Panicum turgidum

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Panicum turgidum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Panicum
Species: P. turgidum
Binomial name
Panicum turgidum

Panicum turgidum [1] is an old world clumping desert bunchgrass of the Panicum genus.


It is common across the Sahara and Arabia, from Senegal to Pakistan, and known by the a number of common names, most widely as Taman, tuman, or thaman in Egypt and Arabia; merkba or markouba in Mauritaina and some Saharan Arabics; and afezu in Tamachek.[2][3] Other common names include guinchi (eastern Sahara) and du-ghasi (Somalia).[4]


Panicum turgidum is a perennial bunchgrass, growing in dense bushes up to 1 metre (3.3 ft) tall. It has roots at the nodes which are covered in hairs to which fine sand adheres creating a felty appearance.

It is drought- and salt-tolerant[5] and used for flour, fodder, thatch and erosion control.


In the Nigerien Sahara, tussocks of Panicum turgidum act as a nurse plants for tree regeneration. They have been shown facilitating the regeneration of Acacia tortilis subsp. raddiana by protecting seedlings from drought and domestic herbivory. Accordingly, transplanting seedlings of Saharan trees inside Panicum’s tussocks may promote substantially reforestation in degraded areas on a long-term scale.[6]


  1. ^ USDA PLANTS Profile: Panicum turgidum Forssk. -- desert grass
  2. ^ Mughal, Muhammad Aurang Zeb. 2013. "Persian Gulf Desert and Semi-desert." Robert Warren Howarth (ed.), Biomes & Ecosystems, Vol. 3. Ipswich, MA: Salem Press, pp. 1000-1002.
  3. ^ Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa. Burkill, H.M. 1985. The useful plants of west tropical Africa, Vol 2. Panicum turgidum Forssk. (family POACEAE). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 10.1016/j.agee.2008.10.014 (2008)
  6. ^ Anthelme, F. & Michalet, M. 2009. Grass-to-tree facilitation in an arid grazed environment (Aïr Mountains, Sahara). Basic and Applied Ecology 10: 437:446.

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