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Paspalidium (Paspalidium desertorum)


Click on the "Nutritional aspects" tab for recommendations for ruminants, pigs, poultry, rabbits, horses, fish and crustaceans
Common names 

C'iraa [Gabra/Kenya]; bohale [Afar/Ethiopia]; mordeb [Arabic/Sudan]


Panicum desertorum A. Rich.

Related feed(s) 

Paspalidium desertorum (A. Rich.) Stapf is an African perennial grass. It is stoloniferous and forms small tufts of erect or ascending shoots from the rooting nodes of the stolons. The culms are firm, 10-60 cm high. The leaves are long and narrow (3-25 x 0.1-0.8 cm), flat, or folded when dry, tapering to a long bristle-like point. They are somewhat succulent. The spikelets are 2.5-3 mm long with purple tips. The seeds are small (1200 seeds per g). Paspalidium desertorum is a valuable pasture grass in the arid and semi-arid zones of north-eastern Africa (Bogdan, 1977; IBPGR, 1984; FAO, 2013).


Paspalidium desertorum occurs in north-eastern tropical and subtropical Africa including Northern Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. It is also found in the Arabian Peninsula and in India. Paspalidium desertorum is a highly drought-tolerant grass, requires 375 mm rainfall and grows in semi-arid and arid areas, but in seasonally wet sites. It prefers alluvial silts or loams and avoids heavy clays and sandy soils. In the annual grass zone of Northern Kenya, Paspalidium desertorum is one of the few perennial grasses to be able to survive long dry seasons (Bogdan, 1977; IBPGR, 1984; FAO, 2013). However, its need for a rainy season may limit its usefulness (IBPGR, 1984).

Forage management 

Paspalidium desertorum grows in summer and should be sown in the early wet season, at 1.2 kg/ha, on a roughly disc-harrowed seed-bed (Bogdan, 1977; FAO, 2013).

Environmental impact 

In the 1960s, due to its good seed production, Paspalum desertorum was considered a promising grass for reseeding denuded pastoral land in Kenya receiving 400-600 mm annual rainfall (Bogdan, 1977). In the Afar region of Ethiopia, Paspalum desertorum was one of the major species contributing to dry matter production in severely, or moderately to severely, degraded rangelands. The presence of this species in degraded areas is attributed to injudicious grazing practices that caused a shift in species composition (Gebremeskel, 2006). Paspalum desertorum has also been described as a pest in Sudan. Its control required deep ploughing during the dry season, in order to sever the roots supplying the necessary water for perennation (Tothill, 1948).

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 

Nutritional information on Paspalidium desertorum is scarce, limited to one sample harvested at an early flowering stage in nursery plots in Kenya. This sample had a relatively high protein content (14% DM) and a moderate crude fibre content (29% DM) (Bogdan, 1977).


Paspalidium desertorum is a good grazing grass. In Northern Kenya it is said to be valuable and well-grazed in dry areas. In Sudan it is regarded as a good forage grass, most useful in its young stages (Bogdan, 1977IBPGR, 1984). The Gabra people (Northern Kenya), who are pastoralists depending mainly on camels, consider it of moderate importance for camel and sheep feeding, and of minor importance for cattle and goats (Stiles et al., 1991). Paspalidium desertorum is also cited by agro-pastoralists in the Afar region (north-eastern lowlands of Ethiopia) (Atanga et al., 2013).


No publication on the use of Paspalidium desertorum for rabbit feeding was available at the time of writing (November 2013). Since it is well accepted by ruminants, it can be assumed that it is a suitable forage for rabbits. Its digestible energy can be estimated at 7.7 MJ/kg DM and its protein digestibility at 64% (Lebas, 2013).

Nutritional tables
Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value 

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Crude protein % DM 13.8       1  
Crude fibre % DM 29.4       1  
NDF % DM 64.9         *
ADF % DM 34.7         *
Lignin % DM 4.2         *
Ether extract % DM 1.2       1  
Ash % DM 13.0       1  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 17.3         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 9.7       1  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1.8       1  
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 68.9         *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 65.8         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 11.4         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 9.1         *

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


Dougall et al., 1965

Last updated on 10/12/2013 00:02:32

Datasheet citation 

Tran G., Lebas F., 2015. Paspalidium (Paspalidium desertorum). Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/406 Last updated on July 6, 2015, 10:36

English correction by Tim Smith (Animal Science consultant) and Hélène Thiollet (AFZ)
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