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Andropogon (Andropogon canaliculatus)


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Andropogon eucnemis Trin., Andropogon macleodiae Stapf, Sorghum eucneme (Trin.) Kuntze


Andropogon canaliculatus Schumach. is a short perennial savanna grass native of tropical Africa and grazed by domestic and wild ruminants.


Andropogon canaliculatus is tufted perennial, with erect culms 25–200 cm high. The leaf-blades are narrow, 10–40 cm long and 1–5 mm wide. The inflorescence consists of paired racemes, 3–9 cm long, purplish, occasionally terminal but usually up to 8, loosely gathered into a false panicle (Kew Science, 2020). It only occasionally forms a noticeable portion of sward (Dougall et al., 1960)


Larger-culmed plants are used for thatching, matting, and screens. The grass is grazed by domestic livestock but it produces little bulk and does not seem of much importance (Burkill, 1985). 

How to identify and preserve Andropogon canaliculatus (A. Keita and L. Sanou, Burkina Faso, 2016, in French)


Andropogon canaliculatus is native of tropical Africa. It has been observed in West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo), Central Africa (Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon, Congo (Kinshasa)), East Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda) and Southern Africa (Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe) (Kew Science, 2020; Guérin et al., 1988; Kouassi et al., 2014; Fleischer et al., 1998; Dougall et al., 1960; Atanga et al., 2013).

It grows mainly in moist and swampy places, notably seasonal ones, at altitudes ranging from 0 to 2300 m  (Kew Science, 2020; Dougall et al., 1960). It can be found in association of either Vetiveria fulvibarbis-Brachiaria falcifera on sandy soils or with Sporulus pyramidalis-Heteropogon contortus on clayey soils (Fleischer et al., 1996). It can grow on poor quality soils like those of the Plains of Accra in Ghana (shallow sandy and loamy soils deficient in organic matters and in plant nutrient) (Marchot et al., 1989). In Ethiopia, Andropogon canaliculatus is among the grasses and herbs that have been negatively impacted by the invasion of Prosopis juliflora, which reduces the productivity of rangelands (Mehari, 2015; Angassa, 2018).

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 

Like other savanna grasses, Andropogon canaliculatus has a rather low nutritive value, being poor in protein (5-13% DM) and rich in fibre (crude fibre 26-42% DM).


Andropogon canaliculatus is grazed by domestic livestock, including cattle, buffalo, and sheep, and by wild ruminants. It has been reported as being highly palatable to cattle which take it to the exclusion of all other grass species, though it becomes unpalatable when old and dry (Burkill, 1985). In the Accra Plains of Ghana, it is part of the species grazed by cattle and as such it is of interest for meat production in a dry area with a very low tse tse fly challenge and scarcity of animal trypanosomosis (Marchot et al., 1989). In Nigeria, it has been recommended as a secondary pasture grass for sheep (Babashani et al., 2020). In the Pendjari National Park, Benin, wild waterbucks (Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa) consume Andropogon canaliculatus only during the cold-dry season and in low proportions, and they tend to avoid it at the end of the season (Kassa et al., 2008).


No information seems available in the international literature on the use of Andropogon canaliculatus in rabbit feeding (April 2020). However, since this perennial grass is normally consumed by domestic or wild ruminants in various African countries (see Ruminants section), it must be considered as a potential forage for rabbits, mainly as a source of fibre with a poor protein content.

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  
Dry matter % as fed 40.6 14.9 25.3 67 8  
Crude protein % DM 8.3 2.8 5.1 13.3 9  
Crude fibre % DM 31.6 4.8 25.9 41.7 9  
Neutral detergent fibre % DM 65.1         *
Acid detergent fibre % DM 37.4         *
Ether extract % DM 1.4 0.5 0.9 2 5  
Ash % DM 8.6 2.7 5.1 12.9 9  
Insoluble ash % DM 3.6   1.7 7 4  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18         *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 3.6   2.6 4.8 4  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1.9   1.1 2.9 4  
Potassium g/kg DM 15.5   11.8 21.2 4  
Magnesium g/kg DM 1.9   1.4 2.6 4  
Ruminants nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 58.7         *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 56.1         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 10.1         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 8.2         *
Rabbit nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
DE rabbit MJ/kg DM 7.4         *
Energy digestibility, rabbit % 41.4         *

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


CIRAD, 1991; Dougall et al., 1960; Sen et al., 1965

Last updated on 16/10/2020 16:33:47

Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., Tran G., Giger-Reverdin S., Lebas F., 2020. Andropogon (Andropogon canaliculatus). Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/506 Last updated on October 26, 2020, 16:54

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