Signal Grass

Brachiaria decumbens


  • Persistent and vigorous growing perennial
  • Widely adapted to tropics and sub-tropics
  • Suitable for grazing and erosion control



    Signal Grass forms a dense, high yielding sward which responds very well to additional nitrogen applications. This perennial has an aggressive stoloniferous root system and long trailing stems which will readily root down at the nodes. It will tolerate a wide range of soil types and is best suited to humid tropical regions.

    Signal grass is also known as Basilisk. Signal is mainly grown for grazing and erosion control due to its aggressive growth habit and wide adaptability. It can remain palatable due to excellent regrowth.


    Species Origin

    Africa but widely used in tropics and sub-tropics e.g. 40 million hectares reported to be grown in Brazil.


    Plant Characteristics

    Persistent and vigorous growing perennial – once established it can persist for a number of years due to its robust root system.
    Adaptation – widely adapted to tropics and sub-tropics and grows best at 30⁰ - 35⁰ with 1,500mm annual rainfall.
    Uses – suitable for grazing and erosion control since it can produce high forage yield and remain green long into the dry season.


    Seed Characteristics

    Seeds are small and elongated – well filled seeds, with bare seeds averaged at 220,000seeds/kg.

    Seed dormancy can be a problem and can affect establishment.


    Seeding rate

    (kg/ha): Marginal Dryland 2-6, Good Dryland 8-10, Irrigated 12-15

    Tropical Grasses

    Tropically adapted grasses come in a wide range of species adapted to varying conditions. Many summer crops grown today are annual tropical grasses. Perennial tropical grasses offer the same benefits in terms of growth response to moisture & temperature and dry matter production.