A tropical grass resource for pasture improvement and landscape management: Themeda triandra Forssk


Correspondence to: S. Bocchi, Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Production, Landscape, Agroenergy. University of Milan, via Celoria 2, 20133, Milan,Italy.

E-mail: stefano.bocchi@unimi.it


Themeda triandra Forssk. is one of the most widespread grasses in the dry to mesic prairie ecosystems of Africa, Asia and Australia. It is of particular interest due to its high value as a forage species for wildlife and livestock, and its potential use in landscaping practices. In this review we have collated information from the many studies that have been devoted to this species since the 1960s to provide information about the species' distribution, taxonomy, morphology, ploidy and reproduction, and to describe its vegetation and germination and their relationship with the most important ecological aspects of its preferred habitats. Agronomic aspects are considered in detail, with particular focus on the role of T. triandra as a forage species and the relative importance of grazing, fire and rainfall regimes for its management. We also explore how this species can help with the rehabilitation of degraded areas, soil and water conservation, countering exotic species invasion and landscaping in general. We conclude with a brief discussion of the as yet unresolved taxonomic relationship between the African species T. triandra and the Australian species Themeda australis.