L. scindicus Henr.; Elyonurus hirsutus (Forsk.) Boiss.
Sewan grass (Rajasthan, India), karera (Pakistan).
A perennial, almost sub-woody at the base, with wiry, glaucous stems, leaf-blade thin with a setaceous tip, racemes 10 cm long, densely white villous, spikelets often three at each node, two sessile and one pedicelled; sessile spikelets 6-9 mm long, the lower glume flat, hirsute (Hutchinson & Dalziel, 1954). It has the maximum quantity of root material in the top 0.03 m3 of soil.
North Africa, Mali, Niger, Ethiopia, Iraq, southern Pakistan and north-west India.
It occurs in rainfalls below 250 mm a year. One of the dominant species in arid zones with as low a rainfall as 12.5 mm in Rajasthan (Dabadghao & Shankarnarayan, 1973).
It grows best on alluvial soils or light brown sandy soils with a pH of 8.5.
At Jodhpur, Rajasthan, it is best sown in rows 30-90 cm apart and weeded once (Chakravarty & Verma, 1972). In Thal, Pakistan, it is germinated in earthen tubes about 30 cm long and then transplanted in these tubes into the sand dunes at distances of 2 x 2, 3 x 2, or 3 x 3 m, with the top of the tube buried 10 cm in the sand. Protect the plants from wind, using reed windbreaks, till well established (Khan, 1968).
Sowing time and rate
Transplant the tubes during rain or within 24 hours after rain has fallen (Khan, 1968).
Seed treatment before planting
Chakravarty and Bhati (1969) made 5 mm diameter pellets containing one or two spikelets with a mixture of fine silt and cow dung. Germination was not affected and the best stand came from two spikelet pellets stored for four months.
Response to defoliation
At Jodhpur, Rajasthan, the highest dry-matter yields were obtained by cutting at 30-day intervals to a height of 15 cm (Dabadghao, Roy & Marwaha, 1973).
Dry-matter and green-matter yields
2 700-10 500 kg fresh forage per hectare (Verma & Chakravarty, 1969) and dry-matter yields of 1 500 kg/ha (Chakravarty & Verma, 1972). Well-established swards in western Rajasthan yielded 3 400 kg DM/ha (Ahuja, 1972).
Strain 318 is recommended by Prasad and Singh (1973) for cultivation under dryland conditions in western Rajasthan.
Its drought resistance, its persistence on sand dunes and its palatability.
Good, one of the first grasses to disappear under the impact of grazing.
Chemical analysis and digestibility
No figures have been cited.
Large bushy thickets in sandy deserts.
At Jodhpur, Rajasthan, application of 0-40 kg N + 20 kg PO: + 25 kg K2O/ha gave a yield of 4 860 kg/ha. Increasing nitrogen from 0-20 kg/ha increased yield from 3 500 to 5 810 kg/ha, but yields declined with further increases in nitrogen rates (Bajpai & Jain, 1971).
Compatibility with other grasses and legumes
Sowing with Vigna radiata(Mung), V. aconitifolia(Moth) and Cyamopsis tetragonoloba(Guar Gum) increased forage production by 1736 percent when rainfall was adequate, in the first two years, but the legumes failed in the third year due to drought (Daulay, Chakravarty & Bhati, 1972).
Genetics and reproduction
One of the most important arid zone grasses in north-west India.
At Jodhpur, Rajasthan, carrying capacity was 4.2, 0.29 and 7.1 cattle units per hectare in 1968/69, 1969/70 and 1970/71 respectively, with annual rainfalls of 178.8, 92.7 and 594.8 mm respectively (Gupta, Saxena & Sharma, 1972).
Chakravarty & Bhati, 1969; Chakravarty & Verma, 1972.4
Germination increases with storage up to four months.
Value for erosion control
It is useful stabilizing sand dunes in Iraq (Dougrameji & Kaul, 1972).
Tolerance to salinity
It has a moderate tolerance to salinity.