Ottochloa nodosa (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Ottochloa nodosa (Kunth) Dandy

Protologue: J. Bot. 69: 55 (1931).
Family: Gramineae
Chromosome number: 2n= unknown


Panicum nodosum Kunth (1833), Hemigymnia multinodis Stapf (1920), H. fusca Ridley (1925).

Vernacular names

  • Slender panic grass (En)
  • Indonesia: suket pring-pringan (Javanese)
  • Malaysia: rumput pait, rumput rawa, rumput sarang buaya
  • Philippines: banig-usa, kawakawayanan (Tagalog), bariri-magwakat (Han.)
  • Laos: chaax kh'aa
  • Thailand: ya-laman (central), ya-khuiphaikhon (western).

Origin and geographic distribution

O. nodosa occurs throughout South-East Asia and also in India, Burma and Sri Lanka. It has been introduced to Mexico and parts of Africa and Australia.


O. nodosa is used as a forage for cattle and sheep, particularly in rubber and oil-palm plantations in South-East Asia, where it also can become a troublesome weed if ungrazed.


Nitrogen concentrations range typically between 1.1% and 1.3%, with DM digestibilities between 38% and 50%. DM intakes by sheep of 350-400 g/head per day have been measured in Thailand.


Perennial grass with slender, decumbent or scandent culms, more than 1 m tall, rooting at basal nodes. Leaf-sheath shorter than the internode, ciliate at its margins; ligule a shallow fimbriate membrane, about 0.5 mm tall; leaf-blade narrowly lanceolate, up to 15 cm × 12 mm, glabrous or with scattered bulbous-based hairs. Inflorescence of paniculately arranged racemes, up to 30 cm long; lower branches often in a whorl; largest branches with ca. 10 spikelets, grading to solitary spikelets at apex of a branch; spikelets elliptical, 2 mm long, with glumes shorter than the spikelets; lower floret neuter, upper floret hermaphrodite.

The inflorescence is extremely variable in number of branches and spacing of spikelets. In Peninsular Thailand it flowers from September to May.


O. nodosa occurs from sea-level up to 600 m, mainly in forest, rubber, or oil-palm plantations. It also occurs in rice fields and disturbed habitats.


O. nodosa spreads naturally, but it can be planted by seeds or rooted culms. It is usually grazed by cattle or sheep but can be cut by hand or mowers and fed to animals. It is moderately palatable but not tolerant of heavy grazing or frequent cutting, so stocking rates should not exceed 1.5 beast/ha and cutting intervals of 8-9 weeks are preferred.

Genetic resources and breeding

It is unlikely that substantial germplasm collections are being maintained.


O. nodosa is regarded as a troublesome weed and as a fodder of moderate value, especially in plantations, but more information is needed about its management and utilization.


  • Gilliland, H.B., Holttum, R.E. & Bor, N.L., 1971. Grasses of Malaya. In: Burkill, H.M. (Editor): Flora of Malaya. Vol. 3. Government Printing Office, Singapore. pp. 143-144.
  • Manidool, C., 1989. Natural grassland and native grasses of Thailand [in Thai]. Technical Bulletin No 1301-26-32. Division of Animal Nutrition, Department of Livestock Development, Bangkok. 45 pp.
  • Mehra, K.L. & Fachrurozi, Z., 1985. Indonesian economic plant resources: forage crops. Lembaga Biologi Nasional - LIPI, Bogor, No 31. p. 28.
  • Santos, J.V., 1986. Grasses. In: Umali, R.M., Zamora, P.M., Gotera, R.R. & Jara, R.S. (Editors): Guide to Philippine flora and fauna. Vol. 4. Natural Resources Management Center and University of the Philippines, Manila. p. 100.


C. Manidool