Botanical Name: Dactyloctenium aegyptium
Species: D. aegyptium
Common Names: Egyptian crowfoot grass,Beach wiregrass , Crowfoot grass
Vernacolar names: : Durban; Makerghas; Matshyam
Habitat:Dactyloctenium aegyptium is native in Africa. The plant mostly grows in heavy soils at damp sites. A widespread weed of open situations, grassland, open woodland, common by roadsides, on waste ground; a weed of arable land, in shallow soils and can withstand some salinity, at elevations from sea level to 2,100 metres.
Dactyloctenium aegyptium is an annual grass. This grass creeps and has a straight shoot which are usually about 30 centimeters tall.
Dactyloctenium aegyptium is still a traditional food plant used as a famine food in Africa, this little-known grain has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.Grains are used for preparation of country liquor by most of the tribals of Purulia district of West Bengal, India.
Seed – ground into a flour and cooked. The grains are lightly roasted in a hot pot in order to soften them. The grain is then pounded or ground into flour, which is cooked into thin porridge, or ugali to be eaten with vegetables
or meat. The seed is sometimes used as a food grain in times of scarcity in India and Africa but is said to have an unpleasant taste and to cause internal disorders. Individual seeds are about 1mm long.
The whole plant is used in a decoction to remedy lumbago.
An infusion of the leaves, mixed with the seeds of Cajanus cajan, is used to accelerate childbirth. A decoction of the leaves, combined with Scoparia dulcis, is used as a remedy for dysentery.
Grains of the plant are made into a paste with (ca. 10 ml) limewater to cure stomach-ache of children by the Lodhas.
Fresh grains are made into paste with ‘Handia’ (country liquor) is given to cure kidney stones by the Santals. Plant paste is used as
fish stupifier by the Asurs.
A plant of dry to moist tropical and subtropical areas, where it is found at elevations from sea level to 2,000 metres. It generally occurs in areas where the annual rainfall is in the range of 400 – 1,500 mm.
Adapted to soils of a wide range of textures. Particularly well suited to disturbed areas on light-textured soils. Tolerant of alkaline soils. Plants will not stand prolonged flooding. It is one of the most drought-resistant grasses because of its rapid growth and ability to produce seed each wet season, even if it is of short duration.
The plant colonizes disturbed soils and can become a weed – it is classified as ‘Invasive’ in many countries. Although a valuable forage, it can also be a troublesome weed of cultivation. Despite its preference for a habitat with light soils and low moisture, it has been reported to be an important weed in many countries in the humid tropics.
Propagation: Seed – surface sow in situ and protect the seed from predation by covering with branches or some other method
Known Hazards: The grass is rich in cyanogenetic glucosides at certain stages of growth times and, at that time, may be a danger to grazing stock.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.