is an ideal forage plant as it grows well on a wide variety of soils and
even under light shade of trees and bushes (and thus can be grown with other
crops). It can survive long dry spells and quick-moving fires which does
not harm the underground roots. It also responds quickly to fertiliser and
watering. It grows from sea level up to 1,200m. The seeds are dispersed
A native of Africa, this grass was introduced to almost all tropical
countries as a source of animal fodder. Its seeds are still sold commercially
today for this purpose.
Its leaves are fine and soft and contains good levels of protein (13-21%).
and wetland wildlife at
Sungei Buloh Nature Park
up to 2m tall.
Leaves: Long narrow,
Flowers: Inflorescence of tiny flowers.
Rice-like seed heads.
Status in Singapore: Common
World distribution: Native
to Africa, it has been introduced to almost all other
Classification: Family Poaceae.
Role in the habitat: Its seeds provide food for birds such as Munias,
and the long leaves provide nesting material for birds like the Baya
Weaver (Ploceus philippinus). They also provide shelter for smaller
creatures to hide in.
On the one hand, Guinea Grass is considered as a suitable plant to stop
soil erosion on slopes (it has dense root mats) while providing valuable
fodder. On the other hand, it is considered a dangerous exotic weed that
suppresses or displaces local plants. Its resistance to drought also means
it builds up a dangerous mass of plant material so when fires occur, the
blaze is fiercer and native plants which have not built up fire-tolerance
are wiped out. As Guinea Grass can survive fires, it dominates the ground
after a fire.