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Plant of the Month 3

Pennisetum divisum

Arabic name: Haad, ithmam, thaymoun, thiemum, thumam
Common name: Bristle grass
Family name: Poaceae
Found: Arabia, Africa, south Asia

Photo Credits: Alexey Sergeev, Flora of Qatar (All images from Qatar)

Plant Description

Pennisetum divisum is a perennial widespread grass that can be found from Africa - Madagascar - Somalia through to Asia - India - Jammu-Kashmir. In Qatar it can be found in the north of the country near Ras Laffan or in the southern parts of the country on the way to Salwa.

It can grow quite large in substantial clumps up to 1m in height. Pennistum divisum often co-occurs with Panicum turgidum (another local native grass plant) and when not in flower the two can be easily mistaken. The Bedouin even refer to Pennisetum divisum as the “sister” of Panicum turgidum. When cooccurring with Panicum turgidum, Panicum is the preferred graze species by animals.

Pennistum divisum does a lot of good work as a sand binder where it will create a small hillock of sand anchored to the desert floor. The picture below illustrates the sand binding effect.

Pennisetum divisum flower (inflorescence) is arranged in oblong panicles with narrowly lanceolate
spikelets. Refer to the flower images to the right for more visual information.

Cultural Background

Pennisetum divisum can be used as fodder if no other plants are available.

In Doha Pennisetum divisum has been planted very effectively in large groups on the new Qatar Foundation Golf Club site, where it has found a happy home between the water hungry green fairways. Being a desert dwelling plant it can survive very well on minimal water. Plant tests ran in 2012 indicated Pennisetum divisum would grow well on as little as 1 litre of water per day in peak summer temperatures. 


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Landscape Examples

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Digital 3D - Commercial Car Park Edge (3D images by RAD_sm.png )

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Digital 3D - Residential Street (3D images by RAD_sm.png)

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Digital 3D - Urban Park (3D images by RAD_sm.png)

Additional Information

PDF Download

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Flora of Qatar - Pennisetum divisum

Location Map - Alexey Sergeev Photos

Plant of the Month Partners
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