Andropogon pseudapricus (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
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List of species


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Andropogon pseudapricus Stapf


Protologue: Prain, Fl. Trop. Afr. 9: 242 (1919).
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)
Chromosome number: n = 20

Origin and geographic distribution

Andropogon pseudapricus is distributed from Senegal and Mauritania eastward to Chad, and occurs scattered in DR Congo, Tanzania and Malawi. It has probably been introduced in Mexico and Brazil.

Uses

The stems of Andropogon pseudapricus are widely used for thatching. In Nigeria they are chopped, mixed and puddled with clay to make building blocks. In Mali Andropogon pseudapricus is one of several grasses used for making mats and screens, and it is commonly sold in markets in Bamako for this purpose. The plant is grazed by stock, especially when still young. It is also valued as hay during the dry season and in Senegal the aftermath is considered especially useful. The seeds are eaten in Mali in times of famine.

Production and international trade

The stems are traded in local markets.

Properties

A crude protein content of 7.4% in the rainy season has been recorded.

Botany

Annual or perennial, tufted grass; stems up to 150 cm tall, ascending, branched above, thin, pinkish yellow, glabrous, often broken. Leaves alternate; sheaths auricled, glabrous or rarely loosely pilose; ligule truncate, up to 2 mm long, membranous, attached to the auricles, pinkish; blade linear, 8–40 cm × 1–5 mm, flat or rolled-in, glabrous or sparsely hairy, margins rough. Inflorescence a 30–60 cm long false panicle, copiously branched, bearing linear spathes and paired racemes; the pairs initially embraced below by spatheoles and later exserted from them; spatheoles linear to narrowly lanceolate, c. 5 cm long, reddish; peduncles at least as long as long the racemes, erect at maturity; racemes 2–4 cm long, flexible; internodes and pedicels cuneate to narrowly ellipsoid, ciliate with hairs c. 2 mm long. Spikelets in pairs, one sessile and fertile, one pedicelled and sterile; sessile spikelet 5–6 mm long, compressed between internode and pedicel, callus 1–2 mm long, obtuse, inserted in the concave top of the internode, white, bearded, lower glume linear, deeply depressed between the dorsal keels, glabrous, upper glume with an awn 5–16 mm long, lower floret reduced to a hyaline lemma, upper floret fertile, upper lemma bidentate, passing between the teeth into a geniculate awn 30–50 mm long, rarely less, stigmas 2; pedicelled spikelet sterile, narrowly elliptical, 4–5 mm long, membranous, glabrous to villous, 2-awned, the longer awn 5–11 mm long, the other much shorter. Fruit a caryopsis.

Andropogon comprises about 100 species. It occurs throughout the tropics, but is most prolific in Africa and the Americas.

Andropogon pinguipes Stapf is an annual, robust, purplish grass with erect stems 1–3 m tall, with a very narrow spatheate panicle up to 30 cm long. It is recorded only in West Africa from Senegal to Cameroon. The stems are used in Senegal as ties for thatch. In Mali they are used for thatching and for making mats, screens and doorway covers. They are traded in markets in Bamako (Mali). The plant is a good forage when young, and is browsed even when in flower.

Andropogon tenuiberbis Hack. is a perennial, robust, tufted grass with stems up to 5 m long and reddish or purplish inflorescences up to 60 cm long. It occurs in swamps and waterlogged locations from Senegal to Sudan, DR Congo and Tanzania. It is used for thatching and for making fences.

Ecology

Andropogon pseudapricus is an important component of savanna vegetation in areas with an average annual rainfall of 500–700 mm, on shallow, sandy or gravelly lateritic soils. It is common on dry fallow land, often as a pioneer species. It occurs at 300–2100 m altitude. In Senegal it is also common on irrigation bunds and river-banks. In Burkina Faso, grazing increased its proportion in the vegetation in some locations, but had little effect elsewhere. Early fire had little effect.

Management

Andropogon pseudapricus only occurs wild. In experiments it gave fodder yields of 15–18 t/ha when sown in rows.

Genetic resources

Andropogon pseudapricus is widespread and sometimes a dominant component of savanna vegetation, and there are no indications that it is under threat of genetic erosion.

Prospects

Andropogon pseudapricus is likely to remain of some importance as a material for thatching and for making mats and screens, and as a component of natural grazing land.

Major references

  • Bogdan, A.V., 1977. Tropical pasture and fodder plants (grasses and legumes). Longman, London, United Kingdom. 475 pp.
  • 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. & Renvoize, S.A., 1982. Gramineae (part 3). In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. pp. 451–898.
  • Cope, T.A., 2002. Gramineae, tribe Andropogoneae. In: Pope, G.V. & Martins, E.S. (Editors). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 10, part 4. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 190 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

  • Breman, H., Cissé, A.M., Djiteye, M.A. & Elberse, W.T., 1979. Pasture dynamics and forage availability in the Sahel. Israel Journal of Botany 28(3–4): 227–251.
  • Dujardin, M., 1979. Additional chromosome numbers and meiotic behaviour in tropical African grasses from western Zaire. Canadian Journal of Botany 57: 864–876.
  • Grivetti, L.E., Frentzel, C.J., Ginesberg, K.E., Howell, K.L. & Ogle, B.M., 1987. Bush foods and edible weeds of agriculture: Perspectives on dietary use of wild plants in Africa, their role in maintaining human nutritional status and implications for agricultural development. In: Akhtar, R. (Editor). Health and Disease in Tropical Africa. Harwood Academy, New Jersey, United States. pp. 51–81.
  • Poilecot, P., 1995. Les Poaceae de Côte d’Ivoire. Manuel illustré d’identification des espèces. Boissera 50: 1–734.
  • Robyns, W., 1929. Flore agrostologique du Congo Belge et du Ruanda–Urundi. Tome 1 : Maydées et Andropogonées. Goemaere, Brussels, Belgium. 229 pp.
  • Savadogo, P., Sawadogo, L. & Tiveau, D., 2007. Effects of grazing intensity and prescribed fire on soil physical and hydrological properties and pasture yield in the savanna woodlands of Burkina Faso. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 118: 80–92.
  • Sawadogo, L., Tiveau, D. & Nygard, R., 2005. Influence of selective tree cutting, livestock and prescribed fire on herbaceous biomass in the savannah woodlands of Burkina Faso, West Africa. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 105(1–2): 335–345.
  • Slingerland, M. & Kiéma, A., 2001. Vegetation resources in Sahelian villages. Advances in Geoecology 33: 179–192.

Author(s)

  • L.P.A. Oyen, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Oyen, L.P.A., 2011. Andropogon pseudapricus 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. <http://www.prota4u.org/search.asp>.

Accessed 5 March 2020.