Panicum jumentorum Pers.
Densely tufted perennial; culms 80-300 cm high, erect or ascending, often branched, the nodes usually bearded. Leaf-blades linear, 10-60(80) cm long, 4-20 (-40) mm wide, flat, glabrous, long-tapering to a fine point; lowermost sheaths strongly compressed and keeled. Panicle ovate, 10-45 cm long, contracted or open, the branches mostly bare in the lower half, the lowermost conspicuously whorled. Spikelets oblong, 2.5-3.6(4) mm long, glabrous or shortly and densely pubescent, acute or subobtuse; lower glume orbicular, hyaline, a quarter to a third the length of the spikelet, rounded or shortly acute, 1-3-nerved or sometimes almost nerveless; upper glume 5-7-nerved; lower lemma 5-7-nerved, its palea almost as long; upper lemma pallid, rugulose.
Fl. & Fr. Per.: June-October.
Type locality: Guadeloupe, Lesser Antilles.
Distribution: Pakistan (Punjab & N.W.F.P.; introduced); tropical Africa; introduced to most other warm countries.
Guinea Grass is a native of tropical Africa introduced into most other warm countries and well established in Pakistan. Its introduction to India probably dates from before 1800. It is an outstanding fodder grass readily eaten by cattle.
Morphologically it is extremely variable ranging from tall very robust plants about 3 m high to small plants less than 1 m high. The spikelets may be glabrous or pubescent. Tall specimens (especially those of southern India, Africa and North America) are distinguished from the North American Panicum plenum, by the bearded nodes and longer ligules, but this does not hold for Pakistani plants. These are nearly all the small variant and mostly have pubescent spikelets, the latter character being the best distinguishing feature since the nodes of these plants are usually glabrous.