Submitted to: Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 30, 2001
Publication Date: April 1, 2001
Interpretive Summary: Eastern gamagrass, a perennial bunchgrass distantly related to maize, has been discussed in numerous informal and formal publications during the past two centuries. This grass has a great potential for use in forage production systems and a need exists to separate facts from fiction to present a clearer picture of the status of the grass through time. Accounts from the early eighteen hundreds claiming outlandish forage yield were shown to be based on calculations not measurements. During the last half of the twentieth century research was focused on germplasm collection, enhancement and evaluation and considerable progress was made which provided insight on the value of eastern gamagrass in forage production systems. This information should be of interest to agriculturist and to the forage and beef production industries.
Technical Abstract: Eastern gamagrass, Tripsacum dactyloides (L.)L., has been an important segment of agriculture from the days the bison roamed the great plains, during the search for the origin of corn, Zea mays spp mays, and corn improvement, and into the age of biotechnology and molecular biology. It is a native warm-season perennial bunchgrass which is useful for grazing, stored forage, and soil amelioration and conservation. A distant relative of corn, eastern gamagrass and other grasses in the tribe Andropogoneae have diverged beyond the norm of the grass family in specialized inflorescence structure. This is indicative of age or duration and/or rate of evolutionary change.