Panicum maximum Jacq.

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Panicum maximum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Haslemere lane, Umwinsidale, Harare

Panicum maximum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Haslemere lane, Umwinsidale, Harare

Panicum maximum

Photo: Bart Wursten
Haslemere lane, Umwinsidale, Harare

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Synonyms: Megathyrsus maximus (Jacq.) B.K. Simon & S.W.L. Jacobs
Panicum maximum var. altissimum Kuntze
Panicum maximum var. trichoglume Robyns
Panicum tephrosanthum Schinz
Urochloa maxima (Jacq.) R. Webster
Common names: Buffalo grass (English) Guinea grass (English)
Status: Native
Tall tufted perennial, usually 1-2 m tall, occasionally much taller. Inflorescence a large open panicle, pyramidal or oblong in outline with the lower branches often whorled. Spikelets 3-4.5 mm, glabrous or pubescent, sometimes overtopped by long hairs from tip of pedicel; lower glume broadly ovate, 1/3 to 1/2 length of spikelet, 3-nerved; upper glume ovate-oblong, 5-nerved, acute; lower lemma ovate-oblong, 5-nerved; upper lemma strongly transversely rugose.
Notes: A very common and variable grass, distinguished by its size and the strongly rugose upper lemma.
Derivation of specific name: maximum: largest
Habitat: In a wide variety of natural and disturbed habitats, usually in shade and often preferring damp situations.
Altitude range:
Flowering time:Sep - Mar
Worldwide distribution: Native in Tropical Africa and Southern Africa; introduced throughout the tropics.
Malawi distribution: S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: Cnaphalocrocis trapezalis (Larval foodplant)
Mocis proverai (Larval food plant)
Antigastra catalaunalis (Larval food plant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 357. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 42.

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 28.

Clayton, W.D. (1989). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(3) Page 17.

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 482. (Includes a picture).

Isaiah, A.M. & Komi, T. (2015). Grasses in the Botswana National Botanic Garden South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria Page 29. (Includes a picture).

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 51.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 107.

Pickering, H. & Roe, E. (2009). Wild Flowers of the Victoria Falls Area Helen Pickering, London Page 96. (Includes a picture).

Roodt, V. (2015). Grasses & Grazers of Botswana and the surrounding savanna Struik Nature, South Africa Pages 160 - 161. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 142.

Siebert, S. & Mössmer, M. (Editors) (2002). SABONET Southern Mozambique Expedition 2001; Provisional Plant Checklist of the Maputo Elephant Reserve (MER) and Licuati Forest Reserve (LFR) SABONET News 7(1) Page 28.

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 151.

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 191.

Other sources of information about Panicum maximum:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Panicum maximum
Flora of Caprivi: Panicum maximum
Flora of Mozambique: Panicum maximum
Flora of Zambia: Panicum maximum
Flora of Zimbabwe: Panicum maximum

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Panicum maximum
African Plant Database: Panicum maximum
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Panicum maximum
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Panicum maximum
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Panicum maximum
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Panicum maximum
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Panicum maximum
JSTOR Plant Science: Panicum maximum
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Panicum maximum
Plants of the World Online: Panicum maximum
Tropicos: Panicum maximum
Wikipedia: Panicum maximum

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Malawi: Species information: Panicum maximum., retrieved 24 June 2024

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