Botanical Name: Ischaemum rugosum
*Digastrium (Hack.) A.Camus
Common Names: Murainagrass, Mararo (as Lodha & Santal call it).
Habitat: Ischaemum rugosum is native to Southeast Asia.It grows on warm, humid regions near the equator, both wet and dry habitats; swamps, paddy fields, wet grasslands, plains, low hills.
western coastal Africa and Madagascar; Asia, from the Indian subcontinent through tropical Asia to Australia and the Pacific Islands; tropical South America, Central America, Mexico, West Indies, United States.
Ischaemum rugosum is usually an annual grass; culms 60 to 120 cm high, branched and purplish, erect or ascending; sheaths fairly loose, and pilose on margins near tips, densely soft-hairy on the nodes; ligule 1 to 7 mm, fused with the auricles; blades linear-lanceolate, sparingly pilose on both surfaces, 20 to 30 cm long and 9 to 12 mm wide; inflorescence in paired racemes 5 to 10 cm long, firmly adpressed together at the base but gradually separating, with one flat side each; spikelets 3 to 4.5 mm long, lower spikelet sessile, upper spikelet stalked, obtuse, awned; lower glume of sessile spikelet strongly transversely ribbed, hard, with a green, herbaceous, ovate tip, about 6 mm long, yellowish, keels unequally winged above, one keel of lower glume of stalked spikelet with a wide crescent shaped wing; awn 1.8 to 2.5 cm long, slender, spirally twisted in the lower half; seed 2.5 to 3 mm long, 1 mm wide, triangular in cross section, oblong, small tip (mucro), slightly concave near point of attachment. The species is easily recognized when in flower by the prominent transverse ribs or ridges on the lower glume of the spikelet. These are distinctive and can be seen with the naked eye. Also, the prominent spinal awns and the tufted hairy nodes of the culm are excellent diagnostic.
Edible Uses: Used as femine food.
Freshly prepared plant juice (ca. 35 ml) mixed with ‘Ada’ (rhizome of Zingiber officinale) paste (ca. 15 gm) is given to cattle to
cure diarrhoea by the Lodhas.
Known Hazards: Ischaemum rugosum is one of the most serious weeds in rice throughout its natural and introduced range. It is difficult to distinguish from rice prior to flowering, making it difficult to remove during hand-weeding. The grains may contaminate ricestocks.
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