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Sabi Grass
(Urochloa mosambicensis)

  • creeping grass with short stolons
  • large seed aids ready establishment
  • for hot, seasonally dry conditions
  • early growth and flowering after rains.

Urochloa mosambicensis (Hack) Dandy -
1 habit; 2 inflorescence; 3 spikelets.

Sabi (cv. Nixon) is a perennial grass, either tufted or creeping with short stolons, giving it a low growth habit. Sabi should not be confused with liverseed grass (Urochloa panicoides), which is a very short-season annual plant now naturalised in subtropical and tropical Australia. The leaves of sabi grass are longer and more erect, and have straight margins whereas the leaves of liverseed are crinkly along the margins.

Sabi grass is commonly sown or naturalised in areas receiving from 500-1,200 mm annual rainfall with a strong dry season. It grows quickly after rains, but, although drought-resistant, it hays off quickly once soil moisture runs out. It has poor frost tolerance, and so is best suited to the tropics.

It is adapted to a wide range of soils, but responds well to good fertility; however, it does not tolerate badly drained sites or soils subject to flooding.

Sabi grass combines well with legumes, especially stylos. It was often planted with Townsville stylo when the native grasses had been eaten out, but now grows well with Seca and Verano. Sabi grass will provide a grass component in a stylo pasture where the native grass species have been eaten out by overstocking. A small amount of sabi seed sown with the legume seed may gradually increase with time to provide a more stable pasture.

A creeping urochloa selected for rehabilitating mine spoils has been released as cv. Saraji. This could also be a useful grazing species, although it appears to become less vigorous with time.

Creator: Ian Partridge
Date created: 07 April 1998  Revised: 15 January 2003

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