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Grass in a tropical park

I went for a walk in a park yesterday. In the first 30 meters, I saw four grasses. These are common grasses to find in parks in Southeast Asia. I took a photo of each grass from above, with a 1 yen coin as a size reference, and also a photo of the typical inflorescence of each species. With a little practice, one can identify these grasses with ease by looking at the foliage and inflorescence.

These grasses are:

  • manilagrass (Zoysia matrella 'nuan noi')
  • tropical carpetgrass (Axonopus compressus)
  • golden false beardgrass (Chrysopogon aciculatus)
  • sour paspalum (Paspalum conjugatum)


This is manilagrass. Well, mostly manilagrass. There is a plant of tropical carpetgrass in there too.

image from farm5.staticflickr.com

The inflorescence with the white flowers is typical for manilagrass. In Southeast Asia, one can usually find the inflorescence in unmown and well-irrigated manilagrass at any time of year.

manilagrass at a park in Thailand

tropical carpetgrass

This is tropical carpetgrass. The first place I would look for tropical carpetgrass is under trees. This grass is prolific in shade. Tropical carpetgrass has shiny leaves.

lawn of (mostly) tropical carpetgrass

This is the typical inflorescence of tropical carpetgrass.

infloresence of tropical carpetgrass

golden false beardgrass

Chrysopogon aciculatus has shiny leaves, like tropical carpetgrass, but the leaves are narrower and shorter.

lawn of mostly Chrysopogon aciculatus

This grass is also recognized easily by its distinctive inflorescence.

inflorescence of Chrysopogon aciculatus

sour paspalum

The leaf width of sour paspalum is similar to tropical carpetgrass, but sour paspalum leaves are pale yellow by comparison, and not shiny.

lawn of (mostly) Paspalum conjugatum

The inflorescence of sour paspalum is also distinct.

inflorescence of Paspalum conjugatum

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