Plant Species

We distinguish two main families of forage plants: Gramineae (= Poaceae) and Legumes (= Fabacea).

Gramineae: Grasses

Agrostis Tribe
Andropogoneae Tribe
Avena Tribe
Chloridae Tribe
Eragrostideae Tribe
Festuca Tribe
Hordeum Tribe
Maydeae Tribe: Maize Tribe
Panicoideae Tribe
Phalaridae Tribe
Stipeae Tribe
Zoysia Tribe

Leguminosae: Legumes

There are morphological characters allowing recognition of legume species at vegetative stage [lien vers Plants Morphogenesis]

Genisteae Tribe
Trifolius Tribe
Loteae Tribe
Galegeae Tribe
Hedysareae Tribe
Vicieae Tribe
Phaseolae Tribe

 Other Species

Choosing the Right Species

Main criteria in selecting species for planting a grassland: (Vignau-Loustau et Huyghe, 20081)):

  1. Intended lifetime of the grassland
  2. Soils and climate conditions
  3. Principal intended farming method
  4. Expected production period (spring, summer or fall).

The lifetime of species differs for grasses and legumes. In grasses, the alternate Italian ryegrass live less than a year while tall fescue may exceed six years. With regard to legumes, except for annual legumes, variations are also important: certain species such as red clover rarely survive two years whereas others, such as the white clover, live more than six years.

The lifetime is an aspect corresponding to an important functional trait (Lavorel et Garnier, 20022)) of plant species.

For the right choice of species and farming method, we should take into account a physiology of groundcover and plant morphogenesis. [Lien vers les deux pages]


Associated Pages
  • Plant Morphogenesis [lien vers la page]

Most descriptions of forage plants is issued from the study by Edmond Joseph Villax, La Culture des Plantes Fourragères dans la région méditerranéenne occidentale (1963).

1) Vignau-Loustau L., Huyghe C., 2008. Stratégies fourragères. Editions La France Agricole, 336 pages
2) Lavorel S, Garnier E., 2002. Predicting the effects of environmental changes on plant community composition and ecosystem functioning: revisiting the Holy Grail. Functional Ecology 16 : 545-56.

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