Common Nigerian Weeds & their Botanical Names


Weeds grow everywhere. However, there are some that are well known in this part of the world because of their ability to grow in tropical regions.

In this post, we’ve highlighted some of these common Nigerian weeds, their botanical names as well as their uses.

But before we do that, let’s take a look at some of the things weeds can be used for.

  • Weeds can be used to bring nutrients and water from deep within the soil to become available to microbes and plants
  • Weeds can also be used to break up hardpans and compaction, and control erosion
  • Weeds also increase the organic matter content of the soil as they grow and die
  • Weeds can serve as a way telling farmers about the nutritional balance of the soil through their presence or growth habit.
  • Weed also provide food for grazing animals

Common Nigerian Weeds & their Botanical Names

Now let’s take a look at the common Nigerian weeds.

nigerian weeds and botanical names

#1 Bahama grass (Cynodan dactylon)

Although this trailing grass is native to Europe, it also grows in parts of Africa like Nigeria. It has diverse applications. For instance, the grass has been linked to the treatment of diabetes and can also be used for constipation.

In case you‘re wondering how to use it for these ailments, below are te simple steps you need to take:

  • Wash it and cut into small pieces
  • Grind it in a mixer or pound with enough water
  • Extract the juice and drink it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and then you can have your breakfast after two hours

Also, the grass contains fiber, crude proteins, calcium, potash, and phosphorus which is quite useful for grazing animals.

#2 Wild sunflower (Aspilia africana)

The Wild Sun Flower is a kind of flowering plants in the Asteraceae family. The botanical name of the plant is Aspilia africana. It orginates from Latin America and can also be found in West Africa.

The plant has been use for numerous benefits over the years

  • It can be used as an abortifacient
  • It can also stop bleeding from fresh wounds by inhibiting microbial elements that are known to cause injury and accelerate wound healing
  • It has also been used in the treatment of rheumatic pains, bee and scorpion stings
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#3 Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum)

The botanical name of Elephant grass is Pennisetum purpureum. It is also known as Napier grass or Uganda grass.

The species has low nutrient and water requirements as a result as been adapted to tropical environment.

This species has been used for grazing in the past and it is currently used as a pest control strategy. This is done by planting the grass alongside the cultivated crop. The grass is effective in keeping stemborer moths away from maize.

Elephant grass also improves soil fertility and protects dry land from soil erosion. It can also be used for windbreaks and firebreaks.

It is also useful in paper manufacturing, biogas, bio-oil, and charcoal production.

#4 Carpet grass (Axonopus compressus)

This grass is a creeping, coarse-leaved grass. Typically, it grows better on wet soils unlike other grasses. Also, the grass is not very shade tolerant.

The botanical name for Carpet grass is Axonopus compressus. It is the best plant for erosion control and it can flourish in low fertility soils.

It is a perennial pasture grass. Interestingly, the thick sod of this grass can help crowd out other weeds. It can be used to beautify low maintenance areas like airports, roadside or parks.

#5 African Club Moss

The botanical name of African Club Moss is Selaginella kraussiana. It is also known as Selaginella.

The plant is native to Southern and tropical Africa. It is a small carpet forming plant with long fine roots and irregularly branched stem.

This weed can grow in a wide range of conditions; it can also tolerate hot, cold or deep shade conditions. The grass doesn’t need moist ground to thrive and it has the ability to shade out small seedlings. Also, it is commonly found on wet ground and it has an attractive appearance.

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#6 African Feather Grass

The botanical name of African feather grass is Cenchrus macrourus. It is also known as bedding grass or veld grass.

It is a perennial grass with deep fibrous roots and rhizomes. Also, it has tough, strongly ribbed leaves that are light green on top and darker green underneath.

The grass has round erect stems with many fine hairs that break off when touched and cause skin irritations. The weed is tolerant of many soil types and thrives well in hot or cold, drought, wind, salt, damage as well as grazing conditions.

#7 African Olive

The botanical name of African Olive is Olea europeaea of the family Oleaceae or the Olive family. This olive weed was originally from Europe but has adapted to the tropics like Africa

It is a dense bushy shrub or small tree with scaly young stems and bark that roughen as it matures.

The grass forms a dense canopy and produces many long-lived, well dispersed seeds. It can tolerate conditions like heat, cold, drought, wind, salt, damage, and moderate shade.

The grass grows predominantly in shrubland as well as bare land especially in coastal areas, and inshore islands.

#8 Buffalo grass

The botanical name is Stenotaphrum secundatum. It is from the Gramineae or grass family.

This weed originates from Tropical America and Africa. It is a dense, mat-forming, coarse perennial grass with long, stout, usually reddish stolons. Some grass species that are similar to buffalo grass include Axonopus affinis, Paspalum distichum, and Pennisetum clandestinum are all similar.

The grass tolerates both damp and drought conditions. It can also grow in hot, salty or windy condition. Grazing doesn’t significantly affect it however it is intolerant to shade. It is also often seen to crowd most plants and other weeds.

Buffalo grass can be found in disturbed shrubland, herbfield, bare land and coastal fringes, especially in warmer areas.

This grass produces uniform attractive turf and can be used in pasture or on ranches.

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