Résumé : Variation in silica content was examined in relation to foliar structure, chemical composition and anatomy of nine perennial tropical fodder grass species cultivated under uniform conditions. The following parameters were determined: silica (SiO2) and soluble ash (SA) in blades and sheaths; carbon, relative water content (RWC) and specific leaf area (SLA) of blades only. Proportions of different tissues were determined by image analysis of transverse sections of leaves. There was a large variation in SiO2 concentration among species (range 2.4 -13.6%). SiO2 and SA were positively correlated in blades and sheaths. All other traits also showed significant variation among species. The nine species also showed contrasting anatomy. A significant pattern of covariations existed between SLA, RWC and proportion of parenchyma. High SiO2 concentrations were generally associatedwith sclerophylly (i.e. a high proportion of vascular tissue and sclerenchyma, and a low (SLA and RWC). Therefore, the results did not support the hypothesis that SiO2 might represent an alternative mechanism of structural support without carbon cost. © 2011 EuroJournals Publishing, Inc.