Eragrostis unioloides (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Eragrostis unioloides (Retzius) Nees ex Steudel

Protologue: Syn. Pl. Glum. 1: 264 (1854).
Family: Gramineae
Chromosome number: 2n= unknown


Poa unioloides Retzius (1789).

Vernacular names

  • Indonesia: padang togu (Batak), rumput udang (Indonesian)
  • Malaysia: ramput kolam padang
  • Thailand: ya-khaipu (northern)
  • Vietnam: xuân tha'o do'.

Origin and geographic distribution

E. unioloides is native to South-East Asia. It is also found in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka and the Pacific Islands.


E. unioloides is used as a forage. Its abundance in irrigated rice fields makes it also useful for grazing after the rice harvest and as a green manure.


No information on chemical composition is available, but its quality is likely to be low because of its low leaf/stem ratio.


Annual or short-lived perennial grass, tufted, with culms 10-80 cm tall, erect or geniculately ascending, sometimes rooting from the lower nodes. Leaf-sheath about 1.5 cm long, striate, purplish, hairy at the mouth; ligule a fringe of hairs; leaf-blade linear with broad base and acute top, 2-20 cm × 2-8 mm, flat or inrolled. Inflorescence a loose or contracted, terminal, usually stiffly erect panicle, up to 20 cm long; spikelets 8-60-flowered, ovoid to oblongoid, 4-16 mm × 2.5-4 mm, strongly compressed, on up to 15 mm long peduncles, usually yellowish but reddish-purple tinged; lower florets all fertile, upper ones caducous, but florets falling in succession from the base up; glumes very densely packed, keel scabrid. Caryopsis obovoid to ellipsoid, laterally compressed, ca. 0.7 mm long, orange-brown.

Flower heads emerge 6-8 weeks after seedling emergence and plants flower throughout the year. It is a very variable species, the main variation being in the annual to perennial type and in the degree of stoloniferous habit.


E. unioloides can grow from sea-level up to 1250 m altitude, in open or moderately shaded areas, in swampy or paddy fields, roadsides and cultivated land.


E. unioloides is grazed but does not withstand heavy grazing. In northern Thailand, villagers may pull up whole plants and feed them fresh to cattle.

Genetic resources and breeding

It is unlikely that substantial germplasm collections are being maintained.


Although this species contributes to the feeding of livestock, it is not of great importance.


  • Backer, C.A. & Bakhuizen van den Brink, R.C., 1968. Flora of Java. Vol. 3. Wolters-Noordhoff, Groningen, the Netherlands. p. 531.
  • Gilliland, H.B., Holttum, R.E. & Bor, N.L., 1971. Grasses of Malaya. In: Burkill, H.M. (Editor): Flora of Malaya. Vol. 3. pp. 66-68.
  • Häfliger, E. & Scholz, H., 1981. Grass weeds 2. Ciba-Geigy Ltd., Basel, Switzerland. p. 78.
  • Mehra, K.L. & Fachrurozi, Z., 1985. Indonesian economic plant resources: forage crops. Lembaga Biologi Nasional - LIPI, Bogor, No 31. p. 18.


C. Manidool