Panicum coloratum is a species of grass known by the common names kleingrass, blue panicgrass (USA), white buffalograss (southern Africa); Bambatsi panic, makarikari grass, and coolah grass (Australia). It is native to Africa, and it has been introduced elsewhere, such as the United States and Australia, and bred into many cultivars.
This plant is variable in appearance. In general, is a perennial bunchgrass which usually has rhizomes. The firm, usually erect stems grow up to 1.4 meters tall. The leaf blades are 10 to 30 centimeters long. They are green to a waxy blue-green color. The panicles are variable in length. The spikelets are green and purple.
This grass is used as a pasture grass and to make hay. It produces a large amount of forage for animals. It is drought-tolerant and does well in hot climates. This C4 plant can grow on saline soils and requires an amount of sodium for effective photosynthesis. Different cultivars have varying tolerances of sodium. While it makes a good graze for animals, the grass has occasionally been associated with liver damage and photosensitivity in young ruminants and horses. This photosensitivity can lead to sunburn, which causes swelling of the head and ears of the animal, a condition commonly called "swellhead".
- Panicum coloratum. Tropical Forages.
- Bambatsi Panic. Government of Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food.
- Panicum coloratum. USDA NRCS Plant Fact Sheet.
- Panicum coloratum. Grass Manual Treatment.
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- Behling, A. Kleingrass catches on. Hay and Forage Grower February 1, 2001.
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- Matoh, T. and S. Murata. (1990). Sodium stimulates growth of Panicum coloratum through enhanced photosynthesis. Plant Physiol 92 1169-73.
- Taleisnik, E., et al. (1998). Salinity effects on the early development stages of Panicum coloratum: Cultivar differences. Grass and Forage Science 53(3) 270-78.
- Hepatotoxic Plants. Merck Veterinary Manual.
- Bridges, C. H., et al. (1987). Kleingrass (Panicum coloratum L.) poisoning in sheep. Vet Pathol 24(6) 525-31.
- Sheep, goat producers should watch for kleingrass problems. Livestock Weekly