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Useful Tropical Plants

Echinochloa stagnina

(Retz.) P.Beauv.

Poaceae

+ Synonyms

Echinochloa lelievrei (A.Chev.) Berhaut

Echinochloa oryzetorum (A.Chev.) A.Chev.

Echinochloa scabra (Lam.) Roem. & Schult.

Panicum burgu A.Chev.

Panicum galli Thunb.

Panicum lelievrei A.Chev.

Panicum oryzetorum (A.Chev.) A.Chev.

Panicum scabrum Lam.

Panicum stagninum Retz.

Common Name: Hippo Grass

Echinochloa stagnina
Fruiting stem
Photograph by: Tariq Stévart
Creative Commons License
Echinochloa stagnina Echinochloa stagnina Echinochloa stagnina Echinochloa stagnina

General Information

Hippo grass is a robust perennial grass with elongated rhizomes and decumbent or prostrate culms that are 30 - 200cm long, rooting from their lower nodes. The rhizomes are stout and often floating, bearing culms up to 2 metres high (though occasionally annual and weaker)[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].
The plant is claimed to be the most useful of all wild plants in the Timbuktu area of Mali, providing as well as food and drink, material for thatch; caulking for boats; and a vegetable salt which can be heated until it turns to a powder and then used in making soap and indigo dyes[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. The plant is sometimes cultivated, especially in India and the Niger area, as a low-yielding cereal[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. It is also sometimes grown in the Niger area for the sweet culms that are used to produce a sugary syrup and fermented beverages and for thatching[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

Tropical Africa - savannah areas from Mauritania to Somalia, south to S. Africa; E. Asia - Pakistan, India to Indonesia.

Habitat

Swamps and standing water, often forming floating mats[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. The grass is locally abundant, colonising marshes, and open standing water to form nearly pure stands[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. Found at elevations up to 2,300 metres[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height1.50 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Semi-cultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details



The plant invades rivers causing obstruction of the waterway. It is a major component of sudd in several African rivers. Its presence is indicative of fresh-water, rather than brackish. It is a weed of rice-fields in Madagascar and irrigation channels in The Gambia[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].
The plants are traditionally harvested using boats and by beating the inflorescences over a net. As the grains shatter easily, they are harvested at an early stage[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Edible Uses

The culms are sweet with a sugary sap that is said to contain 10% sucrose and 7 - 8% reducing sugars[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. Children suck the stems in order to obtain the juice[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. The sap is used to make a drink which is concentrated by boiling to produce a brown sugar sold in local shops, and more especially used in Timbuktu to make pastries and a sort of caramel[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. To obtain sugar, the harvested plants are traditionally dried in the sun, after which the leaves are burnt off. The stems are washed and ground, and sugar is extracted from them by filtrating with warm water[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The submerged rhizomes are particularly rich in sugar and the sweet sap is extracted to form an unfermented drink, but fermentation rapidly sets in resulting in a cider-like beverage, or if distilled to yield alcohol[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Seed - cooked. It can be ground into a powder and used as flour. It is mainly used in times of shortage[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. The grass, in fact, closely resembles wild rice and, because it shatters too easily, the panicles are reaped early and dried on a suitable winnowing platform[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

The plant can be burnt to produce a 'salt'[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

The Niger River flood-plain is a recognised locust nursery area, the hoppers growing on the bare soil between tufts of grass exposed after the flood-waters have retreated. Very large areas, especially south of Lake Debo, are covered with pure stands of this species of grass which when the waters have receded is laid and provides excellent pasturage. Trampling, grazing and later firing to promote regrowth leave the soil bare on which locust eggs are laid. Other areas of lesser inundation have admixtures of other grasses which tend to be tufted and thus anyhow have bare ground between the tufts, 20 - 50% of the ground being bare. Oryza barthii, a wild rice, is one that harbours such hoppers. If all the land could be clothed with E. Stagnina and grazing and firing restricted so as not to expose the soil locust egg-laying might be inhibited[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Other Uses

The culms are used for thatching and for weaving into mats[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].

The salt obtained from burning the plant is used in making soap and as a mordant in indigo dyes[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Propagation

Seed - when stored under water in the dark at a temperature of 20°c they showed no dormancy and had a germination percentage of almost 100%; whereas seeds kept under dry conditions had a dormancy period of 6 - 7 months[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The dormancy is broken by removing the glumes, but this results in rapidly reduced viability[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Seeds germinate within a week after sowing[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Stem cuttings[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Division[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

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