cm tall;  inflorescence a racemose panicle;  6–10 racemes with a wavy rachis, 1.5 mm wide and glabrous ;  spikelets 4 mm long.
Quite similar to B. mutica with which it seems to hybridize naturally (e.g., “tangola” grass in Brazil).


Native to:
Africa :  Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia (north-east), Natal, South Africa (Cape Province, Transvaal), Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Humid tropics and humid subtropics.

Naturalized elsewhere in tropics and subtropics, including United States (Florida).


Permanent pasture, ground cover against soil erosion, ponded pasture .


Soil requirements

Native to swampy and seasonally flooded grassland, but has been grown in acid soils with high Al in Puerto Rico.  Suitable for lowland areas subject to temporary flooding.  Good tolerance to salinity reported in Guyana.


Different opinions that may relate to sites that stay locally wet during the dry season:
1. Rainfall above 1,200 mm but tolerates a dry season of up to 6 months.
2. Rainfall 1,500–2,000 mm, evenly distributed throughout the year.
Can grow in waterlogged soils and stand inundation for more than a month.  Not drought tolerant.


Warm season grass, has been reported to grow at 1,300–2,000 m asl in Tanzania.


Poor tolerance to shade.

Reproductive development

No information available.


Can withstand heavy grazing and recover well, but is susceptible to cutting below 5 cm.


No information available.


Guidelines for the establishment and management of sown pastures.


Planted vegetatively from stem cuttings (2,500–4,500 kg/ha) and establishes easily - more quickly than Cynodon nlemfuensis , Brachiaria ruziziensis or Digitaria eriantha (pangola grass ).
Has given complete ground cover within 8 months after planting at 1,000 hills/ha.


Generally reported to respond well, especially to P.

Compatibility (with other species)

No reports;  probably similar to para grass (B. mutica ).

Companion species

No reports;  probably similar to para grass (B. mutica ).

Pests and diseases

Relative resistance to cercopid spittlebug.  Tanner and tangola grass (hybrid of B. arrecta and B. mutica ) have recently been attacked by chinch bug (Blissus antillus) in the states of Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.  Chinch bugs are serious pests of maize (Zea mays ), wheat (Triticum aestivum), sorghum (Sorghum spp.) and various grasses in the USA.

Ability to spread

Yes, by stolons.

Weed potential

High in wetlands.

Feeding value

Nutritive value

Moderately high at optimum stage (7.8% CP in Puerto Rico);  9.2% CP and 61% IVDMD of tanner grass in oesophageal extrusa of grazing livestock in Brazil.


No reports indicating low palatability.  Probably similar to para grass (B. mutica ).


Toxic to cattle under certain conditions due to high nitrate content.  Photosensitization reported and anaemia in horses and sheep grazing tanner grass.  Intoxication symptoms noted after 4 days on tanner grass at flowering stage.  Clinical signs, and gross pathology, suggested intoxication resulted from nitrate-nitrite causing production of methaemoglobin and an unknown factor which caused hepato-renal damage and intravascular haemolysis.

Production potential

Dry matter

In Puerto Rico, 34 t/ha/year DM when well-fertilized and irrigated;  19 t/ha/year DM on flooded lowlands of Orinoco Delta.

Animal production

In Puerto Rico, Holstein heifers gained 0.47 kg/head/day, giving 860 kg/ha at a stocking rate of 5 head/ha.  Tanner grass fertilised with 100 kg/ha N produced LWGs of 0.56 kg/head over 448 days in the humid tropics of Mexico.


2n = 36;  tangola grass in Brazil is a natural hybrid of B. arrecta x B. mutica .

Seed production

No information available.

Herbicide effects

No information available.



Selected references

Bogdan, A.V. (1977) Tropical Pasture and Fodder Plants. (Longman: London and New York).
Goes, R.H.T.B., Mancio, A.B., Lana, R.P., Valadares Filho, S.C., Cecon, P.R., Queiroz, A.C. and Costa, R.M. (2003) Avaliação qualitativa da pastagem de capim tanner-grass (Brachiaria arrecta ), por três diferentes métodos de amostragem. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia, 32, 64–69.
Torregrozza, L., Cuadrado, H. and Vega, A. (2002) ProducciÓn, composiciÓn química y digestibilidad del pasto braquipará (Brachiaria arrecta ) en diferentes épocas y edad de rebrote. Boletín Divulgativo No. 51. (Corpoica-Turipaná, Montería, Colombia).

Internet links



Country/date released


None released to date.      

Promising accessions

Promising accessions



CIAT 6020 Colombia