Nine-awned Grass

© N.Juergens


Nine-awned grass (Enneapogon cenchroides)


The nine-awned grass grows about 1 m in height. Its inflorescence is thick and has a hairy panicle that narrows to a sharp point. The nodes are covered in dense hairs as well. The panicle can be closed or open.


This grass grows successfully and fast in the disturbed veld and thereby protects its soil. It is hardy and grows in dense stands, particularly after disturbances such as droughts or overgrazing.


Nine-awned grass usually grows in disturbed veld in sandy and gravelly soil. It also grows in limestone areas and next to roads.


This grass flowers from December to May.

Field Notes

This grass is valuable in the prevention of soil erosion in many parts of Africa. It is widely spread and occurs in South Africa and in sub-Saharan Africa as far north as Sudan.