Stinking Grass

© D. Wesuls


Stinking grass or smelly grass (Bothriochloa radicans)


Stinking grass is perennial and tufted. It grows in a spreading, shrub-like manner yet does not grow very upright. Its leaves are blue-green in colour and are only eaten when the growth is still new.


Due to the scent and flavour of this grass, it is unpalatable and it is not popularly grazed. Stinking grass is sometimes grazed, in cases of a shortage of other palatable grasses. It contains essential oil of approximately 51 ingredients.


Stinking grass can be found in Southern Africa, stretching as far north as Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan. It prefers arid, basalt regions and dense clay soils. It occurs near vleis, rocky scarps and termite mounds, too.


This grass flowers from October to April in South Africa.

Field Notes

Its name refers to its scented leaves which are nearly unpalatable.