Tag Archives: Poaceae

Anthoxanthum odoratum

Botanical Name: Anthoxanthum odoratum
Family
Poaceae
Genus:
Anthoxanthum
Species:
A. odoratum
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Poales

Common Names: Sweet vernal grass, Holy grass, Vanilla grass or Buffalo grass

Habitat : Anthoxanthum odoratum grass found wild in acidic grasslands in Eurasia.  It is also grown as a lawn grass and a house plant, due to its sweet scent, and can also be found on unimproved pastures and meadows. Odoratum is Latin for “smell as well”. It does not grow well in very dry or waterlogged soil

Description:
Anthoxanthum odoratum  is a perennial  grass plant. It can grow up to 100 cm.  The stems are 25–40 centimetres (9.8–15.7 in) tall, with short but broad green leaves 3–5 millimetres (0.12–0.20 in) wide, which are slightly hairy. It flowers from April until June, i.e. quite early in the season, with flower spikes of 4–6 centimetres (1.6–2.4 in) long and crowded spikelets of 6–10 millimetres (0.24–0.39 in), oblong shaped, which can be quite dark when young. The lower lemmas have projecting awns.

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The ligules are quite long, up to 5mm, blunt, with hairy fringes around the side.

The scent is particularly strong when dried, and is due to coumarin, a glycoside, and benzoic acid – it smells like fresh hay with a hint of vanilla. The seed head is bright yellow in colour.
The Sweet-scented Vernal Grass – with yellow anthers, not purple, as so many other grasses – gives its characteristic odour to newly-mown meadow hay, and has a pleasant aroma of Woodruff. It is, however, specially provocative of hay fever and hay asthma. The flowers contain Coumarin, the same substance that is present in the Melilot flowers, and the volatile pollen impregnates the atmosphere in early summer, causing much distress to hay-fever subjects. The sweet perfume is due chiefly to benzoic acid.

Cultivation:
It is grown by scattering seed on tilled ground in the spring through fall, germinating in 4 to 5 days. It prefers sandy loam and acidic conditions (a low pH).
Succeeds in most soils. Dislikes shade. This is one of the earliest grasses to flower in the year, it produces a lot of pollen and is a major irritant to people who suffer from hay fever. The dried plant releases a strong and persistent fragrance with a refreshing pungent smell that is difficult to describe but is somewhat like newly-mown hay.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April in situ, only just covering the seed. The seed usually germinates in 2 – 3 weeks. Division in spring. Very easy, it can be done successfully at almost any time of the year, though it is best to pot up the divisions in a cold frame if you are doing it outside the growing season.

Edible Uses:
Seed. The seed is very small and its use would be fiddly. A tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. A sweet pleasant fragrance. Some caution is advised, see notes at top of the page.

Parts uses in medicine: The flower.
Medicinal Uses:

The whole plant, and especially the flowering stems, is anticoagulant, antispasmodic and stimulant.   It is normally only applied externally, where it is used in the treatment of rheumatic pain, chilblains, nervous insomnia etc. It is said that a tincture made from this grass with spirit of wine is an effective and immediate cure for hay fever.

A medicinal tincture is made from this grass with spirit of wine, and it said that if poured into the open hand and sniffed well into the nose, almost immediate relief is afforded during an attack of hay fever. It is recommended that 3 or 4 drops of the tincture be at the same time taken as a dose with water, repeated if required, at intervals of twenty to thirty minutes.
Other Uses:
Basketry; Pot-pourri; Strewing.

The aromatic leaves and dried flowers are used as a strewing herb, they are also woven into baskets and used in pot-pourri. The plant contains coumarin – this is used medicinally and also in rat poisons where it prevents the blood from co-aggulating and thus means that the slightest cut can kill the rat.
Known Hazards : The plant contains coumarins, this is what gives it the scent of newly mown hay. When used internally, especially from dried plants, it can act to prevent the blood from co-aggulating.
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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthoxanthum_odoratum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/g/grasse34.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Anthoxanthum+odoratum

 

Vetiver Grass

Botanical Name :Chrysopogon zizanioides
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Chrysopogon
Species: C. zizanioides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Synonyms: Vetiveria zizanioides, Phalaris, Anatherum zizanioides,Andropogon odoratus,Andropogon zizanioides.Phalaris zizanioides,Vetiveria zizanioides

Common Name : Vetiver Grass,khus(In western and northern India, it is popularly known as khus.)

Habitat :Vetiver Grass is  native to India.Though it originates in India, vetiver grass is widely cultivated in the tropical regions of the world. The world’s major producers include Haiti, India, Java, and Réunion.

Description:
Vetiver Grass  is a perennial evergreen grass of the Poaceae family.The grass has a gregarious habit and grows in bunches.
Vetiver grass can grow up to 1.5 metres high and form clumps as wide. The stems are tall and the leaves are long, thin, and rather rigid. It has infrequent blooming time. The flowers are brownish-purple. Unlike most grasses, which form horizontally spreading, mat-like root systems, vetiver’s roots grow downward, 2–4 m in depth.  Shoots growing from the underground crown make the plant frost- and fire-resistant, and allow it to survive heavy grazing pressure. The leaves can become up to 120–150 cm long and 0.8 cm wide. The panicles are 15–30 centimeters long and have whorled, 2.5–5.0 centimeters long branches. The spikelets are in pairs, and there are three stamens.

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The plant stems are erect and stiff. They can persist deep water flow. Under clear water, the plant can survive up to two months.

The root system of vetiver is finely structured and very strong. It can grow 3–4 m deep within the first year. Vetiver has no stolons nor rhizomes. Because of all these characteristics, the vetiver plant is highly drought-tolerant and can help to protect soil against sheet erosion. In case of sediment deposition, new roots can grow out of buried nodes.

Vetiver is most closely related to Sorghum but shares many morphological characteristics with other fragrant grasses, such as lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), citronella (Cymbopogon nardus, C. winterianus), and palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii).The most commonly used commercial genotypes of vetiver are sterile (do not produce fertile seeds), and because vetiver propagates itself by small offsets instead of underground stolons, these genotypes are noninvasive and can easily be controlled by cultivation of the soil at the boundary of the hedge. However, care must be taken, because fertile genotypes of vetiver have become invasive. Vegetatively propagated, almost all vetiver grown worldwide for perfumery, agriculture, and bioengineering has been shown by DNA fingerprinting to be essentially the same nonfertile cultigen (called ‘Sunshine’ in the United States, after the town of Sunshine, Louisiana).

Edible Uses:
Vetiver grass  is  used as a flavoring agent, usually through khus syrup. Khus syrup is made by adding khus essence to sugar, water and citric acid syrup. Khus Essence is a dark green thick syrup made from the roots of khus grass(vetiver grass). It has a woodsy taste and a scent prominent to khus.

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click to see:Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) essential oil in a clear glass vial

The syrup is used to flavor milkshakes and yogurt drinks like lassi, but can also be used in ice creams, mixed beverages like Shirley Temples and as a dessert topping. Khus syrup does not need to be refrigerated, although khus flavored products may need to be.

Medicinal Uses:
Vetiver grass has been used in traditional medicine in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and West Africa.Old Tamil literature mentions the use of vetiver for medical purposes.

Other Uses:
Vetiver grass is grown for many different purposes. The plant helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion, but it can also protect fields against pests and weeds. Vetiver has favourable qualities for animal feed. From the roots, oil is extracted and used for cosmetics and aromatherapy. Due to its fibrous properties, the plant can also be used for handicrafts, ropes and more.

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Soil and water conservation:
Several aspects of vetiver make it an excellent erosion control plant in warmer climates. Unlike most grasses, it does not form a horizontal mat of roots; rather, the roots grow almost exclusively downward, 2–4 m, which is deeper than some tree roots. This makes vetiver an excellent stabilizing hedge for stream banks, terraces, and rice paddies, and protects soil from sheet erosion. The roots bind to the soil, therefore it can not dislodge. Vetiver has also been used to stabilize railway cuttings/embankments in geologically challenging situations in an attempt to prevent mudslides and rockfalls, the Konkan railway in Western India being an example. The plant also penetrates and loosens compacted soils.

 

Runoff mitigation and water conservation:
The close-growing culms also help to block the runoff of surface water. It slows water’s flow velocity and thus increases the amount absorbed by the soil (infiltration). It can withstand a flow velocity up to 5 metres per second (16 ft/s).

Vetiver mulch increases water infiltration and reduces evaporation, thus protects soil moisture under hot and dry conditions. The mulch also protects against splash erosion.

Crop protection:
Vetiver can be used for crop protection. It attracts pests, such as the stem borer (Chilo partellus), which lay their eggs preferably on vetiver. Due to the hairy architecture of vetiver, the larvae can not move on the leaves, fall to the ground and die.

As a mulch, vetiver is used for weed control in coffee, cocoa and tea plantations. It builds a barrier in the form of a thick mat. When the mulch breaks down, soil organic matter is built up and additional nutrients for crops become available.

Animal feed:
The leaves of vetiver are a useful byproduct to feed cattle, goats, sheep and horses. The nutritional content depends on season, growth stage and soil fertility. Under most climates, nutritional values and yields are best if vetiver is cut every 1–3 months.

In-house uses;
In the Indian Subcontinent, khus (vetiver roots) is often used to replace the straw or wood shaving pads in evaporative coolers. When cool water runs for months over wood shavings in evaporative cooler padding, they tend to accumulate algae, bacteria and other microorganisms. This causes the cooler to emit a fishy or seaweed smell into the house. Vetiver root padding counteracts this smell. A cheaper alternative is to add vetiver cooler perfume or even pure khus attar to the tank. Another advantage is that they do not catch fire as easily as dry wood shavings.

Mats made by weaving vetiver roots and binding them with ropes or cords are used in India to cool rooms in a house during summer. The mats are typically hung in a doorway and kept moist by spraying with water periodically; they cool the passing air, as well as emitting a refreshing aroma.[citation needed]

In the hot summer months in India, sometimes a muslin sachet of vetiver roots is tossed into the earthen pot that keeps a household’s drinking water cool. Like a bouquet garni, the bundle lends distinctive flavor and aroma to the water. Khus-scented syrups are also sold.

Fuel cleaning:
A recent study found the plant is capable of growing in fuel-contaminated soil. In addition, the study discovered the plant is also able to clean the soil, so in the end, it is almost fuel-free.

Vetiver grass is used as roof thatch (it lasts longer than other materials), mud brick-making for housing construction (such bricks have lower thermal conductivity), strings and ropes and ornamentals (for the light purple flowers).

Garlands made of vettiver grass is used to adorn The dancing god nataraja in the Hindu temples.

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysopogon_zizanioides
http://www.smgrowers.com/products/plants/plantdisplay.asp?plant_id=3690
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/83630/

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Echinochloa crus-galli

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

Description:
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;

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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.

Cultivation:
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.

Propagation:
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.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echinochloa_crus-galli
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Echinochloa+crus-galli

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Foxtail barley

Botanical Name ; Hordeum jubatum
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Hordeum
Species: H.
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales

Common Names :    Foxtail barley, Bobtail barley, Squirreltail barley, and Intermediate barley,

Habitat :Hordeum jubatum is found in   most areas of N. America to Siberia. An occasional casual in Britain. Grows on grassy bushy places below 2500 metres in California. However, as it escaped often from gardens it can be found worldwide in areas with temperate to warm climates, and is considered a weed in many countries.

Description:
Hordeum jubatum is a short-lived, perennial bunchgrass without rhizomes, growing 1 to 2 feet tall. It starts growth in late April to May, matures June to August, and reproduces from seeds and tillers.It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower in June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.
..You may click to see the picture.
Seedhead:Nodding, bristly spike up to four inches long; readily breaks apart when mature; three spikelets per rachis node; center spikelet has a single, fertile floret and outside spikelets are small, empty, pedicelled; glumes and lemmas with rough awns up to two inches long, thus the bristly appearance.

Leaves: Glabrous or lower sheaths sometimes pubescent; blades flat, up to 3/8 inches wide and 5 inches long with raised veins on the upper surface; leaves rolled in the bud; ligules short, membranous and collar-shaped; auricles absent.

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. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation :
Prefers a rather dry soil and a sunny position. Succeeds in most soils and in climates ranging from sub-arctic to sub-tropical. Easily grown in light soils. Established plants are drought resistant. A very short-lived plant, it is often only an annual, though it often self sows a little.

Propagation:
Seed – sow in situ in March or October and only just cover the seed. Make sure the soil surface does not dry out if the weather is dry. Germination takes place within 2 weeks. Division in spring. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Seed.

Edible Uses: Coffee.

Seed – raw or cooked. The seed can be ground into a flour and used as a cereal in making bread, porridge etc. Native North Americans would eat the dry flour raw. The seed is exceedingly small and fiddly to use. The roasted seed is used as a coffee substitute.

Medicinal Uses:
The dry root can be wrapped, then moistened and used as a compress for styes in the eyes or on swollen eyelids.

Known Hazards : The barbed awns around the seeds can work their way into the gums and digestive tract of animals when the seed is eaten, causing irritation and inflammation. They can also work their way into the ears and eyes, sometimes causing blindness and even death.

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.

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Hordeum+jubatum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hordeum_jubatum
http://extension.usu.edu/range/Grasses/foxtailbarley.htm
http://www.growsonyou.com/plant/slideshow/Hordeum_jubatum/31650

Sorghum halepenese

Botanical Name : Sorghum halepenese
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Sorghum
Species: S. halepense
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales

Common names : Johnson grass,Johnsongrass, Aleppo grass, Aleppo milletgrass

Habitat :Sorghum halepenese  is native to the Mediterranean region, but growing throughout Europe and the Middle East

Description:
Johnsongrass is a tall (up to 8 ft. [2.4 m]), rhizomatous, perennial grass that invades open areas throughout the United States. The 2 ft. (0.6 m) long, lanceolate leaves are arranged alternately along a stout, hairless, somewhat upward branching stem and have distinct, white midribs. Flowers occur in a loose, spreading, purplish panicle. Johnsongrass is adapted to a wide variety of habitats including open forests, old fields, ditches and wetlands. It spreads aggressively and can form dense colonies which displace native vegetation and restrict tree seedling establishment. Johnsongrass has naturalized throughout the world, but it is thought to be native to the Mediterranean region. It was first introduced into the United States in the early 1800s as a forage crop.

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Medicinal Uses:
The seed is demulcent and duretic. A folk remedy for blood and urinary disorders.

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.

Resources:
http://www.invasive.org/browse/subinfo.cfm?sub=3075
http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/plants/johnsongrass.shtml
http://www.invasive.org/browse/subinfo.cfm?sub=3075
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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