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Family: Poaceae (grasses)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Poales

There are 668 genera and 10035 species (worldwide), with 181 genera and 941 species native to southern Africa. An additional 32 genera and 119 species are naturalised in the region. Another 18 genera and 51 species have been recorded as being cultivated in southern Africa. The family includes numerous economically important species including wheat, maize and rice.

Genera native to southern Africa

List from Fish (2000, 2003).

Acrachne

There are three species worldwide (Africa, SE Asia and Australia) of which one (Acrachne racemosa) is native to southern Africa. 

 

Acroceras

There are 19 species worldwide (Africa, Madagascar and Indomalayan region) of which one (Acroceras macrum) is native to southern Africa. 

 

Agrostis

There are about 220 species worldwide (in temperate regions and at high altitudes in the tropics) of which 12 are native to southern Africa and two naturalised.

 

Alloteropsis

There are about eight species worldwide (in the Old World tropics) of which three are native to southern Africa. 

Andropogon

There are 100 species worldwide (pantropical) of which 20 are native to southern Africa. 

Andropterum

One species native to southern Africa - Andropterum stolzii (recorded from Zimbabwe).

 

Anthephora

There are 12 species worldwide (Africa, Arabia, tropical America) of which four are native to southern Africa. 

 

Anthoxanthum

There are about 20 species worldwide (north temperate regions, higher altitudes of tropical Africa and Asia) of which about four are native to southern Africa and one is naturalised. 

 

Aristida

There are about 290 species worldwide (tropics and subtropics) of which 36 are native to southern Africa. 

 

Arthratherum

There are about seven species worldwide (Old World Tropics) of which one (Anthraxon lanceolatus) is native to southern Africa. 

 

Arthraxon

There are about seven species worldwide (Old World Tropics) of which one (Anthraxon lanceolatus) is native to southern Africa. 

 

Arundinella

There are about 50 species worldwide (tropics and subtropics, mainly Asia) of which one (Arundinella nepalensis) is native to southern Africa.

Bewsia

One species, Bewsia biflora, which is native to Africa, including southern Africa. 

 

Bothriochloa

There are about 35 species worldwide (tropical regions) of which three are native to southern Africa. 

Brachiaria

There are about 100 species worldwide (tropics, mainly Old World) of which 25 are native to southern Africa and one is naturalised. 

Brachyachne

There are about 10 species worldwide (Africa, Java to Australia) of which two, Brachyacne fulva and Brachyachne patentiflora, are native to southern Africa.  

 

Brachychloa

Two species, both native to southern Africa.

 

Brachypodium

There are 16 species worldwide (native to temperate Eurasia, tropical mountains, Mexico to Bolivia) of which three are native to southern Africa and one naturalised.

 

Briza (quake grass, quaking grass, shaking grass)

There are about 20 species worldwide (temperate Eurasia, South America) of one is native to southern Africa and three naturalised.

Bromus

There are about 150 species worldwide (north temperate regions, tropical mountains, South America) of which five are native to southern Africa and 10 naturalised. 

Calamagrostis

There are about 270 species worldwide (temperate regions of both hemispheres) of which one Calamagrostis epigeios is native to southern Africa. 

 

Capillipedium

One species native to southern Africa, recorded from Zimbabwe - Capillipedium parviflorum.

Catalepis

One species: Catalepis gracilis, which is native to southern Africa. 

 

Cenchrus

There are about 22 species worldwide (native to tropical and warm temperate regions, with two native to southern Africa, and three naturalised. 

 

Centropodia

There are four species worldwide (native to Africa and Middle East through to India) of which two are native to southern Africa. 

 

Chaetobromus

One species, endemic to southern Africa: Chaetobromus involucratus

 

Chloris

There are about 55 species worldwide (tropical and warm temperate regions) of which seven are native to southern Africa and one is naturalised. 

 

Chrysopogon

There are about 26 species worldwide (warm regions) of which two, Chrysopogon serrulatus and Chrysopogon nigritanus, are native to southern Africa. In addition, Chrysopogon zizanioides is cultivated in the region.

Cladoraphis

There are two species, both endemic to southern Africa. 

 

Cleistachne

One species: Cleistachne sorghoides, distributed through tropical Africa (including Mpumalanga in southern Africa) and India.  

 

Coelachyrum

There are eight species worldwide (Africa, Arabian Peninsula and Pakistan) of which one Coelachyrum yemenicum is native to southern Africa. 

 

Coelachne

There are about 21 species worldwide (tropical regons mainly) of which two, Coelorachis capensis and Coelorachis afraurita (recorded from Zimbabwe), are native to southern Africa. 

 

Coelorachis

There are about 21 species worldwide (tropical regons mainly) of which two, Coelorachis capensis and Coelorachis afraurita, are native to southern Africa. 

 

Colpodium

There are about 20 species worldwide (native to Africa and Middle East) of which one Colpodium drakensbergensis is native to southern Africa. 

 

Craspedorhachis

There are about five species worldwide (African and American tropics) of which three are native to southern Africa. 

 

Ctenium

There are about 20 species worldwide (tropical and subtropical America, Africa and Madagascar) of which two, Ctenium concinnum and Ctenium somalense (recorded from Zimbabwe), are native to southern Africa. 

 

Cymbopogon

There are about 40 species worldwide (tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia and Australia) of which seven are native to southern Africa and one naturalised. Cymbopogon citratus (Lemon grass) is cultivated in the region.

 

Cynodon

There are about 10 species worldwide (warm climates) of which eight are native to southern Africa and two are naturalised. Widely used for lawns and sports grounds.

 

Dactyloctenium

There are 13 species worldwide (warm regions) of which four are native to southern Africa. 

Danthoniopsis

There are about 20 species worldwide (Africa and Arabian Peninsula) of which nine are native to southern Africa. 

 

Diandrochloa

There are about seven species worldwide (Americas, Australia, Asia and Africa) of which two are native to southern Africa. 

 

Dichanthium

There are about 20 species worldwide (Old World tropics) of which one species, Dichanthium annulatum (Blue grama), is native to southern Africa, and Dichanthium aristatum is naturalised. In addition, Dichanthium caricosum and Dichanthium sericeum are cultivated in the region.

 

Digitaria

There are about 230 species worldwide (cosmopolitan, mainly tropical and warm temperate regions) of which about 40 are native to southern Africa and four are naturalised.

 

Diheteropogon

There are five species worldwide (indigenous distribution limited to tropical Africa) of which two species are native to southern Africa. 

Dinebra

There are three species worldwide (Africa to India and Madagascar) of which one Dinebra retroflexa is native to southern Africa. 

 

Dregeochloa

The two species are endemic to southern Africa. 

 

Echinochloa

There are 30-40 species worldwide (tropical and warm temperate regions) of which 12 are native to southern Africa. 

 

Ehrharta

There are about 35 species worldwide (Africa and Indonesia to New Zealand) of which 24 species are native to southern Africa. 

Eleusine (Finger millet genus)

There are nine species worldwide (Africa) of which two are native to southern Africa and two are naturalised. 

Elionurus

There are 15 species worldwide (cosmopolitan) of which two species are native to southern Africa. 

Elymandra

There are about six species worldwide (native to tropical Africa) of which two species, Elymandra grallata and Elymandra lithophila (recorded from Zimbabwe), are native to southern Africa. 

 

Elytrophorus

There are about four species worldwide (tropical Africa, Asia and Australia) of which two are native to southern Africa. 

 

Enneapogon

There are about 30 species worldwide (warm, dry regions) of which six are native to southern Africa. 

 

Enteropogon

There are about 17 species worldwide (tropical regions) of which three are native to southern Africa. 

 

Entolasia

There are five species worldwide (tropical Africa and E Australia) of which two (Entolasia imbricata and Entolasia olivacea) are native to southern Africa. 

 

Entoplocamia

One species: Entoplocamia aristulata, which within southern Africa is found in Namibia.  

 

Eragrostis

There are about 350 species worldwide (cosmopolitan) of which 106 species are native to southern Africa and four species are naturalised. 

 

Eriochloa

There 30 species worldwide (tropical regions) of which six are native to southern Africa.

 

Eriochrysis

There are about seven species worldwide (Africa, India and tropical America) of which three are native to southern Africa. 

 

Euclasta

Two species globally (India, South America and tropical Africa), of which one is native to southern Africa - Euclasta condylotricha (recorded from Zimbabwe).

 

Eulalia

There are about 30 species worldwide (tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australia) of which two are native to southern Africa. 

Eustachys

There are 10 species worldwide (tropics, mainly America) of which one Eustachys paspaloides is native to southern Africa. 

 

Festuca

There are about 450 species worldwide (temperate regions and high altitude areas in the tropics) of which nine are native to southern Africa and one naturalised. An additional two species are cultivated in the region.  

Fingerhuthia

There are two species worldwide (southern Africa, Arabian Peninsula, Afghanistan), both of which are native to southern Africa. 

 

Glyceria

One species native to southern Africa - Glyceria maxima.

 

Habrochloa

One species, Habrochloa bullockii, native to tropical Africa (including Zimbabwe).

 

Hackelochloa

There are two species worldwide (Africa, India, southern China and southern USA) of which one Hackelochloa granularis is native to southern Africa. 

 

Harpochloa

There are two species worldwide (Africa) of which one Harpochloa falx is native to southern Africa. 

Helictotrichon

There are about 100 species worldwide (temperate regions and tropics at high altitudes) of which 13 are native to southern Africa.

 

Hemarthria

There are 12 species worldwide (tropical and subtropical regions of the Old World) of which one Hemarthria altissima is native to southern Africa. 

Heteropogon

There are about six species worldwide (tropics and subtropics) of which two (Heteropogon contortus and Heteropogon melanocarpus) are native to southern Africa. 

Holcus

There are six species worldwide (Europe, Africa and Middle East) of which one (Holcus setiger) is endemic to southern Africa and another (Holcus lanatus) is naturalised in the region. In addition, Holcus mollis is cultivated in the region.

 

Hordeum (Barley genus)

There are about 40 species worldwide (temperate regions) of which two are native to southern Africa and four are naturalised species. Hordeum vulgare (Barley) is cultivated in the region, mainly for beer production.

Hylebates

The two species are both native to tropical Africa, with one Hylebates cordatus occurring in southern Africa (Zimbabwe).

 

Hyparrhenia

There are about 55 species worldwide (mainly Africa, also other tropical regions and the Mediterranean) of which 24 are native to southern Africa.

 

Hyperthelia

There are six species worldwide (Africa) of which one Hyperthelia dissoluta is native to southern Africa (see Flora of Zimbabwe).

Imperata

There are eight species worldwide (tropics and subtropics) of which one Imperata cylindrica is native to southern Africa.

Isachne

There are 50 species globally, with one Isachne mauritania occurring in southern Africa (Zimbabwe). See Flora of Zimbabwe.

Ischaemum

There are about 60 species worldwide (tropics, mainly Asia) of which three are native to southern Africa. 

 

Kaokochloa

One species: Kaokochloa nigrirostris endemic to southern Africa (NW Namibia). 

 

Koeleria

There are 35-60 species worldwide (temperate regions) of which one Koeleria capensis is native to southern Africa. 

 

Leersia

There are 18 species worldwide (tropics and warm temperate regions) of which four are native to southern Africa. 

Leptaspis

There are five species worldwide of which one Leptaspis zelyanica is native to southern Africa (Zimbabwe and Mozambique).

Leptocarydion

One species: Leptocarydion vulpiastrum, which occurs in eastern and southern Africa. 

 

Leptochloa

There are about 30 species worldwide (tropics and subtropics) of which six are native to southern Africa. 

 

Lepturus

There are about 15 species worldwide (E Africa, Sri Lanka, Polynesia to Australia) of which two, Lepturus repens and Lepturus radicans (recorded from Zimbabwe), are native to southern Africa. 

 

Leucophrys

One species: Leucophrys mesocoma, endemic to southern Africa (S Namibia to Northern Cape). 

 

Lintonia

There are two species worldwide (Africa) of which one Lintonia nutans is native to southern Africa. 

 

Lophacme

There are two species worldwide (Africa) of which one species, Lophacme digitata, is native to southern Africa. 

 

Loudetia

There are about 26 species worldwide (tropical Africa, Madagascar and South America) of which seven are native to southern Africa. 

Loxodera

There are five species globally (tropical Africa) of which one Loxodera caespitosa is native to southern Africa.

 

Megaloprotachne

One species: Megaloprotachne albescens, endemic to southern Africa (Namibia, Botswana and Northern Cape). 

 

Megastachya

One species: Megastachya mucronata, which occurs in tropical areas of Africa and into southern Africa (KwaZulu-Natal and Zimbabwe).  

 

Melica

There are 80 species worldwide (temperate regions, excluding Australia) of which three are native to southern Africa. 

 

Melinis

There are 20 species worldwide (mainly Africa) of which 12 are native to southern Africa. 

Merxmuellera

The 14 species are endemic to southern Africa.  

 

Microchloa

There are about five species worldwide (tropics), four of which are native to southern Africa. 

 

Microstegium

There are about 15 species worldwide (tropical Asia and Africa) of which one Microstegium nudum is native to southern Africa. 

 

Miscanthus

There are about seven species worldwide (tropical and southern Africa) of which two are native to southern Africa and one is cultivated.

 

Monelytrum

One species: Monelytrum luederitzianum, which occurs from Namibia through to S Angola.  

 

Monocymbium

There are about four species worldwide (tropical and southern Africa) of which one Monocymbium ceresiiforme is native to southern Africa.

Mosdenia

One species: Mosdenia leptostachys, native to southern Africa (northern provinces). 

 

Nematopoa

One species: Nematopoa longipes, native to Zambia and Zimbabwe.

 

Odontelytrum

One species: Odontelytrum abyssinicum, which occurs from Ethiopia to southern Africa (Mpumalanga). 

 

Odyssea

There are two species worldwide (Africa) of which one Odyssea paucinervis is native to southern Africa. 

 

Nematopoa

One species: Nematopoa longipes, native to Zambia and Zimbabwe.

 

Olyra

There are 23 species worldwide (mainly tropics and subtropics of America and Africa) of which one, Olyra latifolia, is native to southern Africa. See Flora of Zimbabwe. Listed as naturalised in POSA.

 

Oplismenus

There are five species worldwide (tropics and subtropics) of which four are native to southern Africa. 

Oreobambos

One species, Oreobambos buchwaldii (Buchwa bamboo), recorded within southern Africa only from Mount Buchwa in Zimbabwe (Palgrave and Palgrave 2002).

 

Oropetium

There are about six species worldwide (arid regions of India and Africa) of which one Oropetium capense is native to southern Africa. 

 

Oryza (rice genus)

There are about 25 species worldwide (tropics and subtropics) of which three are native to southern Africa. Oryza sativa (rice) has been cultivated in southern Africa, but most of the rice eaten in the region is imported.

Oryzidium

One species: Oryzidium barnardii (southern tropical Africa, including southern Africa) 

 

Oxyrhachis

One species: Oxyrhachis gracillima, endemic to southern Africa (southern KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape). 

 

Oxytenanthera

One species: Oxytenanthera abyssinica (Holy Venda bamboo, Bindura bamboo) (Africa, including southern Africa). 

Panicum (Common millet genus)

There are about 470 species worldwide (tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions) of which 62 are native to southern Africa. Panicum miliaceum (Common millet) is a domesticated species originating from Central Asia that is grown to a limited extent in southern Africa and which has become naturalised as well. 

Paratheria

There are two species worldwide (Africa, Madagascar, Cuba and Brazil) of which one Pantheria prostata is native to southern Africa. 

 

Paspalidium

There are about 40 species worldwide (warm regions) of which two are native to southern Africa. 

 

Paspalum

There are about 330 species worldwide (tropics, predominately New World) of which five species are native to southern Africa and four naturalised. In addition, Paspalum nutans (native to tropical America) is cultivated in the region.

Pennisetum

There are about 80 species worldwide (warm regions) of which 11 are native to southern Africa and four are naturalised. An additional species is cultivated in the region.  Pennisetum glaucum (Pearl millet) is cultivated widely in Africa and India and is also naturalised in southern Africa. Pennisetum clandestinum (Kikuyu grass) is cultivated as a pasture grass and has also become naturalised.

Pentameris

The nine species are endemic to southern Africa (mountains of Western Cape and Eastern Cape) 

 

Pentaschistis

There are about 65 species worldwide (Africa and Madagascar) of which 61 are native to southern Africa (mainly mountainous regions). 

Perotis

There are about 10 species worldwide (Africa to Asia and Australia) of which three are native to southern Africa. 

Petrina

One species native to southern Africa - Petrina parva.

 

Phacelurus

There are about nine species worldwide (Africa to Indo-China and Japan) of which one Phacelurus franksiae is native to southern Africa. 

 

Phyllorachis

One species: Phyllorachis sagittata (eastern and southern tropical Africa).

 

Phragmites

There are three species worldwide (cosmopolitan) of which two are native to southern Africa (aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats). 

Poa

There are about 500 species worldwide (cosmopolitan) of which three are native to southern Africa and three naturalised. An additional species is cultivated in the region.  

Poecilostachys

One species - Poecilostachys oplismenoides.

Pogonarthria

There are four species worldwide (Africa) of which three are native to southern Africa. 

Pogonochloa

One species: Pogonochloa greenwayi, native to Zambia and Zimbabwe.

 

Polevansia

One species: Polevansia rigida, endemic to southern Africa (Lesotho, Eastern Cape). 

 

Polypogon

There are about 18 species worldwide (tropics and warm temperate regions) of which one are native to southern Africa and two are naturalised.

Prionanthium

The three species are endemic to the Western Cape, South Africa.  

 

Prosphytochloa

One species: Prosphytochloa prehensilis, native to southern Africa. 

 

Pseudechinolaena

There are six species worldwide, five are endemic to Madagascar and the other has a pantropical distribution that includes southern Africa. 

 

Pseudopentameris

The four species are endemic to the Western Cape, South Africa. 

 

Puccinellia

There are about 80 species worldwide (mainly north temperate regions) of which two are native to southern Africa and two are naturalised. 

 

Rendlia

One species: Rendlia altera, found in the high eastern regions of southern Africa. 

 

Rhytachne

There are 12 species worldwide (Africa, Madagascar and South America) of which three are native to southern Africa. 

 

Rottboellia

There are four species worldwide (tropical and subtropical Africa and Asia) of which one Rottboellia cochinchinensis is native to southern Africa.

Rytidosperma

Ninety species in distributed across Australia, New Zealand and Africa, of which two are native to southern Africa: Rytidosperma davyi and Rytidosperma disticha (recorded from Zimbabwe).

 

Sacciolepis

There are 30 species worldwide (tropics, mainly Africa) of which nine are native to southern Africa. 

Sartidia

There are four species worldwide (Africa and Madagascar) of which two are native to southern Africa. 

 

Schismus

There are six species worldwide (Africa, Mediterranean region to NW India) of which five are native to southern Africa. 

 

Schizachyrium

There are about 60 species worldwide (tropics) of which seven are native to southern Africa. 

 

Schmidtia

There are three species, all native to southern Africa, but the genus occurs elsewhere in Africa and in Pakistan. 

Schoenefeldia

There are two species worldwide (Africa, Madagascar and India) of which one Schoenefeldia transiens is native to southern Africa. 

 

Secale (Rye genus)

There are about five species worldwide (Mediterranean, E Europe, central Asia) of which one is native to southern Africa. Secale cereale (Rye) is a domesticated species originating from E Turkey and Armenia that is cultivated to produce grain low in gluten and used in rye bread, crispbreads, and some alcoholic spirits (e.g. some whiskeys made in the USA, gin and some types of vodka). 

 

Sehima

There are seven species worldwide (Africa, India and Australia) of which two (Sehima galpinii and Sehima ischaemoides) are native to southern Africa. 

 

Setaria

There are about 110 species worldwide (tropics and subtropics) of which 22 are native to southern Africa and two are naturalised. There is an additional species that is cultivated in the region. Includes Setaria italica (Foxtail millet), which was domesticated in East Asia over 7000 years ago and is now cultivated to a minor extent, mainly for producing bird seed.

Sorghastrum

There are about 20 species worldwide (mainly tropics and subtropics of America and Africa) of which two (Sorghastrum nudipes and Sorghastrum stipoides) are native to southern Africa. In addition, Sorghastrum nutans (Indian grass), which is native to the North American prairies, is cultivated in the region.

 

Sorghum (Sorghum genus)

There are about 24 species worldwide (tropics and subtropics of the Old World) of which two are native to southern Africa and one is naturalised. Sorghum bicolor (Sorghum) is one of the indigenous species and has domesticated varieties grown as crops.

 

Spartina

There are about 16 species worldwide (temperate America, coastal Europe and Africa) of which one Spartina maritima is native to southern Africa (found along edges of estuaries along the coast of Namibia, the Western Cape and Eastern Cape). 

 

Sporobolus

There are about 160 species worldwide (tropical and warm temperate regions) of which 47 are native to southern Africa. 

Stenotaphrum

There are seven species worldwide (tropics and subtropics) of which two (Stenotaphrum secundatum and Stenotaphrum dimidiatum) are native to southern Africa. 

 

Stereochlaena

There are five species worldwide (tropical East Africa to South Africa) of which one Stereochlaena cameronii is native to southern Africa. 

Stiburus

The two species are endemic to southern Africa. 

 

Stipa

There are about 300 species worldwide (tropical through to temperate regions) of which two are native to southern Africa.

 

Stipagrostis

There are about 50 species worldwide (Africa, NW India and SW Asia) of which 29 are native to southern Africa. The San people are known to collected and eat wild seeds of Stipagrostis uniplumis and Stipagrostis brevifolia.

Streblochaete

One species: Streblochaete longiarista (tropical Africa, Réunion, Indonesia, Philippines). Within southern Africa it occurs in the Eastern Cape. 

 

Styppeiochloa

There are two species worldwide (mountains of south and southeast tropical Africa) of which one Styppeiochloa gynoglossa is native to southern Africa. 

 

Tarigidia

One species: Tarigidia aequiglumis, endemic to southern Africa. 

 

Tetrachne

One species: Tetrachne dregei, endemic to southern Africa. 

 

Tetrapogon

There are five species worldwide (Middle East, India and Africa) of which one Tetrapogon tenellus is native to southern Africa. 

 

Thamnocalamus

There are about six species worldwide (E Asia, Africa) of which one Thamnocalamus tessellatus (Drakensberg bamboo) is native to southern Africa. 

 

Thelepogon

One species: Thelepogon elegans (tropical Africa through to Indonesia). Within southern Africa it occurs in the Caprivi (Namibia). 

 

Themeda

There are 18 species worldwide (Old World tropics and subtropics, mainly Asia) of which one Themeda triandra is native to southern Africa.

Trachypogon

There are 13 species worldwide (Africa, Madagascar and tropical America) of which one Trachypogon spicatus is native to southern Africa. 

 

Tragus

There are seven species worldwide (tropics, mainly Africa) of which four are native to southern Africa. 

Tribolium

The 13 species are endemic to southern Africa. 

Tricholaena

There are four species worldwide (mainly Africa, also Canaries, Mediterranean and Madagascar) of which two are native to southern Africa. 

 

Trichoneura

There are seven species worldwide (Africa, Arabian Peninsula, USA) of which two are native to southern Africa. 

 

Trichopteryx

There are five species worldwide (Africa and Madagascar) of which three are native to southern Africa.

 

Tripogon

There are about 30 species worldwide (tropical Africa, India, Australia) of which one Tripogon minimus is native to southern Africa. 

 

Triraphis

There are seven species worldwide (Africa, Arabian Peninsula, one in Australia) of which five are native to southern Africa. 

 

Tristachya

There are about 22 species worldwide (tropical Africa and America, Madagascar) of which seven are native to southern Africa. 

Urelytrum

There are seven species worldwide (tropical Africa) of which one Urelytrum agropyroides is native to southern Africa. 

 

Urochloa

There are about 12 species worldwide (Old World tropics) of which six are native to southern Africa. Bushveld signal grass Urochloa mosambicensis is used as a cereal in rural areas of southern Africa.

Vossia

One species: Vossia cuspidata (tropical Africa and India). Within southern Africa it occurs in Namibia (Caprivi) and N Botswana. 

 

Vulpia

There are about 23 species worldwide (temperate regions, mainly Mediterranean) of which one is native to southern Africa, and four naturalised. 

 

Willkommia

There are four species worldwide (tropical Africa, USA) of which three are native to southern Africa (N Namibia, Botswana). 

 

Zonotriche

There are three species distributed across tropical Africa, of which one Zonotriche inamoena is native to southern Africa (Zimbabwe).

 

Genera naturalised in southern Africa

List from Fish (2000, 2003).

Achnatherum

One species naturalised in southern Africa - Achnatherum clandestinum.

 

Aira

There are eight species worldwide (native to Europe and the Mediterranean through to Iran) of which two are introduced weeds in southern Africa. 

 

Ammophila

There are two species worldwide (native to north temperate regions) of which one, Ammophila arenaria (Marram grass) has become naturalised in southern Africa. 

 

Arrhenatherum

There are about six species worldwide (native to Europe, Mediterranean and Middle East) of which one (Arrhenatherum elatius - False Oat, French rye-grass) has been cultivated in southern Africa and become naturalised in KwaZulu-Natal.

 

Arundo

There are three species worldwide (native from Mediterranean to China) of which one (Arundo donax - Giant reed) is cultivated and naturalised in southern Africa. This is the species used for making wind instruments and is also grown in gardens, See Flora of Zimbabwe.

Avena (oats genus)

There are about 25 species worldwide (native to the Mediterranean and Middle East) of which five have been introduced to southern Africa and become naturalised, including Avena sativa (Oats), which is cultivated for the production of oats, the primary ingredient of porridge.

Axonopus

There are 110 species worldwide (native to tropical and subtropical America) of which two, Axonopus affinis and Axonopus compressus (recorded from Zimbabwe), have become naturalised in southern Africa. 

 

Bambusa (bamboos - part)

There are about 120 species worldwide (native to tropical Asia and America) of which two, Bambusa balcooa (Common bamboo) and Bambusa vulgaris (see Flora of Zimbabwe), have become naturalised in southern Africa. An additional six species are cultivated in the region.

Catapodium

There are two species worldwide (native from Europe and North Africa to Iran) of which one Catapodium rigidum (Job's tears) has become naturalised in southern Africa (coastal areas of the Western Cape). 

 

Coix

There are about five species of Coix worldwide (native to tropical Asia) of which Coix lacryma-jobi is cultivated in southern Africa and has become naturalised. 

 

Cortaderia (Pampas grass genus)

There are 24 species worldwide (native to South America, New Zealand and New Guinea) of which two, Cortaderia jubata (Pampas grass, Pampasgras) and Cortaderia selloana (Pampas grass, Pampasgras, Silwergras) have been cultivated and naturalised in southern Africa.

Corynephorus

There are five species worldwide (Europe and Mediterranean to Iran) of which one Corynephorus fasciculatus has become naturalised in southern Africa (Western Cape). 

 

Cynosurus

There are eight species worldwide (Europe, Middle East and Africa) of which two are naturalised (Cynosurus echinatus and Cynosurus coloratus).

 

Dactylis (Cock's-foot genus)

There are about five species worldwide (native to temperate Eurasia) of which one, Dactylis glomerata (Cock's-foot), is cultivated in southern Africa and sometimes occurs naturally as an escape. . 

 

Deschampsia (hair grasses)

There are 40 species worldwide (native to temperate regions and high-altitude tropics) of which two have become naturalised in southern Africa. 

 

Elymus

Two species are naturalised - Elymus distichus and Elymus repens.

 

Elytrigia

There are about eight species worldwide (temperate regions) of which one Elytrigia repens has become naturalised in southern Africa. 

 

Gastridium

There are two species worldwide (native to Mediterranean region) of which one Gastridium phleoides has become naturalised in southern Africa (Western Cape). 

 

Hainardia

One species: Heinardia cylindrica, native to the Mediterranean region and has become naturalised in southern Africa (coastal regions of Eastern and Western Cape).  

 

Harpachne

There are two species worldwide (eastern and north-eastern Africa and Arabia), of which one, Harpachne schimperi, has become naturalised in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Lagurus

One species: Lagurus ovatus, native to the Mediterranean region and naturalised to southern Africa. 

 

Lamarckia

One species: Lamarckia aurea, native from the Mediterranean to Pakistan and introduced to southern Africa. 

 

Lolium

There are four species worldwide (tropical Africa, USA), all of which are naturalised in southern Africa (N Namibia, Botswana). 

Lophochloa

There are about 85 species worldwide (temperate regions) of which two have become naturalised in southern Africa. 

 

Microlaena

There are about 10 species worldwide (Philippines, Java to Australia) of which one Microlaena stipoides has become naturalised in southern Africa. 

 

Nassella

There are about 15 species worldwide (South America) of which three have become naturalised in southern Africa. Nassella tenuissima (White tussock, Witpolgras) and Nassella trichotoma (Nassella tussock, Nassella polgras) are Category 1 weeds in South Africa.

 

Parapholis

There are six species worldwide (Europe and Asia) of which one Parapholis incurva has become naturalised in southern Africa. 

 

Periballia

There are three species worldwide (native to Mediterranean) of which one Periballia minuta is native to southern Africa. 

 

Phalaris

There are about 16 species worldwide (northern temperate regions, South America) of which six have become established in southern Africa as weeds or escapees from cultivation. 

 

Sphenopus

There are two species worldwide (Mediterranean to Iran) of which one Sphenopus divaricatus has become naturalised in southern Africa. 

 

Steinchisma

Steinchisma hians has become naturalised in southern Africa.

 

Thinopyrum

There are about five species worldwide (coastal Europe, southern Africa) of which one Thinopyrum distichum is naturalised in southern Africa (Western and Eastern Cape). 

 

Other genera, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002).

Agropyron caninum

Native to Europe.

 

Alopecurus pratensis (Meadow foxtail)

 

Arundinaria

Three species cultivated.

 

Beckeropsis uniseta

 

Bouteloua

Two species cultivated: Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama) and Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama).

 

Buchloe dactyloides

Native to the western USA.

 

Chasmanthium latifolium

Native to the eastern USA.

 

Dendrocalamus (Giant bamboo genus)

Three species cultivated, including Dendrocalamus giganteus (Giant bamboo).

 

Hilaria belangeri

Native to North America.

 

Hystrix patula (Bottle-brush grass)

Native to North America.

 

Phyllostachys aurea (Fish-pole bamboo)

Native to southeast China.

 

Pleioblastus hindsii

[= Thamnocalamus hindsii]

Native to China.

 

Pogonatherum paniceum

Indigenous from India through to Japan.

 

Saccharum officinarum (Sugarcane)

Indegenous to Melanasia.

 

Triticum (wheat genus)

Two species cultivated: Triticum aestivum (Bread wheat) and Triticum turgidum (Durum wheat).

Vetiveria zizanoides (Vetiver)

Native to India.

 

Zea mays (Mielies, Corn)

 

Zoysia japonica (Shiba)

Native to Japan, China and Korea.

 

Publications

  • Fish, L. 2000. Poaceae. In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 659-726. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

  • Fish, L. 2003. Poaceae. In Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds), Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14: 1152-1194. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria. 

  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • Palgrave, K.C. and Palgrave, M.C. 2002. Trees of Southern Africa. 3rd Edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.

  • van Oudtshoorn, F. 1999. Guide to Grasses of Southern Africa. Briza, Pretoria.

 

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