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Useful Tropical Plants

Tripsacum dactyloides

(L.) L.

Poaceae

+ Synonyms

Coix angulata Mill.

Coix dactyloides L.

Dactylodes angulatum Kuntze

Dactylodes dactyloides (L.) Kuntze

Ischaemum glabrum Walter

Tripsacum bravum J.R.Gray

Tripsacum compressum E.Fourn.

Tripsacum floridanum Porter ex Vasey

Tripsacum monostachyon Willd.

Common Name: Sesame Grass

Tripsacum dactyloides
Cultivated plants
Photograph by: thesix
Creative Commons License
Tripsacum dactyloides Tripsacum dactyloides Tripsacum dactyloides Tripsacum dactyloides Tripsacum dactyloides Tripsacum dactyloides Tripsacum dactyloides

General Information

Sesame grass is an extremely variable, evergreen perennial, clump-forming grass. It has short, fibrous, knotty rhizomes and deep hollow roots, with culms that are usually 2 - 3 metres tall, occasionally to 4 metres, and 3 - 5cm in diameter. The plant produces prop-roots from the lower nodes[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
].
This species is currently (1992) under development as a potential perennial grain crop[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The seed has a very high protein content and this can be sacrificed to some extent in order to try and improve overall yields (these are quite low at present)[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The plant can be used in soil conservation projects and is often grown as an ornamental.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1908
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
,
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
274
Title
Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
Publication
 
Author
Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J
Website
http://artemis.austincollege.edu/acad/bio/gdiggs/NCTXpdf.htm
Publisher
Botanical Research Institute, Texas.
Year
1999
ISBN
1-889878-01-4
Description
An excellent flora, which is also available on-line.

Range

S. America - Guyanas; C. America - Costa Rica, Honduras; Caribbean - Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti; N. America - Mexico to Florida, to Massachusetts

Habitat

Swales, moist fields, woodland edges and shores[
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1908
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
]. Water courses and limestone outcrops[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height2.50 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Sesame grass can be found from the cold temperate zone right through to the tropics. It is usually found at elevations above 50 metres in the tropics, but descends to sea level in the temperate zone. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 10 - 24°c, but can tolerate 7 - 30°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. A fairly hardy plant, it can withstand quite severe frosts, though the top growth will be killed off and the plant will regrow when warmer weather returns[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The plant can survive temperatures as low as -30°c, but requires at least 140 frost free days per year for longer-term persistence[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
]. It grows best in areas with a mean annual rainfall between 900 - 1,500mm, but can tolerate down to 600mm if growing in a good soil[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
].
Prefers a position in full sun, tolerating part shade[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
]. The plant grows very well in shady locations near water[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
]. A very easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained soil but can tolerate poorly drained conditions with occasional, short-lived waterlogging[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
]. The plant can effectively penetrate clay pan layers with a clay contents of 30 - 50% clay, forming extensive root channels in the clay pan layer especially where it had been growing for more than 50 years[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
]. In a series of experiments conducted in greenhouses, the plant exhibited tolerance to low soil pH, high soil aluminum concentrations and high soil strength[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
]. Succeeds in a range of soils from sandy to clayey[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7.5[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
]. The plant has a dense root system extending to 4.5 metres deep, which gives it at least moderate drought tolerance, but it produces little growth in dry weather[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
].
Closely related to Tripsacum floridanum[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].
Bi-generic hybrids with Zea spp are known to occur[
162
Title
Ornamental Grasses.
Publication
 
Author
Grounds. R.
Publisher
Christopher Helm
Year
1989
ISBN
0-7470-1219-9
Description
Cultivation details of many of the grasses and bamboos. Well illustrated.
].

Edible Uses

Seed - cooked or ground into a flour[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The popped seed is almost indistinguishable from strawberry popcorn[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. Seeds contain about 27% protein, this is about 3 times the protein found in corn and twice that of wheat. It is also about twice as high in the amino acid methionine as corn[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant can be used in soil conservation projects[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
].
The plant has received considerable attention for use in vegetative barriers for soil erosion control because the crown has the capacity to elevate coarse aerial foliage above sediment deposition and to anchor the plant with stout brace roots[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Fresh seed has a high level of dormancy that can be broken by pre-chilling the seed at 5 - 10°c for 8 - 10 weeks[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
]. Seed should be placed 2 - 3 cm deep into a prepared seedbed, either broadcast, covered and rolled, or planted in 50 - 120cm rows, using a sowing rate of 5-10 kg/ha[
415
Title
Tropical Forages
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tropicalforages.info/key/Forages/Media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Mainly focussed on forage plants, the site gives a lot of information on the plant, with a good botanical description, details of cultivation, plant uses and a good selection of photographs.
].
Division. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

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