Elephant grass adaptations in the savanna

The elephant grass adapted and incorporated shallow roots that help in the advanced absorption of water quickly and in huge amounts.

The elephant grass is tall grasses that came to Africa in 1913 and it grows in dense clumps which a height up to 10 feet tall. It grows in the savanna in Africa along the lake beds and rivers where the soil is rich.

Elephant grass adaptations in the savanna
Elephant grass adaptations By Kamweti wa Mutu – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63064396

Physical Features of Elephant Grass

  • Its scientific name is Pennisetum purpureum and commonly called cane grass, napier grass and Elephant grass.
  • Its culms are coarse and grow up to the height of 10 feet tall, branched above.
  • It forms thick and dense clumps up to 1m cross and its leaves are hairy at the base, around 100 cm long and around 6cm wide.
  • Its leaves are flat and linear and it color is bluish-green.

What does elephant grass need to survive?

Elephant grass thrives in the regions with a tropical climate, on the moist and fertile soil. This grass is classified as invasive species in a few nations due to its ability to adapt quickly to the new habitats and its nature of preventing the growth of the native plants.

Elephant Grass as food

It is generally used as forage. Also for controlling the erosion of soil and ornamental plants, also as aesthetic features.

In some parts of Igbo land, people also enjoy this grass as food. As per the name, Elephant grass is also a source of elephant food.

Native of Elephant Grass

It is native to Sub-Saharan Africa and the tropics. This grass is a crop and ornamental grass which was introduced in subtropics and tropical regions around the world.


Due to its rapid growth, high biomass, and low mineral content, it is a good choice as a biofuel. Also, it is predominantly used for feedstock production.

Its nature of regeneration and high productivity, which make it good for the use of cattle feed and it is also a basic source of forage for the elephants in the African continent. Due to this use, it is called Elephant Grass.

This grass can be easily harvested as it does not require much water and nutrients for its growth and can be harvested 4 to 6 times a year. It can survive long dry periods without any damage. Also, it is perennial and can last up to 20 years in the forest.


  1. What is the scientific name for elephant grass?

The scientific name of elephant grass is Pennisetum purpureum.

2. What is the kingdom and species of elephant grass?

Elephant grass, the kingdom is Plantae and it belongs to the species C.purpureum.

3. Is elephant grass sharp?

Yes, its leaves are razor sharp. It leaves are 2 to 3 feet long and pointed at the ends. The stands of this grass are almost impenetrable and many species of birds make their home in its stand.

4. Which grass is called elephant grass?

Pennisetum purpureum, is a forage grass that belongs to Penicillaria of Gramineae and pearl millet(P.americanum). It is a rhizomatous perennial called Napier Grass or Elephant grass due to its large size.



* * All the Notes in this blog, are referred from Tamil Nadu State Board Books and Samacheer Kalvi Books. Kindly check with the original Tamil Nadu state board books and Ncert Books.