Thursday, 16 November 2017

Eragrostis lehmanniana

Eragrostis lehmanniana var. lehmanniana

Eragrostis lehmanniana var. lehmanniana

Common names
Lehmann love grass, Lehmann's love grass

Eragrostis lehmanniana var. lehmanniana is one of the many grasses that I have collected and have growing on my property in  Mount Moreland. This particular species that I collected in Jwaneng in Botswana has been grown because of its most beautiful blue to grey colouration.

Eragrostis lehmanniana var. lehmanniana is a tufted perennial grass. The culms are up to 60-90 cm high with narrow leaves 1-3 mm wide. Panicles are 10-20 cm long, lax and open. Its bunch habit is somewhat open in that individuals do not form a compact crown with numerous stem bases.

Eragrostis lehmanniana var. lehmanniana inflorescens

Eragrostis lehmanniana is native to Southern Africa where it occurs over much of the summer rainfall area. Eragrostis lehmanniana is adapted to semi-arid, tropical and subtropical summer-rainfall areas and is fairly tolerant of drought.

Eragrostis lehmanniana flourishes in areas of low rainfall of 300-500 mm in particular in sandy soils of pH 7.0-8.5. Eragrostis lehmanniana is common in several habitat types such as Acacia woodland and Kalahari grasslands and savanna. It tolerates high pH caused by calcium and magnesium rather than by sodium. It is often found in areas where disturbance or over grazing has taken place.
Eragrostis lehmanniana is a very productive grass. In South Africa, reported yields are 6-7 tons dry mass per hectare per year.

Eragrostis lehmanniana var. lehmannianashowing the colour of the stems

Eragrostis lehmanniana is a valuable grazing grass in the more arid regions where it is one of the first grasses to sprout in the spring and after rains. Eragrostis lehmanniana is also widely used for reseeding disturbed areas because it gives a rapid soil cover. 

Forage management
Eragrostis lehmanniana should not be too closely grazed and must be well established before being grazed. Only half the annual growth should be grazed off, but it can be continuously grazed for maximum production. However, a late summer rest improved the total available carbohydrates, crude protein and phosphorus contents, and allows the grass to seed.

Article written by Michael Hickman 16.11.2017

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