Herbs & Plants

Echinochloa crus-galli

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Botanical Name : Echinochloa crus-galli
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Genus: Echinochloa
Species: E. crus-galli
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales

Synonyms : Panicum crus-galli

Common Names :Cockspur (or Cockspur Grass), Common Barnyard Grass, or simply “barnyard grass”

Habitat : Barnyard grass commonly occurs throughout tropical Asia and Africa in fields and along roadsides, ditches, along railway lines, and in disturbed areas such as gravel pits and dumps. It also invades riverbanks and the shores of lakes and ponds. It occurs in all agricultural regions. This species is considered an invasive species in North America where it occurs throughout the continental United States. It is also found in southern Canada from British Columbia east to Newfoundland. It was first spotted in the Great Lakes region in 1843

Echinochloa crus-galli is tufted annual, tall and often weedy, growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in) rather thick, branching at base.Leaves flat, glabrous, elongate, 30–50 cm long, 1–2 cm broad, scabrous, slightly thickened at margin; ligules absent; sheaths smooth, lower ones often reddish; panicle 8–30 cm long, green or purple, exerted, somewhat nodding, densely branched, the branches to 5 cm long, erect or ascending sessile;


Spikelets 3–4 mm long, densely arranged on branches, ovoid, awnless, but move often long-awned, pale green to dull purple, short-bristly along veins; racemes spreading, ascending or appressed, the lower somewhat distant, as much as 10 cm long, sometimes branched; glumes and lower lemma minutely hairy on surface with longer more rigid hairs on veins; first glume about two-fifths as long as spikelet, deltoid, the second as long as the spikelet, short-awned; sterile lemma membranous, with a straight scabrous awn, 2–4 cm long or awnless; fertile lemma ovate-elliptic, acute, pale yellow, lustrous, smooth, 3-3.5 mm long. Fl.

It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade.It requires moist soil.The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

An easily grown plant, it is adapted to nearly all types of wet places, and is often a common weed in paddy fields, roadsides, cultivated areas, and fallow fields. It succeeds on a variety of wet sites such as ditches, low areas in fertile croplands and wet wastes, often growing in water. It succeeds in cool regions, but is better adapted to areas where the average annual temperature is 14-16°C. Tolerant of most soil types, including saline conditions, plants are not restricted by soil pH. Prefers a rich moist soil but succeeds in ordinary garden soil. The sub-species E. crus-galli zelayensis (HBK)Hitchc. is often found growing wild in alkaline soils. The plant is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 31 to 250cm, an annual temperature range of 5.7 to 27.8°C and a pH in the range of 4.8 to 8.2. Barnyard millet is sometimes cultivated for its edible seed in India. It has a relatively long growing season and does not always ripen its seed in Britain, though it should do better in the eastern half of the country. The plant is considered to be a very serious weed of many cultivated crops.

Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. A sowing in situ in late spring might also succeed but is unlikely to ripen a crop of seed if the summer is cool and wet.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Coffee.

Seed – cooked. Used as a millet, it can be cooked whole or be ground into a flour before use. It has a good flavour and can be used in porridges, macaroni, dumplings etc. The seed is rather small, though fairly easy to harvest. It has a somewhat bitter flavour. Young shoots, stem tips and the heart of the culm – raw or cooked. A nutritional analysis is available. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute.

Composition :
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)
•0 Calories per 100g
•Water : 0%
•Protein: 7.4g; Fat: 2.9g; Carbohydrate: 81.1g; Fibre: 31.3g; Ash: 8.6g;
•Minerals – Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
•Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Medicinal Uses:
Styptic;  Tonic.

Reported to be preventative and tonic, barnyard grass is a folk remedy for treating carbuncles, haemorrhages, sores, spleen trouble, cancer and wounds. The shoots and/or the roots are applied as a styptic to wounds. The plant is a tonic, acting on the spleen.

Other Uses:
Soil reclamation.

The plant is sometimes used, especially in Egypt, for the reclamation of saline and alkaline areas.


Known Hazards : This grass has been reported to accumulate levels of nitrate in its tissues high enough to be toxic to farm animals. This problem is most likely to occur when plants are fed with inorganic fertilizers

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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