Elephant grass Facts

Elephant grass Facts
Elephant grass, also known as Napier grass or Ugandan grass, is type of tropical plant that belongs to the grass family. It originates from Africa, but it can be found around the world today. Elephant grass grows in the pastures, open woodlands, wastelands, along the lakes and rivers and near the roads. It thrives in areas with tropical climate, on the moist, fertile soil. Elephant grass is classified as invasive in some countries due to ability to quickly occupy new habitats and prevent growth of native plants. Elephant grass is mostly cultivated as animal fodder. Other than that, elephant grass can be cultivated in ornamental purposes and to increase yield of commercially important crops.
Interesting Elephant grass Facts:
Elephant grass has coarse, hairy, yellow or purple-colored, multi-branched stem that can reach 10 feet in height. It often grows in dense, bamboo-like clumps.
Elephant grass has narrow leaves that can reach 2 to 3 feet in length and 1 inch in width. Leaves have prominent white central vein, pointed tips and razor-sharp edges. They are pale green colored and alternately arranged on the stem.
Elephant grass and sugar cane have similar morphology. They differ in size (sugar cane can reach 19.8 feet in height) and shape of leaves (elephant grass has narrower leaves).
Flowers of elephant grass are arranged in the form of elongated seed-heads. Each seed-head consists of numerous spikelets that are surrounded with fine bristles. Seed-heads can be greenish, yellow or purple colored. Flowers of elephant head contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers).
Elephant grass blooms during the spring and summer. Flowers are designed for pollination by wind.
Fruit of elephant grass is dry, seed-like grain (caryopsis). Seed is small, brown-colored and oval shaped.
Animals, wind and water facilitate dispersal of seed of elephant grass in the wild.
Elephant grass propagates via seed, sprigs and stem cuttings.
Elephant grass is used as animal fodder (primary source of food for dairy cattle in East Africa). Elephant grass can be easily cultivated in many areas because it does not require too much water and nutrients for the successful growth. Elephant grass can be harvested 4 to 6 times per year.
Elephant grass is often cultivated near commercially important crops, such as maize and sorghum, to attract pests (such as stemborer moths) and prevent damage on the main agricultural crops.
Dense stands of elephant grass provide shelter for many birds.
Elephant grass is often cultivated as windbreak and firebreak. It is also used to improve fertility of the soil and in the control of erosion.
Elephant grass is used for the manufacture of paper, oil, biogas and charcoal.
Uncontrolled growth of elephant grass can clog waterways and induce floods.
Elephant grass is perennial plant that can survive up to 20 years in the wild.

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