Cenchrus ciliaris

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Cenchrus ciliaris
Cenchrus ciliaris.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Genus: Cenchrus
Species: C. ciliaris
Binomial name
Cenchrus ciliaris

Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link

Cenchrus ciliaris (buffel-grass[1] or African foxtail grass; syn. Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link) is a species of grass native to most of Africa, southern Asia (east to India), southern Iran, and the extreme south of Europe (Sicily).[2]

It is a perennial grass growing to 50 cm tall. The leaves are linear, 3–25 cm long and 4–10 mm wide. The flowers are produced in a panicle 2–14 cm long and 1–2.6 cm wide.[3]

As an invasive species[edit]

Cenchrus ciliaris has become naturalised and often an invasive species in Australia, the southwestern United States, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, South America, and Macaronesia.[2] In the Sonoran Desert it was introduced for erosion control. In the Mexican part of the Sonoran Desert, it is still being planted and irrigated for livestock grazing.

It spreads very quickly and will often kill local native plants such as palo verdes by taking away nearby water. This plant has a very low ignition threshold and can burst into a raging flame even during the peak growing season. Its flammability and quick regrowth allow it to compete successfully against almost all vegetation in the Sonoran Desert region.[4]


  1. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  2. ^ a b Germplasm Resources Information Network: Cenchrus ciliaris.
  3. ^ Clayton, W.D.; Vorontsova, M.S.; Harman, K.T.; Williamson, H. "Cenchrus ciliaris". GrassBase - The Online World Grass Flora. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 
  4. ^ Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: Buffelgrass.

External links[edit]