Plantae > Tracheophyta > Liliopsida > Poales > Poaceae > Cenchrus > Cenchrus ciliaris

Cenchrus ciliaris (Buffel Grass)

Synonyms: Cenchrus anjania; Cenchrus bulbosus; Cenchrus ciliaris f. intermedius; Cenchrus ciliaris subsp. ibrahimii; Cenchrus ciliaris var. anachoreticus; Cenchrus ciliaris var. leptostachys; Cenchrus ciliaris var. nubicus; Cenchrus ciliaris var. pallens; Cenchrus ciliaris var. robustior; Cenchrus ciliaris var. villifer; Cenchrus glaucus; Cenchrus longifolius; Cenchrus melanostachyus; Cenchrus mutabilis; Cenchrus pennisetiformis var. intermedius; Cenchrus rufescens; Pennisetum cenchroides; Pennisetum ciliare; Pennisetum ciliare var. anachoreticum; Pennisetum ciliare var. leptostachys; Pennisetum ciliare var. pallens; Pennisetum ciliare var. robustius; Pennisetum distylum; Pennisetum incomptum; Pennisetum longifolium; Pennisetum oxyphyllum; Pennisetum pachycladum; Pennisetum panormitanum; Pennisetum petraeum; Pennisetum polycladum; Pennisetum rangei; Pennisetum rufescens; Pennisetum teneriffae

Wikipedia Abstract

Cenchrus ciliaris (buffel-grass or African foxtail grass; syn. Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link) is a species of grass native to most of Africa, southern Asia (east to India), southern Iran, and the extreme south of Europe (Sicily). It is a perennial grass growing to 50 cm tall. The leaves are linear, 3–25 cm long and 4–10 mm wide. The flowers are produced in a panicle 2–14 cm long and 1–2.6 cm wide.
View Wikipedia Record: Cenchrus ciliaris

Invasive Species

Cenchrus ciliaris (Pennisetum ciliare), commonly known as buffel grass, is a perennial bunchgrass that forms thick mats. It is also known by its basionym Cenchrus ciliaris. Buffel grass has been widely introduced in the dry tropics and subtropics as a pasture grass, for erosion control and revegetation of arid areas. The characteristics of buffel grass which make it suitable for erosion control are rapid germination, high propogation and establishment rates on poor and infertile soils. Buffel grass's dominance and resistance to fire, drought and heavy grazing on arid soils make it a suitable arid zone pasture grass. In Australia, the south-western United States and Mexico (where it has been introduced as a pasture grass and for erosion control) Buffel grass often forms extensive dense monocultures excluding native species and promoting intense and frequent fires. It is widely distributed and is resilient to a number of harsh environmental conditions. It changes plant communities by encouraging and carrying wildfires through communities that are not adapted to fire. It burns readily and recovers quickly after fire. Buffel grass has a robust root system; its swollen stem base accumulates carbohydrate reserves, so the loss of leaf surface area after a fire or drought is not fatal to the plant and allows regrowth in favourable conditions.
View ISSG Record: Cenchrus ciliaris


Height [1]  35 inches (0.9 m)
Screening - Summer [1]  Moderate
Screening - Winter [1]  Porous
Hardiness Zone Minimum [1]  USDA Zone: 7 Low Temperature: 0 F° (-17.8 C°) → 10 F° (-12.2 C°)
Light Preference [1]  Full Sun
Soil Acidity [1]  Neutral
Soil Fertility [1]  Infertile
Water Use [1]  Low
Flower Color [1]  Yellow
Foliage Color [1]  Green
Fruit Color [1]  Brown
Bloom Period [1]  Mid Summer
Drought Tolerance [1]  High
Fire Tolerance [1]  Medium
Frost Free Days [1]  8 months
Fruit/Seed Abundance [1]  High
Fruit/Seed Begin [1]  Summer
Fruit/Seed End [1]  Fall
Growth Form [1]  Bunch
Growth Period [1]  Summer, Fall
Growth Rate [1]  Rapid
Leaf Type [1]  Deciduous
Lifespan [1]  Perennial
Propagation [1]  Seed
Regrowth Rate [1]  Rapid
Root Depth [1]  20 inches (51 cm)
Seed Spread Rate [1]  Moderate
Seed Vigor [1]  High
Seeds Per [1]  259999 / lb (573201 / kg)
Shape/Orientation [1]  Erect
Structure [2]  Grass
Vegetative Spread Rate [1]  Slow

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Ashmore Reef Commonwealth Marine Reserve 144062 Australia      



Aepyceros melampus (impala)[3]
Antonina graminis (felted grass coccid)[4]
Chionaspis broughae[4]
Connochaetes taurinus (blue wildebeest)[3]
Equus grevyi (Grevy's zebra)[5]
Equus quagga (quagga)[3]
Odonaspis panici[4]
Papio hamadryas (hamadryas baboon)[3]
Pinnaspis strachani (lesser snow scale)[4]
Plocepasser mahali (White-browed Sparrow-Weaver)[6]
Rhinoceros unicornis (Indian rhinoceros)[7]
Syncerus caffer (African buffalo)[8]


Parasitized by 
Hemicycliophora biloculata <Unverified Name>[9]

Institutions (Zoos, etc.)

Institution Infraspecies / Breed 
Kew Millennium Seed Bank Partnership
Svalbard Global Seed Vault


Sicilia, Africa, Arabian Pen., Pakistan to India;



Attributes / relations provided by
1USDA Plants Database, U. S. Department of Agriculture
2Kattge, J. et al. (2011b) TRY - a global database of plant traits Global Change Biology 17:2905-2935
3Who's Eating Who
4Ben-Dov, Y., Miller, D.R. & Gibson, G.A.P. ScaleNet 4 November 2009
5Equus grevyi, C. S. Churcher, MAMMALIAN SPECIES No. 453, pp. 1-9 (1993)
6del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
7Abundance of food plant species and food habits of Rhinoceros unicornis Linn. in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam, India, Pradip Konwar, Malabika Kakati Saikia & P.K. Saikia, Journal of Threatened Taxa | September 2009 | 1(9): 457-460
8Forage selection by African buffalo in the late dry season in two landscapes, Valerio A. Macandza, Norman Owen-Smith & Paul C. Cross, South African Journal of Wildlife Research 34(2): 113–121 (October 2004)
9Species Interactions of Australia Database, Atlas of Living Australia, Version ala-csv-2012-11-19
Protected Areas provided by Ramsar Sites Information Service
Images provided by Google Image Search
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access