Dichanthium caricosum

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Scientific name

Dichanthium caricosum (L.) A. Camus

Synonyms

Andropogon caricosus L.

Family/tribe

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

Common names

Nadi blue grass (Fiji);  Antigua hay grass (West Indies);  jiribilla (Cuba);  roadside bluestem (USA).

Morphological description

A creeping stoloniferous perennial with blue-tinged stems and fine pointed leaves, 4–20 cm long, 2–6 mm wide.  Stolons can grow to 1.5–2 metres;  nodes are generally hairless.  Slender seed stems grow to 45 cm.  1–3 racemes, usually 2, 2–10 cm long, on a many-jointed rachis.  Spikelets paired, one sessile and one stalked.  Spikelets are all very close together and overlap each other.  Only the sessile spikelet has an awn , 1–2.5 cm long.
D. caricosum has erect, semi-erect and spreading forms in northern India.

Distribution

Native to:
South Asia:  India, Sri Lanka.
Indo-China:  Myanmar, Thailand.
Malesia:  Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea.

Naturalised in:
West Indies and in Fiji and other Pacific Islands.  Dominant grass in savannas of north-east Java, Indonesia.  Becoming popular in the Chaco region of northern Argentina.

Uses/applications

A semi-improved perennial grazing pasture with excellent ground cover.  For permanent pastures and erosion control.

Feeding value

Nutritive value

Palatable and readily eaten by cattle, sheep, goats and horses.

Palatability/acceptability

None recorded.

Toxicity

Production potential

Dry matter

LWGs of 100 kg/ha/yr from unimproved grassland at a stocking rate of 2.5 steers/ha;  150 kg/ha/yr with legumes (sown Macroptilium atropurpureum and naturalised Desmodium heterophyllum ) and superphosphate.  Animals may lose weight during the dry season because of lack of growth of grass .

Animal production

Genetics/breeding

Fluffy seed can be hand-harvested with sickles or mechanically harvested with a brush harvester.

Seed production

No information available.

Herbicide effects

Strengths

Other comments

Bisset, W.J. and Sillar, D.I. (1984) Angleton grass (Dichanthium aristatum ) in Queensland. Tropical Grasslands, 18, 161-174.
Partridge, I.J. (1979) Improvement of Nadi blue grass (Dichanthium caricosum ) pastures on hill land with superphosphate and siratro: effects of stocking rate on beef production and botanical composition. Tropical Grasslands, 13, 157–164.
Partridge, I.J. and Ranacou, E. (1974) Effects of supplemental Leucaeana leucocephala browse on steers grazing Dichanthium caricosum in Fiji. Tropical Grasslands, 8, 107–112.
Vivier, M. and Doreau, M. (1979) Natural Dichanthium caricosum grassland in Guadeloupe. Agronomie Tropicale, 34, 362–371.

Selected references

http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/tax_search.pl?dichanthium+caricosum
http://www.inta.gov.ar/benitez/info/documentos/nutri/art/AANB42.htm
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/data/pf000215.htm

Internet links

Cultivars

Country/date released

Details

‘Marvel 40’
(CPI 106073)
India (1971) Produce 40-100% more dry matter than the naturally occurring strain. ‘Marvel 93’
(CPI 106075)
India (1971) Produce 40-100% more dry matter than the naturally occurring strain. ‘Alabang X’ Philippines This may be D. caricosum   and not D. aristatum .

Cultivars

Promising accessions

Country

Details

   Paraguay and northern Argentina On heavier clay soils in the Chaco