6 Plants in the Savanna (For 2021)

The Savanna is one of the challenging biomes for a plant’s survival. Thus, you can only find a few trees and bushes living in this environment. Due to its long dry seasons and minimal rain and water source, you may wonder which plants can survive in it.

So, what are the plants in the Savanna? You can generally find a variety of grasses in this biome. The six plants you’ll likely see in the Savanna are Elephant Grass, Bermuda Grass, Rhodes Grass, Red, Oats Grass, Lemon Grass, and Bluestem Grass.

If you notice, these plants are more of grass and bushes, unlike the typical plants you can find in the backyard or gardens. Due to Savanna’s climate and weather conditions, only these grasses can survive.

In this article, we’ll walk you through these plants or grasses and how they survive in the type of climate brought by the Savanna.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Elephant Grass

The first plant on the list is Elephant grass, and it’s common in many Savanna biomes. This plant is among the high-yielding plants in tropical regions.

It’s also noticeable due to its height, clumping on a bunch and reaching up to 10 feet in height.

The elephant grass is famous for many people who live in and near Savannas. They use it primarily for their animals. Thus, they usually gather this and allow it to dry up. Afterward, they feed it to the animals.

One thing to note is that this plant lives best in a wet environment. Still, it can survive the dryness of the Savanna.

Aside from the drought tolerance, this plant can also endure in harsh areas. For instance, it continues to out-compete every vegetation around.

Elephant Grass

Bermuda Grass

Bermuda is a familiar type of grass that you may see in some backyards. However, it can also survive amidst the harsh conditions of the Savanna biome.

This type of plant is famous for being a quick-growing one. It’s the fastest to grow, unlike any typical grasses suited in warm climates.

The thing about Bermuda grasses is that these plants are quite adept at surviving even in drought conditions. Thus, Bermuda grasses can survive even without a regular water source.

Bermuda grass in the backyard needs regular water to grow quicker, making it easy to maintain.

If it lives in Savanna, it can go dormant during drought periods. Such a dormancy usually turns it into dry brown grass, but still not dead. As it receives water, it will turn back to its original green color.

In short, this type of plant can tolerate drought for some time. However, in long periods, it can go dormant to survive in the Savanna.

In general, Bermuda grasses need around an inch to one and a half inches of rain or water source to survive.

Bermuda Grass

Rhodes Grass

The Rhodes grass is the type of tropical grass that can also withstand the climate in a Savanna. You can usually find such in both tropical and subtropical areas.

This plant is a robust build that can endure long dry seasons and minimal water sources.

The reason is that it can adapt to different kinds of soil. Thus, while it can survive in the fertile or rich ground, it can also remain alive even in dry or sandy soil.

This grass is also quite stoloniferous, and it’s naturally found in the Savannas of Africa. One thing to note is its leafy body. Its culms are creeping, and it sometimes roots deep beneath.

With roots reaching up to four and a half meters underground, it can reach water that comes in those levels. As a result, its survival against dry conditions is better than typical grasses.

Lastly, it makes good grass for many of the Savanna inhabitants. The herbivores that stay in this biome enjoy this grass as their food.

Rhodes Grass

Red Oats Grass

The next type of grass is the red oats grass, and it’s also known as kangaroo grass or as rooigras.

This one is the most common type of grass that you’ll see surviving in Africa’s grasslands. It has a tufted body of varying sizes. It can grow as short as 30 cm or can be as tall as 180 cm.

This type of grass is also good at living in drought-prone environments. Moreover, it can also survive fires because the ground protects its seeds.

In general, the seeds of this grass are 2.5 cm beneath the ground. Thus, even if its body can’t survive, the grass will.

The red oats grass can withstand harsh conditions and grows in typical areas as tropical grass. Thus, you can see one of the usual species in both tropical and subtropical types of Savannas.

Red Oats Grass

Lemon Grass

This type of grass is famous for being a well-used aromatic. In fact, you’ve likely used this in cooking your favorite dish at home. Still, it’s one of the plants that can live in Savannas.

The lemongrass is also known as citronella, and it gives that fresh lemon scent with a citrus flavor.

Aside from its scent, it’s a grass known to help in erosion control. With this grass, you can be sure that it won’t get uprooted by simple force brought by a random animal roaming around.

This type of grass also serves as food for Savanna inhabitants. Thus, it’s pretty valuable for the cycle of life around the environment.

This plant survives in Savannas due to its special guard cells. Such cells can control water consumption and storage. Moreover, it can also regulate gas exchange. For this reason, it can survive Savannas without any problem at all.

Lemon Grass

Bluestem Grass

The bluestem grass is the type of grass that you can find in Savannas. In general, you can notice such immediately since it’s the type that grows in a group or valuable for a bunch.

This plant is valuable to Savannas with American bison since it’s their typical food. It’s all because it’s the most prominent grass you can find.

The thing about this grass is it adapts to different environments. While it grows best in moist areas, it can also endure droughts.

In general, this grass survives in warm areas, and it can thrive even with a minimal amount of rain or water source.

Thus, it can survive the conditions of Savanna biomes without any problems.

Bluestem Grass


The plants in a Savanna biome can either be grass or a tree. Thus, if you ask for a plant, you will only get grass in most cases. In general, Savannas usually have six kinds of grass. The six plants you’ll likely see in the Savanna are Elephant Grass, Bermuda Grass, Rhodes Grass, Red, Oats Grass, Lemon Grass, and Bluestem Grass.

One thing to note is that all these types can endure long drought periods. While other plants can do well in moist areas, all of them can thrive amidst drought conditions.

Another similarity comes with their deep-situated roots. With such, they can absorb water at levels deeper than typical plants.

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Image credits – Canva

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I'm David, and safari has been my passion since I was a little boy - I grew up in South Africa. I love to help spread knowledge about safari, so let me know if you have any questions. Read more