Anadelphia afzeliana (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
List of species

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Anadelphia afzeliana (Rendle) Stapf

Protologue: Fl. Trop. Afr. 9: 397 (1919).
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)
Chromosome number: 2n = 20


  • Andropogon afzelianus Rendle (1893),
  • Anadelphia arrecta (Stapf) Stapf (1919),
  • Pobeguinea afzeliana (Rendle) Jac.-Fél. (1950),
  • Hypogynium arrectum (Stapf) Roberty (1960).

Vernacular names

  • Thatch grass (En).

Origin and geographic distribution

Anadelphia afzeliana occurs from Senegal eastward and southward to DR Congo.


The stem is used for thatching. In parts of West Africa it is cultivated for this purpose. Young growth is grazed.

Production and international trade

Anadelphia afzeliana is only used locally.


Thatching material from Anadelphia afzeliana is of high quality. In the Northern Province of Sierra Leone it has even been described as the best thatching material available. The plant has a very low silica content. It is a forage of moderate quality.


Perennial, tufted grass; tufts small, up to 5 cm in diameter; stems up to 2(–2.5) m tall, terete, leafy, branched, rather stout below, glabrous, 5–6-noded. Leaves alternate; sheath clasping the culm, hairy but base glabrous; ligule a ciliolate, membranous rim c. 1 mm wide; blade linear, up to 40 cm × 0.5 cm, long-tapering to a fine point, scabrid, midrib white, slender below, wider above, lateral veins numerous, close. Inflorescence compound, paniculate, 25–45 cm long, lax; branches bearing racemes with spikelets; raceme enclosed by a linear, 2–3.5 cm long, membranous spatheole, single, 1.5–2 cm long, bearing 2 sessile and 3 pedicelled spikelets; rachis internodes filiform, 4–5 mm long. Pedicelled spikelets sterile or male, linear to lanceolate, 6–9 mm long, callus oblong and 2-toothed, glumes coriaceous, 7–9-veined, glabrous, lemmas 2, enclosed by glumes; sessile spikelets fertile, lanceolate, subterete, 5–8 mm long, comprising 1 basal sterile floret and 1 fertile floret, callus linear, 1.5–2.5 mm long, pilose, glumes dissimilar, exceeding apex of florets, shiny, lower glume oblong, coriaceous, dark brown, 6–7-veined, upper glume oblong, 1–3-veined, margins ciliate, apex obtuse, with 8–15 mm long awn; lemma linear, 4–6 mm long, hyaline, apex 2-fid, with 25–40 mm long awn, palea absent or minute, stamens 3, stigmas 2. Fruit a caryopsis (grain).

In Benin flowering occurs from May to February.

Anadelphia is a genus of the Andropogoneae and comprises 14 species. The genera Pobeguinea and Monium are sometimes included in Anadelphia which then comprises c. 20 species.

Anadelphia bigeniculata Clayton is an annual grass 30–60 cm tall, growing on ironstone outcrops in Guinea and Sierra Leone. It is used for thatching and as forage. Anadelphia leptocoma (Trin.) Pilger is a perennial grass with stems up to 1.5 m tall, occurring in low-lying savanna from Mali to Gabon. It is called thatchgrass in Sierra Leone and is used as a substitute for Anadelphia afzeliana, but is considered of poorer quality. It is thought to be suitable for the revegetation of tailings of titanium mines. Anadelphia trepidaria (Stapf) Stapf is an annual grass with 30–60 cm long stems, occurring in Guinea. It is probably used for thatching and as forage.


Anadelphia afzeliana occurs mainly in the Sudanian zone. It is locally dominant near waterholes and in low-lying regularly flooded and poorly drained wetland savanna. In Senegal it is dominant in savannas receiving 900–1100 mm annual rainfall in a wet season of 5–7 months; in southern Côte d’Ivoire it occurs in the coastal zone in drier savannas.

Genetic resources

Anadelphia afzeliana is widespread and common and not in danger of genetic erosion. There are no accessions of Anadelphia afzeliana in genebanks.


Anadelphia afzeliana is likely to remain an occasional source of thatch and fodder.

Major references

  • Burkill, H.M., 1994. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 2, Families E–I. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 636 pp.
  • Clayton, W.D., 1966. Studies in the Gramineae: X. Andropogoneae The genus Anadelphia Hack. Kew Bulletin 20(2): 275–285.
  • Clayton, W.D., Harman, K.T. & Williamson, H., 2002–. GrassBase - the online world grass flora. [Internet] Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. data/grasses-db/. March 2011.
  • Stapf, O., 1917–1934. Gramineae. In: Prain, D. (Editor). Flora of tropical Africa. Volume 9. L. Reeve & Co., Ashford, United Kingdom. 1100 pp.
  • van der Zon, A.P.M., 1992. Graminées du Cameroun. Volume 2, Flore. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 92–1. Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, Netherlands. 557 pp.

Other references

  • Adjanohoun, E.J., 1962. Etude phytosociologique des savanes de basse Cote d’Ivoire (Savanes lagunaires). Vegetatio Acta Geobotanica 11(1–2): 1–38.
  • Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (Editors), 2006. Flore analytique du Bénin. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands. 1034 pp.
  • Catarino, L., Martins, E.S. & Moreira, I., 2001. Influence of environmental features in the phytogeographic framework of Guinea-Bissau. Systematics and Geography of Plants 71(2): 1079–1086.
  • Diallo, A., de Wispelaere, G., Lebrun, J.-P. & Riviere, R., 1968. Paturages naturels du ‘Ferlo-Sud’ (République du Senegal). Institut d’Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux, Maisons-Alfort, France. Etudes Agrostologiques No. 23. 173 pp.
  • Jacques-Félix, H., 1950. Notes sur les Graminees d’Afrique tropicale X. Revue de Botanique Appliquée. 30: 167–187.
  • Kammacher, P., Anoma, G., Adjanohoun, E. & Aké Assi, L., 1973. Nombres chromosomiques de Graminées de Côte d’Ivoire. Candollea 28(2): 191–217.
  • Le Houérou, H.N., 1973. Contribution à une bibliographie des phénomènes de désertisation, de l’écologie végétale des pâturages et du nomadisme dans les régions arides de l’Afrique et de l’Asie du Sud-Ouest. FAO, Division de la Production végétale et de la protection des plantes, Rome, Italy. 120 pp.
  • Poilecot, P., 1999. Les Poaceae du Niger. Boissiera 56: 1–766.
  • Valenza, J. & Fayolle, F., 1965. Note sur les essais de charge de pâturage en République du Sénégal. Revue d’Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux 18(3): 321–327.
  • Whyte, R.O., 1974. Tropical grazing lands; communities and constituent species. Junk, The Hague, Netherlands. 222 pp.


  • A.J. Bagué Serrano, Cmdte. Mariano Hernández 100 altos / Julio A. Mella y Marti, Sancti Spiritus C.P. 60100, Cuba

Correct citation of this article

Bagué Serrano, A.J., 2011. Anadelphia afzeliana (Rendle) Stapf. [Internet] Record from PROTA4U. Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. <>.

Accessed 1 March 2020.