Native to tropical Africa, but introduced deliberately to California as a cover along slopes and ditch banks for erosion control. As a very fast growing grass it also has been used for a turfgrass, but it is capable of escaping and invading other grasses where it is objectionable.
A perennial that grows very rapidly, and reproduces from seeds or by underground rhizomes, and also spreads quickly by its above-ground stolons, that easily root at the numerous nodes. Growth is particularly rapid in the warmest months when temperatures are above 70 degrees.
Seeds are produced in late summer.
The mature plant grows as a low mat, spreading by underground rhizomes and above ground stolons, with rooting taking place at the stolons. Short leaves are also produced at the nodes on the stolons, and they are heavily sheathed at the attachment point.
Two kinds of leaves appear to be present. On the vegetative stems the leaves may be very long, up to 16 inches long and alternating on opposite sides of the stem, and are weak and drooping. On the flower-bearing stems, however, the leaves are short and stiff, and at the base of the leaf, where it forms the sheath around the stem, there is a distinct row of short, stiff hairs.
Flower heads form within the uppermost sheath of this fertile stem, and are nearly invisible, with only the longest of the female parts protruding.
Characteristicts Important to Control:
Spreading by stolons or rhizomes, new growth from seeds. A perennial with rapid growth in hot weather.