Dactyloctenium aegyptium (Crowfoot grass) – complete detail. Description of Dactyloctenium aegyptium (Crowfoot grass). Classification, distribution and uses of Crowfoot grass. Mainly used as fodder and relished by all classes of ruminants.
The stems are slender, erect or gesticulate and ascending. The stolons may creep and they root from the lower nodes. Roots are horizontal. local name of Dactyloctenium aegyptium is Crowfoot grass.
Crowfoot Grass is slightly stoloniferous annual or short-lived perennial grass, up to 75 cm high. The stems are slender, erect or gesticulate and ascending. The stolons may creep and they root from the lower nodes. Roots are horizontal. The leaves are broadly linear, 3-25 cm long, 3-15 mm broad, somewhat succulent and crisp. Leaf margins have long, stiff hairs. Flowers arise in 1-7 spikes, 1-6.5 cm long, 3-7 mm wide and at the tip of stems. One of the most drought-resistant grasses because of its rapid growth and seeding each wet season, even if of short duration.
The inflorescence are borne at the apex of the stem. They are typically digitate or subdigitate and arranged in 2 to 7 unilateral, horizontal spikes. The seeds are angular, wrinkled or rugose and white or brown in color.
Common Name – Crowfoot Grass
Botanical Name – Dactyloctenium aegyptium
Kingdom – Plantae
Subkingdom – Tracheobionta
Superdivision – Spermatophyta
Division – Magnoliophyta
Class – Monocotyledonae
Subclass – Commelinidae
Order – Poales
Genus – Dactyloctenium
Family – Poaceae
Subfamily – Chloridoideae
Dactyloctenium aegyptium found throughout Indonesia, Central America, the northern part of South America, Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, India, South-East Asia and Australia. The grass grows in disturbed places such as cultivated lands, gardens and roadsides, usually where additional water collects.
Mainly used as fodder and relished by all classes of ruminants. In semi-arid areas it makes valuable annual pastures as well as excellent hay. It is also suitable for silage. The seeds can be fed to poultry or used to make alcoholic beverages and are eaten by humans in periods of food scarcity. They have ethno-medicinal properties and may be used as a fish poison.
It is grazed by all ruminants, generally in association with other desert grasses which occupy the same agro-ecological niche.
It has been used as a cereal substitute in times of famine in parts of Africa and India, but it is not very palatable and is not cultivated for this purpose.
Dried grain eaten by women suffering from bellyache after childbirth. Seeds used for treatment of typhoid fever. Decoction of seeds used to relieve pains in the region of the kidney; stems and leaves applied externally for treatment of ulcers.
Seeds used for making chapattis or haluwa and eaten as a cooling agent. Juice of fresh plants is prescribed in fevers. Decoction of the plant is given in small pox.