Kikuyu Grass (Pennisetum clandestinum): Recognising Kikuyu Grass
  • Kikuyu is a common lawn and pasture grass grown throughout South Africa in gardens and on cattle farms and sport fields.
  • It is bright green with creeping rhizomes and leafy runners, which root from the nodes and form a dense mat of grass.








Kikuyu Grass (Pennisetum clandestinum): From introduction to invasion
  • Kikuyu Grass comes from tropical eastern Africa, and is named after the Kikuyu people of Kenya.
  • It was brought to South Africa as a lawn and pasture grass.
  • It is an aggressive invader of pastures, crop lands and natural areas, especially moist coastal areas, streams and wetlands.
  • It spreads rapidly by producing long rhizomes and runners. It also
    produces chemicals that kill other plants nearby.
  • Kikuyu threatens the natural vegetation by smothering it.
  • Kikuyu grows most actively in Summer. It is therefore not a water-wise lawn for the Western Cape as it needs to be watered regularly during the dry Summer months when we often have water restrictions.






Kikuyu Grass (Pennisetum clandestinum): Controlling Kikuyu
Kikuyu grass invading in the Uitkamp Wetland Reserve
  • Kikuyu is very hard to remove because if any runners are left behind they will start growing again.
  • It is best to poison Kikuyu with herbicide before digging it out. Apply herbicide during the Summer growing season.
  • Prevent Kikuyu from spreading by not dumping garden refuse containing grass runners in open spaces (e.g. empty plots, roadsides, drains, natural areas).








Kikuyu Grass (Pennisetum clandestinum)
Terrestrial plants:      Aquatic plants Terrestrial animals: Aquatic animals
Kikuyu Grass Water Hyacinth Argentine Ant Largemouth Black Bass
Port Jackson Willow Parrot's Feather European Starling Common Carp
Rooikrans Spanish Reed Feral Cat European Mallard