Echinochloa obtusiflora (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
Introduction
List of species


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Echinochloa obtusiflora Stapf


Protologue: Prain, Fl. trop. Afr. 9(4): 606 (1920).
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)
Chromosome number: 2n = 18

Origin and geographic distribution

Echinochloa obtusiflora is only known from Niger, northern Nigeria, northern Cameroon and Sudan.

Uses

The grains of Echinochloa obtusiflora are eaten in Sudan (Kordofan) in times of food scarcity; they are collected from the wild. Echinochloa obtusiflora is a good forage plant.

Description

  • Erect, tufted, annual (sometimes perennial) grass up to 1 m tall; stem (culm) erect or ascending.
  • Leaves alternate, simple and entire; leaf sheath glabrous, smooth; ligule ciliate; blade linear, 20–40 cm × 2–9 mm, hairy at base and margins or glabrous.
  • Inflorescence composed of 2–12 racemes along a central axis 5–17 cm long; racemes erect, 1–4 cm long, with spikelets in 4 rows along the rachis.
  • Spikelet elliptical, 2–3.5 mm long, obtuse, somewhat rough towards the tip, 2-flowered with lower floret male and upper bisexual; lower glume obtuse, about one-third as long as the spikelet, upper glume as long as the spikelet; lemma and palea of upper floret with incurved tip; stamens 3; ovary superior, stigmas 2.
  • Fruit a caryopsis (grain).

Other botanical information

Echinochloa comprises 30–40 species. It is a taxonomically difficult genus, because clear-cut boundaries between the species seldom exist and the species are very variable. Introgression between species is common. Examined strains of Echinochloa obtusiflora were partially self-incompatible.

Ecology

Echinochloa obtusiflora is found in shallow pools, inundation plains and other wet locations. It is a weed of rice.

Genetic resources

Although Echinochloa obtusiflora has a limited distribution, it does not seem liable to genetic erosion.

Prospects

The role of Echinochloa obtusiflora as a cereal is limited to providing some food in times of scarcity, and it is unlikely to become more important in the future. Information is lacking on the nutritional quality of the grain.

Major references

  • Burkill, H.M., 1994. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 2, Families E–I. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 636 pp.
  • Clayton, W.D., 1972. Gramineae. In: Hepper, F.N. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 3, part 2. pp. 277–574.
  • van der Zon, A.P.M., 1992. Graminées du Cameroun. Volume 2, Flore. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 92–1. Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, Netherlands. 557 pp.
  • Yabuno, T., 1983. Biology of Echinochloa species. In: Proceedings of the Conference on Weed Control in Rice, 31 August – 4 September 1981. IRRI, Los Baños, Philippines. pp. 307–318.
  • Yabuno, T., 1988. Cytological relationship between Echinochloa obtusiflora Stapf and the Kenyan diploid strain of E. pyramidalis (Lamk.) Hitchc. et Chase. Cytologia 53: 93–96.

Other references

  • Phillips, S., 1995. Poaceae (Gramineae). In: Hedberg, I. & Edwards, S. (Editors). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Volume 7. Poaceae (Gramineae). The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Department of Systematic Botany, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. 420 pp.
  • Stapf, O., 1917–1934. Gramineae. In: Prain, D. (Editor). Flora of tropical Africa. Volume 9. L. Reeve & Co., Ashford, United Kingdom. 1100 pp.

Author(s)

  • M. Brink, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Brink, M., 2006. Echinochloa obtusiflora Stapf. In: Brink, M. & Belay, G. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. Accessed 29 November 2022.