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Centipede grass (Ischaemum timorense)


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

Centipede grass, lucuntu grass, stalkleaf muraina gras [English]; rumput sarang buaya [Malay]; rumput apet [Sumbawa]; jukut jampang manggung [Sundanese]; mồm timor [Vietnamese]

The name Centipede grass is also used for Eremochloa ophiuroides, a grass species generally used for lawns.


Andropogon timorensis (Kunth) Steud, Ischaemum macrurum Stapf ex Ridley

Related feed(s) 

Centipede grass (Ischaemum timorense Kunth) is an annual or perennial spreading stoloniferous grass, rooting from the basal nodes. Culms are erect, up to 1 m high. Its hairy leaf blades are 3-6 cm long x 3-15 mm broad. Inflorescence is terminal, with 2-3 opposed racemes, each bearing pairs of 4-7 mm long spikelets.

Centipede grass is a fodder species of minor importance in Asia. It is used in permanent pastures and can withstand heavy grazing. While it is more rarely harvested by cutting, it gives a good quality fresh fodder and hay. Centipede grass is also a good ground cover and fresh and dry foliage can be used for composting and mulching (Ecocrop, 2010; FAO, 2010).


Centipede grass is native to tropical and temperate Asia and is naturalized in Central and South America. It is found from sea level up to an altitude of 2000 m. It generally occurs in disturbed areas (roadsides, banks or terraces, forest margins, etc.) and also in rice fields (Cook et al., 2005; Ipor et al., 1992). It does not tolerate frost and grows best with an annual rainfall between 800 mm and 2000 mm, on well-drained, light- to medium-textured and low-fertility soils with a pH ranging from 4.5 to 5.5.

Centipede grass can withstand dry periods but may become an annual in such conditions. It can grow in shaded areas (up to 50% shade) and is used as ground cover under trees. It may also withstand high soil acidity. However, centipede grass is not tolerant of poor drainage and waterlogged conditions (Ecocrop, 2010; FAO, 2010; Cook et al., 2005).

Forage management 

It yields up to 30 t fresh forage/ha/year but the dry matter yield is too low to warrant cultivation (FAO, 2010; Cook et al., 2005).

Environmental impact 

Centipede grass may become a weed in annual crops as it establishes readily, spreads through rooted stolons and is tolerant of shade and short droughts. In Indonesia, it is a common weed of rice (Ipor et al., 1992). It does not require added fertilizers and it can resist fires because it regrows from the stolons and seeds. It is listed as an "environmental invasive species" by the PIER (Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk) (Cook et al., 2005).

Nutritional aspects
Potential constraints 

There is no record of toxicity from centipede grass (Cook et al., 2005).


Centipede grass is palatable and well grazed by cattle, horses and sheep. It is an important component of the Nakhon Si Thammarat pastures, a province of Thailand (Chauychuwong et al., 2012). However, production per head is usually limited by excessive stocking rates. Centipede grass presents good quality leaf material but may be restricted by very low soil fertility and limited bulk (Cook et al., 2005). Crude protein content decreases with age, from 11% to 5% DM between three and eight weeks (Appelman et al., 1962).

Nutritional tables

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
Dry matter % as fed 90.9 1
Crude protein % DM 8.3 1
Crude fibre % DM 34.2 1
NDF % DM 69.4 *
ADF % DM 40.0 *
Lignin % DM 5.4 *
Ash % DM 10.6 1
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 59.7 *

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


Dijkstra et al., 1962

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:43:57

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Crude protein % DM 10.0 3.4 5.3 15.3 9
Crude fibre % DM 34.1 2.2 30.0 36.7 8
NDF % DM 69.3 *
ADF % DM 39.9 *
Lignin % DM 5.3 *
Ether extract % DM 1.8 0.3 1.1 2.0 9
Ash % DM 9.3 2.1 7.2 14.0 9
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.1 *
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 63.2 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 60.5 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 10.9 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 8.8 *

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


Appelman et al., 1962; Dirven, 1962; Mlay et al., 2006

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:43:57

Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., Tran G., Baumont R., 2016. Centipede grass (Ischaemum timorense). Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/417 Last updated on April 12, 2016, 10:36

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