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African star grass
(Cynodon nlemfluensis and C. plectostachyus)

African star grass - illustration  
  • creeping
  • stoloniferous, no rhizomes
  • good ground cover
  • excellent for waterways
  • wide range of fertile soils
  • tolerant of grazing.

Cynodon nlemfluensis Venderyst -
1 flowering plant part; 2 spikelet.

Star grass is a perennial with creeping stems (stolons) which root well. It is grown in areas of 500-1,200 mm rainfall on a wide range of soils, from sands to black clays, provided they have reasonable fertility. It is known as Coondai couch on the Darling Downs.

Although African star grass flowers, it does not set viable seed and so has to be planted from cuttings. Because of the labour requirement, planting is now generally restricted to waterways, although it has been planted on dairy farms.

It is not particularly palatable and can have a high cyanide content; however, it will remain edible after frosting.

Star grass is used mainly for soil conservation works as it will quickly give a good ground cover from rapid stolon growth (unlike C. dactylon it does not have rhizomes).

Star grass can die out in waterways through a lack of nitrogen. There are a number of types of star grass with leaves ranging from fine to coarse. Most are C. nlemfluensis as little C. plectostachyus has naturalised.

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

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