T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Stenotaphrum secundatum (Buffalo grass)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Tribe: Paniceae
Genus: Stenotaphrum
Species: S. secundatum
Binomial name: Stenotaphrum secundatum
Synonyms: Ischaemum secundatum
Common name: Buffalo grass, Buffalo Turf, St. Augustine grass, Charleston grass, Cape quickgrass, Carpet grass, Coarse couchgrass, Coarse quickgrass, Coastal buffalo grass, Couchgrass, Crabgrass, Mission grass, Pimento grass, Quickgrass, Wiregrass.

Stenotaphrum secundatum is a long-lived, dark green, creeping, stoloniferous perennial grass that originated in North America and Africa. It has escaped cultivation in many Pacific islands including New Zealand were it is anenvironmental weed of closed forests, forest margins, open woodlands, coastal environs, pastures, gardens, disturbed sites and waste areas. It is spread by seeds and stem segments being dumped garden waste. It may also be spread by water, animals and vehicles. environmental weed

Stenotaphrum secundatum has dull greyish to bluish green, broad, flat, alternate, leaves which are 40-100 mm long and 4-12 mm wide. They are often folded lengthwise and usually have rounded tips (obtuse apices).The leaves consist of a leaf sheath, which partially encloses the stem, and a spreading leaf blade.
It spreads by above ground stolons, commonly known as "runners", and forms a dense layer. It regularly produces roots at the joints of its creeping stems. It also sends up short upright flowering stems that can be up to 15 cm long. It has a distinctive flattened seed heads (3-15 cm long) that consist of flower spikelets (4-6 mm long) that are partially sunken into a broad flattened stalk.

It is popular warm-season lawn grass in tropical and subtropical regions forming a thick, carpet like sod, crowding out most weeds and other grasses. Several cultivars have been developed for this purpose, two of the most popular are 'Sir Walter' and 'Palmetto'.

A section of a lawn with invasive buffalo grass.
  

Leaves showing folded leaf sheaths.