Megathyrsus maximus

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Megathyrsus maximus
Megathyrsus maximus whole4 (7370586296).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Genus: Megathyrsus
M. maximus
Binomial name
Megathyrsus maximus
(Jacq.) B.K.Simon & S.W.L.Jacobs, 2003

Megathyrsus maximus, known as Guinea grass and green panic grass,[1] is a large perennial bunch grass that is native to Africa and Yemen. It has been introduced in the tropics around the world. It has previously been called Urochloa maxima and Panicum maximum. It was moved to the genus Megathyrsus in 2003.[3]


Megathyrsus maximus grows naturally in open grasslands, usually under or near trees and shrubs and along riverbanks. It can withstand wildfire and drought. The species has broad morphological and agronomic variability, ranging in height from 0.5 to 3.5 m (1.6 to 11.5 ft), with 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) stems. The plant also can reproduce through apomixis, effectively cloning itself through seed. Panicles are open, with as many as 9,000 seeds per plant.


It can be used as a long-term foraging grass if grazed consistently and if fertilized. It is well suited for cut-and-carry, a practice in which grass is harvested and brought to a ruminant animal in an enclosed system. Shade tolerance makes it suited to coexisting with trees in agroforestry. Some varieties have been used successfully for making silage and hay. The leaves contain good levels of protein, 6-25% depending on age and nitrogen supply.

Invasive species[edit]

In some places, such as South Texas, Sri Lanka[4] and Hawai'i, it is an invasive weed that suppresses or displaces local native plants and is a fire hazard.

In the Australian state of Queensland, the Queensland Acclimatisation Society introduced Guinea grass to 22 locations between 1865 and 1869.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Megathyrsus maximus". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2010-01-07.
  2. ^ Panicum maximum. Tropical Forages.
  3. ^ Megathyrsus. Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine Grass Manual. Flora of North America.
  4. ^ Dhanesh Wisumperuma, “First known record of guinea grass cultivation in Sri Lanka, 1801-1802”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka 53, 2007: 219-22.
  5. ^ Clements, R. J. and E. F. Henzell. (2010).Pasture research and development in northern Australia: an ongoing scientific adventure. Tropical Grasslands 44, 221–30.

External links[edit]