Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon
) is a warm-season perennial that is often used as a turfgrass or pasture grass for livestock. It is native to Africa, but has been introduced to subtropical and tropical regions worldwide for its use as a forage and ornamental grass. C. dactylon
is widespread across the southwest and southern United States.
Bermudagrass Identifying Characteristics
- Height: 3 ft (0.914 m)
- Flowers: Inflorescence with 3 to 7 fingerlike spikes, originating from the same point. Spikelets arranged in 2 rows.
- Leaves: Rolled in the bud, without auricles and with a ligule with a fringe of hairs, occuring at leaf margins within the collar region. Leaf blades are approximately 2 to 7 inches in length; smooth to sparsely hairy.
- Stems: Flattened with relatively long hairs near the collar only.
- Root system: Rhizomes and stolons.
Bermuda grass hay has been associated with horses colicing due to feed impaction in the small intestine. Some of these colic events resolve when the horse receives nasogastric tubing with water, mineral oil, and electrolytes, but many require surgery. Horses are nearly 6 times more likely to colic if they are fed bermuda grass hay.
Under tropical humid climates, Bermuda grass is susceptible to ergot (Claviceps spp
.) infestation. Mycotoxic risk associated to ergotism
is negligible when forage is pastured or harvested before flowering, but the risk increases after seed heading.