Chaetaria adscensionis L. Hooker, Fl. India 7: , nom. Aristida adscensionis var. Arthratherum adscensionis L.
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The culms are thin, erect or geniculate, stiff, simple or branching at the lower nodes, yellow to bright green in colour, becoming straw coloured when matured Quattrocchi, ; Bogdan, The leaves are linear, narrow, up to 20 cm long Bogdan, The inflorescences are panicles, up to 30 cm long, more often dense and narrow but sometimes lax and flexuous Quattrocchi, ; Bogdan, The seed-heads are purplish with spikelets densely clustered on the branches. The spikelets are covered with three unequal, scabrous and The seeds are very sharp Quattrocchi, ; Bogdan, It is a very important forage in dry areas, especially during periods of feed scarcity Burkill, It is considered one of the best annual grasses in Arizona Skerman et al.
It is used to make poor quality broomsticks in India and for thatching, weaving, as well as making sieves and stuffing material for camel saddles in Africa. It is used in ethno-medicine as a lactation stimulant for women and to prevent itch and ringworm Quattrocchi, ; Burkill, It was introduced to the United States Skerman et al. It grows from sea level up to an altitude of m. It is tolerant of drought provided there is occasional rain. It can grow on many soils but prefers poor, rocky or sandy soils Skerman et al.
It is found in disturbed poor soils in grassland and open bush throughout tropical Africa and even on walls Quattrocchi, , Skerman et al. It is mainly propagated by wind, sheep and goats: the awns are prone to wind transport and attach to sheep fleece and goat hairs Ridley, cited by Varshney, Murthy et al.
Its value as fodder is controversial: it is considered as unpalatable, poor-mediocre or fair in some regions but tender and nutritious in Brazil where its hay is valued Bogdan, It was found to be well grazed at early stages of growth and avoided at the late-flowering and seeding stages because of sharp seeds and stiff awns Quattrocchi, ; Bogdan, However, after the plant has dropped its seeds, the straw may be valuable fodder Burkill, It was found useful for the stabilization of sand-dunes in India and Senegal Burkill, Potential constraints Sharp seed injuries Aristida adscensionis has very sharp seeds that may injure animals, especially sheep.
The seeds may cause eye irritation, or enter the sheep skin, causing considerable pain Skerman et al. In tropical Africa, it is available for grazing in both the rainy and the dry seasons, and can represent an important part of forage intake during the dry season due to lack of better quality fodder Burkill, At maturity, triple-awned spikelets and sharp seeds make the plant unpalatable Burkill, ; Skerman et al.
The culms are thin, erect or geniculate, stiff, simple or branching at the lower nodes, yellow to bright green in colour, becoming straw coloured when matured Quattrocchi, ; Bogdan, The leaves are linear, narrow, up to 20 cm long Bogdan, The inflorescences are panicles, up to 30 cm long, more often dense and narrow but sometimes lax and flexuous Quattrocchi, ; Bogdan, The seed-heads are purplish with spikelets densely clustered on the branches.