Echinochloa crusgalli (L.) Beauv.
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
A warm-season bunchgrass used as cattle fodder and sometimes cultivated for
this purpose. Also suited for ensilage, but not for hay. Usually fed green.
Grass also used for reclamation of saline and alkaline areas, especially in
Egypt. Grain of some varieties used as food in times of scarcity and sometimes
used for adulterating fennel.
Reported to be preventative and tonic, barnyardgrass is a folk remedy for
carbuncles, hemorrhage, sores, spleen trouble, cancer and wounds (Duke and
Per 100 g, the following values are reported (in grams):
This grass has been reported to accumulate levels of nitrate in its tissues
high enough to be toxic to farm animals (Holm et al., 1977).
Polymorphous coarse, tufted annual, tall and often weedy; culms erect to
decumbent, 0.8-1.5 m tall, 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, exserted, 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.
Aug.-Oct.; seed maturing Sept.-Oct., up to 40,000/plant. Var. crusgalli
has long, somewhat spreading papillose cilia at the summits of the internodes
and bases of the branches in the inflorescence and short, very thick papillose
cilia along the lateral nerves of the 2nd glume, sterile lemma, and somewhat
spreading -spikes", and sterile lemmas with awns 0-10 mm long.
Reported from the China-Japan Center of Diversity, barnyardgrass or cvs thereof
is reported to tolerate alkali, hydrogen fluoride, high pH, laterite, salt,
virus, weeds, and waterlog (Duke, 1978). There are several botanical varieties
and forms. In addition to the var. frumentace , used mainly as a grain
and treated separately, the following varieties are recognized. E.
crusgalli var. incrusgalli with long, somewhat spreading, papillose
cilia at the summits of the internodes and bases of the branches in the
inflorescence and short, very thick papillose cilia along the lateral nerves of
the 2nd glume and sterile lemma, and somewhat spreading "spikes", and sterile
lemmas with awns 0-10 mm long; var. mitis (Pursh) Peterm., with dense
somewhat spreading, flexuous racemes, the spikelets awnless or nearly so, awns
less than 3 mm long, basal sheaths occasionally hirsute, found in moist places
over the range of the species; var. zeylansis (H.B.K) Hitchc., with
culms less succulent than those of the species, mostly simple, more or less
appressed racemes, the spikelets less strongly hispid but papillose, usually
green, found in moist often alkaline places from Oklahoma to Oregon, south to
Texas and California, Mexico to Argentina, in tablelands; var. praticola
Ohwi, awnless, more slender plant than common type, found in lowlands of
Taiwan, Japan, Ryukyus and Korea; var. formosensis Ohwi, intermediate
between typical form and var. oryzicola with leaf-blade narrower, the
spikelets pale green, sterile lemma thickened, lustrous, glabrous, at least on
back, found in Taiwan, China, India and Japan; var. oryzicola (Vasing.)
Ohwi, with culms nearly erect from base, leaf-blades thickened on margins,
scabrous, panicles usually pale green, erect, the spikelets about 5 mm long,
awnless or short-awned, first glume one-half to three-fifths as long as
spikelet, sterile lemma often thickened and coriaceous, glabrous; fl.
Aug.-Oct.; a troublesome weed in paddy fields and wet places in China, Korea,
Japan and India. (2n = 36, 42, 48)
Widespread in all warmer regions of the world, both temperate and tropical;
often weedy. In Southwest U.S., it occurs in moist, often disturbed loamy
soil, in marshes, seepage areas, and in mud and water of lakes, ditches and
Ranging from Boreal Moist to Wet through Tropical Very Dry to Moist Forest Life
Zones, barnyardgrass is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 3.1 to
25.0 dm (mean of 59 cases = 9.7), annual temperature of 5.7 to 27.8°C (mean
of 59 cases = 14.9), and pH of 4.8 to 8.2 (mean of 53 cases = 6.4) (Duke, 1978,
1979). Adapted to nearly all types of wet places, and often a common weed in
paddy fields, roadsides, cultivated areas, and fallow fields. Grows on variety
of wet sites such as ditches, low areas in fertile croplands and wet wastes,
often growing in water. Succeeds in cool regions, but better adapted to areas
where average annual temperature is 14-16°C. Not restricted by soil pH.
Propagated from seed, best sown in India from February to April. Optimum
temperature for germination is 35°C, with maximum of 40°C, and minimum of
5-10°C. The vegetative period is from May to July.
When used for fodder, grass is ready for cutting 1.5-3 months after growth
starts. Solitary plants may develop up to 80 shoots with a maximum height of
2.5 m. Seed mature from August to October.
Occasionally used or especially cultivated as cattle fodder, especially in
India, areas of East Africa and elsewhere. It is not a dependable forage plant
and even though palatable, it has never become economically important for
grazing. E. crusgalli is considered a very serious weed in many major
According to the phytomass files annual productivity of E. crusgalli is
10 MT/ha, that of E. polystachya runs 3-30, while that of E.
stagnina os 17 MT/ha (Duke, 1981b).
The following fungi have been reported on this grass: Alternaria spp.
associated with weevil (Prodsaldius deplanatus) injury and with other fungi,
Brachysporium flexuosum, B. gracile, Cercospora echinochloae, C.
fusimaculans, C. sorghii, C. stizolobii, Cintractia crus-galli, Claviceps
microcephala, Colletotrichum graminicola, Corticium vagum, Curvularia
geniculata, C. trifolii, Dinemasporium gramineum, Fusarium acuminatum, F.
avenaceum, F. culmorum, F. equiseti, F. graminearum, F. oxysporum, F. scirpi
var. acuminatum, Helminthosporium flexuosum, H. monoceras, H. sativum,
H. turcicum, Leptosphaeria occidentalis, Mycosphaerella crusgalli, Pellicularia
filamentosa, Physoderma echinochloae, Phytophthora macrospora, P. cactorum,
Phoma terrestris, Piricularia grisea, P. oryzae, Puccinia abnormis, P.
flaccida, P. graminis, Pyrenochaeta terrestris, Pythium aristosporum, P.
arrhenomanes, P. debaryanum, P. graminicola, P. tardicrescens, P. vexans,
Rhizoctonia solani, Sclerotium hydrophilum, Sorosporium bullata, S.
syntherismae, Spacelotheca diplospora, S. panici-miliacei, Tilletia
pulcherrima, Tolyposporium bullatum, Ustilago sphaerogena, U. trichophora
var. crusgalli, U. crus-galli and var. minor, U. globigena, U.
rabenhorstiana. The grass is also attacked by the bacterium Pseudomonas
tabaci and the virus Red Leaf of Setaria italica and a mosaic. It
is parasitized by the flowering plants Striga lutea, S. euphrasioides
and Cuscuta pentagona. Nematodes isolated from this grass include:
Hirschmanniella oryzae, Meloidogyne incognita acrita, M.
Javanica, M. sp. and Pratylenchus zeae. (Golden, p.c., 1984)
|Protein ||Fat|| Total carb.|| Fiber|| Ash |
|Wet matter zero-moist.||13.7 ||2.9 ||72.2 ||22.0|| 11.2 ||(Miller, 1958) |
|Wet matter zero-moist. ||9.0 ||2.7 ||79.9 ||29.9 ||8.4 ||(Miller, 1958) |
|Shoots zero-moist. (24.4% DM) ||7.4 ||2.9 ||81.1 ||31.3 ||8.6 ||(Gohl, 1981) |
|Hay zero-moist. (89.1% DM) ||13.5||2.5 ||73.6 ||22.7 ||10.4 ||(Gohl, 1981) |
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- Duke, J.A. 1978. The quest for tolerant germplasm. p. 1-61. In: ASA Special
Symposium 32, Crop tolerance to suboptimal land conditions. Am. Soc. Agron.
- Duke, J.A. 1979. Ecosystematic data on economic plants. Quart. J. Crude Drug
- Duke, J.A. 1981b. The gene revolution. Paper 1. p. 89-150. In: Office of
Technology Assessment, Background papers for innovative biological technologies
for lesser developed countries. USGPO. Washington.
- Duke, J.A. and Wain, K.K. 1981. Medicinal plants of the world. Computer index
with more than 85,000 entries. 3 vols.
- Gohl, B. 1981. Tropical feeds. Feed information summaries and nutritive values.
FAO Animal Production and Health Series 12. FAO, Rome.
- Holm, L.G., Pancho, J.V., Herberger, J.P., and Plucknett, D.L. 1979. A
geographical atlas of world weeds. John Wiley & Sons, New York.
- Miller, D.F. 1958. Composition of cereal grains and forages. National Academy
of Sciences, National Research Council, Washington, DC. Publ. 585.
last update July 9, 1996