Themeda triandra Forssk.
Fl. Aegypt.-Arab.: 178 (1775).


2n = 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80

synonyms Themeda imberbis (Retzius) Cooke (1908), T. australis (R. Br.) Stapf (in part) (1919).

Vernacular names Red oat grass, kangaroo grass (En). Indonesia: merakan lanang (Javanese). Philippines: bagokbok (Tagalog), samsamon (Ilokano), ipatpatey (Bontok). Cambodia: sb':w. Laos: hnaaz fk. Thailand: ya-faek. Vietnam: co' bng cao ru'[n]g khp, co'tam hu[n]g.

Origin and geographic distribution The natural distribution of red oat grass is pantropical/subtropical with extension into the temperate zone as a summer growing grass. It is most likely of Gondwanan origin with a predominant distribution in Australia, South-East Asia, India and Africa.

Uses Red oat grass is used as part of the naturally occurring savanna pastures for domestic livestock production and wildlife.

Properties In native pastures the N concentration of red oat grass ranges from 2.7% in green material from the early flush of the growing season to 0.5% in dry forage by the end of the dry season. Digestibility varies from about 60% to 35%.

Ecology Red oat grass is a typical andropogonoid grass of the tropical and subtropical savannas which are characterized by a marked seasonality of warm wet, and cooler dry seasons. It is a savanna grass in seasonally wet/dry climates of moderate rainfall. However, it also occurs in quite arid environments along drainage lines and run-on areas. It is relatively drought-tolerant, with its main range of distribution being within 5001200 mm of annual rainfall. It has been recorded at above 3000 m in the Himalayas. However, an interesting departure from this is its adaptation to growing during the warm season of the temperate zone provided there is moisture at that time. In the subtropics red oat grass will produce green growth in the cool season if there is some out-of-season rainfall, which is atypical of andropogonoid grasses. However, it is sensitive to continued intensive grazing and this unseasonal growth places it at greater risk from overgrazing when almost everything else is senesced and dormant. It has been shown to be particularly sensitive to heavy grazing when the growing points are elongating late in the growing season. Like Heteropogon contortus, red oat grass responds to dry-season burning, but being more sensitive to grazing, it will predominate in areas which are burnt and not significantly grazed, e.g. some road and railway exclosures. It grows on a wide range of soil types except heavy clays.

Prospects In production systems where a stable alternative can be established, either naturally as with replacement by Heteropogon contortus, or by conversion to planted pastures, there could be little disadvantage in losing red oat grass. However, where there are no viable and acceptable alternatives or where there is the need to preserve its particular type of ecosystem, as in some national park systems, it may be important to maintain it, which requires careful management of livestock or wildlife.

  • Bogdan, A.V., 1977. Tropical pasture and fodder plants. Longman, London. pp. 286-290.
  • Bor, N.L., 1960. The grasses of Burma, Ceylon, India and Pakistan. Pergamon Press, Oxford. p. 254.
  • Lazarides, M., 1980. The tropical grasses of southeast Asia. Phanerogamarum Monographieae Tomus XII, J. Cramer, Vaduz. pp. 76-78.
  • Mott, J.J., Ludlow, M.M., Richards, J.H. & Parsons, A.D., 1992. Effects of moisture supply in the dry season and subsequent defoliation on the persistence of the savanna grasses Themeda triandra, Heteropogon contortus and Panicum maximum. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 43: 241-260.
  • Skerman, P.J. & Riveros, F., 1990. Tropical grasses. FAO, Rome. pp. 721-724.
  • Tothill, J.C. & Hacker J.B., 1983. The grasses of southern Queensland. University of Queensland Press, Brisbane [as T. australis]. pp. 402-404.

Author: J.C. Tothill

Source of This Article:
Tothill, J.C., 1992. Themeda triandra Forssk.In: Mannetje, L.'t and Jones, R.M. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 4: Forages. Pudoc, Wageningen, The Netherlands, pp. 222-223

Recommended Citation:
Tothill, J.C., 1992. Themeda triandra Forssk.[Internet] Record from Proseabase. Mannetje, L.'t and Jones, R.M. (Editors).
PROSEA (Plant Resources of South-East Asia) Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia.
Accessed from Internet: 15-Nov-2019