Marvel grass (Dichanthium annulatum (Forssk.) Stapf) is a tropical grass originally from North Africa and India that is used for pasture in tropical and subtropical zones. It is particularly used in India.
Dichanthium annulatum is a tufted perennial, 60-100 cm high (Ecocrop, 2010; Clayton et al., 2006). It has an important root system, down to 1 m deep (FAO, 2010). Culms are erect and decumbent, 25-100 cm long. Leaf-blades are linear, 3-30 cm long, 2-7 mm wide, pubescent at the margins (Clayton et al., 2006; Cook et al., 2005). The inflorescences are composed of 2-15 racemes, each 3-7 cm long (Clayton et al., 2006). The seed is a 2 mm long, oblong-obovate caryopsis (US Forest Service, 2010).
Marvel grass is an excellent and widely used fodder grass much appreciated by all classes of ruminants. In mixed pastures, marvel grass is preferred to all other grasses (Cook et al., 2005; Manidool, 1992). Marvel grass can be used in pastures, in cut-and-carry systems or for hay and silage making if it is cut before flowering (FAO, 2010; Cook et al., 2005; Manidool, 1992). In India, it withstood very heavy grazing and supported 7 sheep per ha. It gives a good standing hay (Manidool, 1992). It is a highly preferred grass in India (Gupta et al., 1995).