Digitaria horizontalis Willd.
  • Enum. Pl.: 92 (1809) 

Notes: Distribution: Trop. & Subtrop.America, Cape Verde, W. & WC. Trop. Africa

General Description

Annual, from 1 to several ft. high. Culms tufted, ascending from a geniculate or more or less prostrate, sometimes rooting, branched base, slender, glabrous, few- to many-noded, the uppermost internode usually very long and long-exserted. Leaves glabrous or more or less hairy (particularly on the sheaths), hairs short or long and then usually spreading; sheaths somewhat loose, thin, the lower often slipping off the culms and finally withering away; ligules membranous, truncate, up to 1 lin. long, glabrous; blades linear-lanceolate to linear, equally wide and slightly rounded at or somewhat narrowed towards the base, tapering to an acute point, 2–5 in. by 2–6 lin., flat, flaccid, with a finely cartilaginous scaberulous and not seldom crisp margin, midrib very slender, prominent and pale below, primary lateral nerves very fine, up to over 6 on each side. Racemes 4 to many, subdigitate or on an angular common axis of variable length (1 to several in. long), solitary or the lower subverticillate, erect or spreading, slender, straight or almost so, rarely flexuous, 1 1/2–6 in. long, usually finely pubescent or bearded at the base; rhachis slender, straight or slightly wavy, triquetrous, 1/4– 1/8 lin. wide, often with a few scattered very fine and very long spreading hairs, pale, angles narrowly winged, scabrid, internodes up to 1 1/2 lin. long, rarely longer; pedicels 2-nate, one very short, the other up to 3/4 lin. long, triquetrous, scabrid. Spikelets appressed, not or only indistinctly imbricate, linear-oblong, acute, 3/4–1 lin. long, pale green, usually apparently glabrous, at least when in flower. Lower glume a very minute ovate or truncate membranous scale, often quite obsolete; upper lanceolate-oblong to oblong, obtuse or subacute, equalling 1/2– 4/5 of the upper floret, thin, 3-nerved, with lines of silky hairs between the nerves and along the margins. Lower floret: valve of the outline and size of the spikelet, 7-nerved, with lines of hairs between the inner pair of side-nerves and along the margins, hairs extremely fine, silky, thin-walled, obtuse but not widened at the tips, straight or nearly so, closely appressed at first, the marginal often spreading at maturity, 1/5 lin. long; valvule and lodicules microscopic. Upper floret linear-lanceolate, acuminate, at length brown; thinly chartaceous, margins of valve distant at maturity. Anthers 2/5 lin. long. Grain oblong, 3/4 lin. by 1/4 lin., pale, subplano-convex; scutellum elliptic, almost half the length of the grain.

Creeping or ascending annual 30–60 cm. high; waste places.

annual; culms ascending from a geniculate or more or less prostrate, sometimes rooting, branched base, slender, 1 to several ft. long, glabrous, few to many-noded, upper internode by far the longest; leaves glabrous or hairy; sheaths thin, the lower withering; ligules very short; blades linear-lanceolate to linear, acute or gradually tapering from below the middle, 2–5 in. by 2–4 lin. (in the South African specimens), flat, flaccid, margins scabrid; Racemes 4- to many, subdigitate or on an angular common axis of variable length (1 to several in. long), singly or the lower subverticillate, erect or spreading, slender, strict, 1 1/2–6 in. long, usually villous or bearded at the base, often with a few scattered stiff long very fine hairs from the common axis; rhachis very narrow, usually wavy, triquetrous, lateral angles more or less winged, scabrid, internodes about 1 1/2 lin. long (in the South African specimens) or longer; pedicels 2-nate, one very short, the other up to 3/4 lin. long, triquetrous, scabrid; Spikelets linear-oblong, acute, 3/4–1 lin. long, greenish; lower glume extremely minute or suppressed, upper lanceolate-oblong, equalling 1/2– 4/5 of the upper valve, 3-nerved with lines of extremely fine adpressed silky hairs between the nerves and along the margins or with the marginal hairs spreading; valves equal or subequal, lower prominently and closely 7-nerved, with lines of extremely fine adpressed silky hairs between the outer nerves and along the margins or with the marginal hairs spreading; upper valve subchartaceous, acute, pale-greenish.


waste places.


German East Africa Tanga, Volkens, 79! Marangu, Volkens, 643! Amboni, Holst, 2774!

Portuguese East Africa Msalue River, Allen, 137!

Port. G.: Piche (Sept.) Pereira 3174!

Congo Lower Congo, Smith ! Boma, Hens, A. 326! Stanley Pool District; Mokaba, Vanderyst, 3892! Leopoldville, Gillet !

Liberia Grand Bassa, Vogel, 27!

Lib.: Bushrod I. (Apr.) Barker 1291! Du R. (Aug.) Linder 223! Monrovia (May) Baldwin 5819! Ganta (July) Harley 1809! Gretown (July) Baldwin 6795!

N. Nig.: Ilorin (Oct.) Ward 45! Lokoja Richardson! Abinsi Dalz. 880! Acharane F.R., Kabba Prov. (June) J. K. Jackson 5163!

Cameroons Victoria, Winkler, 53! Lolodorf, Staudt, 203! Batanga, in cassava fields and open bush, Bates, 48! and without precise locality, Preuss, 1152!

U. Volta: Banfora (July) Scholz 34! Ouagadougou (July) Scholz 34b!

W. Cam.: Buea (July, Oct.) Migeod 90! Maitland 3! 24! 203! Bamenda to Buli (Mar.) Brunt 1084!

Somaliland Golis Range, Drake-Brockman, 157! around Galkayo, Burao and Upper Sheikh, Appleton ! Wagga Mountains, Lort Phillips !

Nyasaland dried-up bed of Karonga River, Scott ! Namasi, Cameron, 19! near Blantyre, Scott !

Rhodesia Umtali, Sawer, 25! Gazaland; near Chirinda, Swynnerton, 964!

S. Nig.: Lagos W. MacGregor 6! Ibadan (Nov.) Meikle 658! Okomu F.R. (Dec.) Brenan 8623! Umuahia (July) Jones FHI 6214! Opobo (Oct.) Jeffreys 8!

Nubia 21° N. Lat., sea coast to between 3000 and 4000 ft., Bent !

Guin.: Baffing R. Pobéguin 1705bis! Kouroussa (July) Pobéguin 549! Kindia Jac.-Fél. 261!

Nigeria Lokoja, Richardson ! Nupe, about villages, Barter, 1365! Abinsi, Dalziel, 880! Amar on the Benue River, Macleod !

Angola Golungo Alto, in woody meadows near Bumbo and Sanga, Welwitsch, 7184! in cotton fields near Sange, Welwitsch, 7173! Benguella; Fort Princeza Amelia, Gossweiler, 2010! Cazengo, Gossweiler, 5739!

Gaboon Thollon !

Nigeria Opobo, Jeffreys, 6! 8! Lagos; Komaiko, Dawodu, 16! MacGregor, 6! Abbeokuta, Irving, 22! Aguku District, Thomas, 748! Old Calabar, Robb! Holland, 96! and without precise locality, Thomas, A7! 1370!

F. Po: Clarence Peak (Oct.) T. Vogel!

Fernando Po Clarence Peak, Vogel !

Gam.: Sankuli-Kunda (Sept.) Pirie 8! Yundum Ashrif 33!

Iv. C.: Mbrabo (Jan.) Hédin! Tonkoui (Aug.) Boughey GC 18324! Lamé, Abidjan (Oct.) Leeuwenberg 1738! Cocody (June) Adjanohoun 416a! Gagnoa (Aug.) Boughey GC 14647!

Sen.: Perrottet 909! Kafountine (Sept.) Adam 18174!

Ghana: Achimota, Accra (Apr.) Ankrah GC 20117! Damongo (Sept.) Rose Innes GC 30197! Mampong (Oct.) Baldwin 13532! Half Assinie (Dec.) Rose Innes GC 30542! Aburi (Apr.) Johnson 1010!

Uganda Ruwenzori, 5300 ft., Scott Elliott, 7592! Coffee plantations near Kirrema, 4000 ft., Dummer, 347! and without precise locality, Grant ! Lugard !

Congo Libreville, Thollon, 179!

S. L.: Mabum (Aug.) Thomas 1545! Royanka (Sept.) Melville & Hooker 638! Rokupr (June) Jordan 274! Makump (Aug.) Deighton 1366! Musaia (Apr.) Deighton 5457!

French Guinea Timbo, Pobéguin, 1703! 1705! Kouroussa, Pobéguin, 498! 549!

South Africa Transkei; banks of the Bashee River, below 1000 ft., {i}Drège!{/i} Tembuland; Bazeia, 2000 ft., {i}Baur{/i}, 177! Natal; near Durban, {i}Drège! Williamson{/i}, 27! Umpumulo, {i}Buchanan{/i}, 202! 204!

Eritrea Amasen; Gheleb, 5250 ft., Schweinfurth, 1180! Ginda, 2950 ft., Schweinfurth, 157, 180, and numerous localities throughout the Colony (up to 8500 ft. in Ocule Cusai) recorded by Chiovenda, l.c.

Zanzibar Kirk ! Last !

British East Africa Ukambane, Scott Elliot, 2316, 6414! Kuiani, Scott Elliot, 6209! Nairobi, Dowson, 187! Linton, 1! Ndara; Taita Mountains, in acacia scrub, Gregory ! Ngomeni; E. Angalora Mountains, Gregory !

Senegal Doellinger ! Leprieur !

Sudan Sennar; opposite Bunzaga, Broun, 801!

Abyssinia Tigre; Adoa, Schimper, 85! Hamedo plain, 4600–6000 ft., Schimper, 988! Sana; banks of the Taccazze near Jelajeranne, Schimper, 1618! Samen; banks of the Sellada stream and on mountains near Gageros, 3400–7000 ft., Schimper, 2256! and without precise locality, Schimper, 53! 180! 509! 910 (partly)!

Sierra Leone Sandugu, Thomas, 566! Rowala, Thomas, 1115! Mabum, Thomas, 1545! Sherbro Island, Hunter ! and without precise locality, Don ! Vogel, 68! Barter ! Welwitsch, 2943!

Togo Lome, Warnecke, 340!

Togo Rep.: Lomé Warnecke 340! Palime Stage 57!

Cape Verde S. Antão, Lowe ! Vogel, 57! 65! S. Jago, Brunner, 221! valley of S. Domingo, Hooker, 86! 87! Wilkes Exped. ! S. Nicolao, Bolle ! up to 2000 ft., Lowe ! S. Vincent, Cunningham !

Gold Coast Aburi, Johnson, 831! 1010! and without precise locality, Farmar, 486!

Socotra Balfour, 128! 234!

Dahomey Cotonou, Chevalier, 4477!

Dah.: Sémé (Sept.) Adjanohoun 531! Cotonou (July) Chev. 4477!


Enum. Hort. Berol. 92.

Enum. Hort. Berol. 92 (1809); F.T.A. 9: 436; Henr. l.c. 329; Chev. Bot. 732, and in Rev. Bot. Appliq. 13: 879.

Enum. Pl. Hort. Berol. 1809, 92

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
  • Introduced distribution
Found in
  • Africa Macaronesia Cape Verde
  • West Tropical Africa Benin
  • Burkina
  • Gambia, The
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Ivory Coast
  • Liberia
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Togo
  • West-Central Tropical Africa Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Congo
  • Gabon
  • Gulf of Guinea Is.
  • Zaire
  • Northern America Mexico Mexico Central
  • Mexico Gulf
  • Mexico Northeast
  • Mexico Northwest
  • Mexico Southeast
  • Mexico Southwest
  • Southeastern U.S.A. Florida
  • Southern America Brazil Brazil North
  • Brazil Northeast
  • Brazil South
  • Brazil Southeast
  • Brazil West-Central
  • Caribbean Bahamas
  • Cayman Is.
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Leeward Is.
  • Puerto Rico
  • Trinidad-Tobago
  • Turks-Caicos Is.
  • Venezuelan Antilles
  • Windward Is.
  • Central America Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panamá
  • Northern South America French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela
  • Southern South America Argentina Northeast
  • Argentina Northwest
  • Paraguay
  • Western South America Bolivia
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Galápagos
  • Peru
Introduced into
  • Africa Western Indian Ocean Aldabra
  • Chagos Archipelago
  • Madagascar
  • Mauritius
  • Seychelles
  • Asia-Temperate Caucasus North Caucasus
  • Transcaucasus
  • Asia-Tropical Indo-China Myanmar
  • Vietnam
  • Northern America Southeastern U.S.A. Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • South Carolina
  • Pacific North-Central Pacific Hawaii
  • South-Central Pacific Marquesas
  • Society Is.
  • Southwestern Pacific Samoa
  • Tonga


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 Information From

Flora of Tropical Africa
Flora of Tropical Africa. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/efloras/
Flora of West Tropical Africa
Flora of West Tropical Africa. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/efloras/
Flora Capensis
Flora Capensis. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/efloras/
WCS higher taxonomy
  • D All Rights Reserved
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/ Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • E See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.