Support Feedipedia

Automatic translation

Who is visiting Feedipedia?


Editor area

Sewan grass (Lasiurus scindicus)

Description and recommendations

Common names

Sewan grass, karera (FAO, 2010), gorkha (Khan et al., 1999)


Elionurus hirsutus Forssk., Lasiurus hirsutus auct., Rottboellia hirsuta auct. (USDA, 2010).

The species scindicus is often spelled sindicus (Quattrocchi, 2006).

Related feed(s)


Sewan grass (Lasiurus scindicus Henrard) is a perennial grass that can live up to 20 years. It is a bushy, multi-branched desert grass with ascending to erect wiry stems, up to 1-1.6 m tall and a stout woody rhizome (FAO, 200; Ecocrop, 2010). Leaves are alternate with a thin leaf-blade. The inflorescence is a silky, 10 cm long raceme bearing hairy spikelets. The fruit is a caryopsis (Anon., 2010; eFloras, 2010; FAO, 2010; Burkill, 1985).

Sewan grass forms bushy thickets in sandy deserts where it is used for pasture, hay and fodder for livestock. This grazing pasture is of outmost importance in areas where annual rainfall is below 250 mm (Ecocrop, 2010). It is relished by ruminants but does not stand heavy grazing and disappears when overgrazed (El-Keblawy et al., 2009).


Sewan grass is native to dry areas of North Africa, sudano-sahelian Africa, East Africa and Asia. It is found between 25-27°N latitude in dry open plains, rocky ground and gravelly soils (Quattrocchi, 2006). Optimal growth conditions are annual rainfall below 250 mm on alluvial soils or light sandy soils with a pH of 8.5 (FAO, 2010). It is highly tolerant of drought but should be protected from wind in the early stages of establishment (FAO, 2010).

Forage management

A 30-day cutting interval at 15 cm height gives the best dry matter yields. Sewan grass yields 2.7 to 10.5 t fresh forage/ha/year and up to 3.4 t DM/ha in well-established swards (FAO, 2010). Those low yields can be improved by annual seeding of companion legumes such as guar bean (Cyamopsis tetranogoloba) or mat bean (Vigna aconitifolia) (Göhl, 1982).

Environmental impact

Species like sewan grass are very important in arid environments because they provide forage, which maintains both wild mammals and livestock, and soil cover (Assaeed, 1997). Reseeding arid rangelands with species such as Lasurius scindicus that are more palatable than native species could be of interest (Khan et al., 1999). Sewan grass may be used to stabilize desert sandy dunes (Ecocrop, 2010; FAO, 2010).

In deteriorated rangelands of Saudi Arabia, sewan grass helps to control the low value and invasive species Rhazia stricta by outcompeting its seedlings. It is useful to improve rangeland management (Assaeed et al., 2001).


Sewan grass is one of the most important grazing grasses in north-west India (Rajasthan) and northern Pakistan in areas with less than 250 mm of rainfall, where it is sown for permanent pasture (FAO, 2010).


Sheep and goats

Sewan grass is mainly grazed by ruminants, generally in association with Cenchrus ciliaris and Cenchrus setigerus, which occupy the same agroecological niche, especially in Rajasthan and Pakistan (Bhati et al., 1983; Gupta et al., 1984; Khan et al., 1999). Its in vitro digestibility is lower than that of Cenchrus ciliaris (Saini et al., 2007). Live weight gains in sheep and goats grazing sewan grass stands are greater during the early growing season due to the high nutritive value of the swards. During the dry period (May to June in Pakistan) goats and sheep lose weight (Khan et al., 1999). A long-term trial (2 years), in Rajasthan, showed that ewes grazing a pasture containing 70% sewan grass needed to be supplemented in spring (dry season), but not in autumn (after the monsoon) to meet their lactating requirements (Thakur et al., 1987). Lebbeck (Albizia lebbeck) pods can be an efficient supplement for sheep fed degraded sewan pasture (Ram Ratan et al., 2005). Supplementation with crushed guar seeds (Cyamopsis tetranogoloba) at 150 g/head increases DM intaked and diet digestibility in ewes grazing sewan grass (Thakur et al., 1985).


Sewan grass is a palatable pasture for camels, but supplementation is required to meet the nutritional requirements of camels (Nagpal et al., 1998; Nagpal et al., 2000; Nagpal et al., 2004). Overgrazing by camels of the arid rangelands of Saudi Arabia resulted in a reduction of sewan grass and other palatable species found in the stands (Shaltout et al., 1996 cited by El-Keblawy et al., 2009).


Sewan grass hay can be used for up to ten years (Singh, 2008).

Sewan grass hay is less digestible than buffel grass hay (Cenchrus ciliaris) (Paul et al., 1979; Sawal et al., 2009) due to its high lignin content (4 to 8 % DM) and low nitrogen level (5 to 10 % DM). Dry matter digestibility is usually poor (35 to 40 %) (Bohra, 1982), but may reach 60 % (Ram Ratan et al., 1973). Sewan grass hay cannot be used as sole source of nutrient supply to livestock and should be supplemented with local products such as guar seeds (Ram Ratan et al., 2003) or included in total mixed rations with groundnut hulls or straw, mesquite (Prosopis juliflora) pods, deoiled rice bran, rocket (Eruca sativa) oil cake or colocynth (Citrullus colocynthis) seed cake to reach 13-14% CP in DM (Sharma et al., 2006).


Mesquite (Prosopis juliflora) pods, that are available in the same climatic conditions, have a high N content and availability and are useful for making sewan silage. A 50:50 mesquite pods-sewan grass silage reaches 13% crude protein level without requiring the addition of urea or molasses (Pancholy et al., 1999).

Horses and donkeys

Horses can be fed on sewan grass hay as basal roughage in arid regions of India (Nehra et al., 2008).


Heuzé V., Tran G., Giger-Reverdin S., 2013. Sewan grass (Lasiurus scindicus). A programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. Last updated on July 18, 2013, 15:41


Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 32.2 1.8 30.2 33.7 3  
Crude protein % DM 6.0 3.2 1.9 10.8 13  
Crude fibre % DM 42.1 5.0 34.1 55.2 13  
NDF % DM 76.9         *
ADF % DM 48.7         *
Lignin % DM 7.3         *
Ether extract % DM 2.2 2.2 0.9 8.2 10  
Ash % DM 8.5 2.2 5.7 11.9 11  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.4         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 5.1 1.8 3.3 8.5 6  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 0.7 0.5 0.2 1.6 6  
Potassium g/kg DM 9.5 6.3 3.1 21.2 6  
Sodium g/kg DM 0.1       1  
Magnesium g/kg DM 1.8 0.5 1.0 2.5 6  
Manganese mg/kg DM 30       1  
Zinc mg/kg DM 23       1  
Copper mg/kg DM 8       1  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 54.5         *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 52.1         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 9.6         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 7.7         *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


CIRAD, 1991; Khan et al., 1999; Malik et al., 1967; Rafay et al., 2013

Last updated on 22/11/2013 14:10:58

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Crude protein % DM 5.9 1
Crude fibre % DM 38.0 1
NDF % DM 73.0 *
ADF % DM 44.2 *
Lignin % DM 6.3 *
Ether extract % DM 0.3 1
Ash % DM 11.0 1
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 17.4 *
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 55.2 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 51.8 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 9.0 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 7.3 *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 51.0 1

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Sen, 1938

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:45:02



Anonymous, 2010. Flora of Israël online. Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israël web icon
Assaeed, A.M. ; Al-Doss, A. A., 2001. Seedling competition of Lasiurus scindicus and Rhazya stricta in response to water stress. J. Arid Environ., 49: 315–320 web icon
Assaeed, A. M., 1997. Estimation of biomass and utilization of three perennial range grasses in Saudi Arabia. J. Arid Environ., 36: 103–111 web icon
Bhati, G. N. ; Mruthyunjaya, 1983. Economics of sheep farming on different pastures in arid land of western Rajasthan. Indian J. Anim. Sci., 53 (7): 732-737
Bohra, H. C., 1982. Utilization of cell wall constituents and nitrogen fraction of Lasiurus sindicus hay in Magra and Marwari breeds of Rajasthan desert. Indian J. Anim. Sci., 52:649-651
Burkill, H. M., 1985. Entry for Lasiurus hirsutus (Forssk.) Boiss. [family POACEAE]. In: The useful plants of west tropical Africa, 2nd edition. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK web icon
Ecocrop, 2010. Ecocrop database. FAO web icon
eFloras, 2010. eFloras, a collection of on-line floras from around the world. Harvard University web icon
El-Keblawy, A. ; Ksiksi, T. ; El Alqamy, H., 2009. Camel grazing affects species diversity and community structure in the deserts of the UAE. J. Arid Environ. 73: 347–354 web icon
FAO, 2010. Grassland Index. A searchable catalogue of grass and forage legumes. FAO web icon
Göhl, B., 1982. Les aliments du bétail sous les tropiques. FAO, Division de Production et Santé Animale, Roma, Italy web icon
Gupta, A. K. ; Joshi, D. C., 1984. Effect of grazing on protein and mineral composition, and in vitro dry matter digestibility of different pasture species of the arid zone. Indian J. Anim. Sci., 54 (3): 270-274
Kackar, N. L. ; Bawa, A. K., 1983. Growth of yearling heifers under different systems of grazing on Sewan (Lasiurus sindicus) grassland. Annals of Arid Zone, 22 (1): 53-57
Khan, M. F. ; Anderson, D. M. ; Nutkani, M. I. ; Butt, N. M., 1999. Preliminary results from reseeding degraded Dera Ghazi Khan rangeland to improve small ruminant production in Pakistan. Small Rumin. Res., 32: 43-49 web icon
Malik, M. Y. ; Sheikh, A. A., 1967. Studies on the chemical composition of pasture grasses. Pakistan J. Sci., 19: 209
Nagpal, A. K. ; Kiradoo, B. D. ; Purchit, R. ; Mal, G. ; Kumar, R., 1998. Comparative studies on stall-feeding and continuous pasture grazing systems on camel production. Indian J. Anim. Nutr., 15, 151-157
Nagpal, A. K. ; Sahani, M. S. ; Roy, A. K., 2000. Effect of grazing sewan (Lasiurus sindicus) pasture on female camels in arid ecosystem. Indian J. Anim. Sci., 70 (9): 968-971 web icon
Nagpal, A. K. ; Saini, N. ; Roy, A. K. ; Sahani, M. S., 2004. Nutrient utilization in camels fed sewan (Lasiurus sindicus) grass with or without ardu (Ailanthus excelsa) leaves. Indian J. Anim. Nutr., 21, 111-114
Nehra, R. ; Purohit, G. R. ; Sharma, T. ; Dhuria, R. K. ; Legha, R. A., 2008. Nutritional evalution of sewan (Lasiurus sindicus) grass hay in marwari horses of arid region. Anim. Nutr. Feed Technol., 88 (1), 105-109
Osman, A. E. ; Makawi, M. ; Ahmed, R., 2008. Potential of the indigenous desert grasses of the Arabian Peninsula for forage production in a water-scarce region. Grass and Forage Sci., 63 (4): 495–503 web icon
Pancholy, R. ; Mali, P. C., 1999. E€ffective utilisation of Prosopis juliflora pods by ensiling with desert grass Lasiurus sindicus. Bioresource Technol., 69 (3): 281-283 web icon
Paul, S. ; Paroda, R. S. ; Vyas, R. K., 1979. Performance of ram lambs on dead ripe Cenchrus ciliaris and Lasiurus sindicus in summer. Forage Research, 5 (1): 13-18
Quattrocchi, U., 2006. CRC World dictionary of grasses: common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton, USA web icon
Rafay, M.; Khan, R. A.; Yaqoob, S.; Ahmad, M., 2013. Nutritional evaluation of major range grasses from Cholistan Desert. Pakistan J. Nutr., 12 (1): 23-29 web icon
Ram Ratan; Purchit, G. R. ; Abichandani, R. K. ; Ghosh, P. K., 1973. A note on the utilization of hay by pure and crossbred Marwari sheep. Anim. Prod., 17 (2): 213-214
Ram Ratan; Bapna, D. L. ; Sawal, R. K., 2003. Effect of feeding Lasiurus sindicus hay supplemented with cluster bean seed meal on nutrient utilization in sheep. Annals of Arid Zone, 42: 219-222
Ram Ratan; Sawal, R. K., 2005. Influence of sirus (Albizia lebbeck) pods supplementation in sheep production. Indian J. Small Rumin., 11 (1): 43-47 web icon
Saini, M. L. ; Jain, P. ; Joshi, U. N., 2007. Morphological characteristics and nutritive value of some grass species in an arid ecosystem. Grass and Forage Sci., 62 (1): 104-108 web icon
Sawal, R. K. ; Ram Ratan; Chander, S., 2009. Nutritive evaluation of Lasiurus sindicus and Cenchrus ciliaris hays in sheep. Indian J. Small Rumin., 15 (2): 277-280 web icon
Sen, K. C., 1938. The nutritive values of Indian cattle feeds and the feeding of animals. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Dehli, Bulletin No. 25, 1-30
Shaltout, K. H. ; El Halawany, E. F. ; El Kady, H. F., 1996. Consequences of protection from grazing on diversity and abundance of the coastal lowland vegetation in eastern Saudi Arabia. Biodiversity and Conservation 5, 27–36 web icon
Sharma, V. ; Purohit, G. R. ; Arya, R. S. ; Harsh, M., 2006. Evaluation of some complete rations in sheep incorporating unconventional feed resources of arid zone in India. Anim. Nutr. Feed Technol., 6: 135-141 web icon
Singh, G, 2008. Ecological and Environmental assessment in the onshore area of RJ-ON-90/1 Block, Rajasthan. Prepared for Cairn Energy India Pty Limited. Arid Forest Research Institute. Jodhpur - 342005. Indian Council of forestry research & education web icon
Thakur, S. S. ; Mali, P. C. ; Patnayak, B. C., 1985. Evaluation of sewan (Lasiurus sindicus) pasture with or without supplementation of of crushed clusterbean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba). Indian J. Anim. Sci., 55 (8): 711-714 web icon
Thakur, S. S. ; Patnayak, B. C., 1987. Plane of nutrition and productivity of Karakul and Marwari ewes grazing on sewan (Lasiurus sindicus) pasture. Indian J. Anim. Sci., 57 (4): 306-309
USDA, 2010. GRIN - Germplasm Resources Information Network. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland web icon

Image credits

Image credits

Picture title Credits License
Sewan grass, Israël Danim Avinoam Unknown license