Facts about Hilo Grass

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Hilo Grass Quick Facts
Name: Hilo Grass
Scientific Name: Paspalum Conjugatum
Origin Tropical America, but now widely naturalized in northern and eastern Australia, tropical and northern Africa, tropical Asia
Shapes 1.5 mm long and 1 mm wide, flattened with fimbriate margins
Health benefits Good for fever, debility, stomach troubles, pulmonary afflictions, diarrhea, dysentery, headaches, wounds and cuts, contusions, sprains and dislocations
Paspalum conjugatum, commonly known as carabao grass or hilo grass, is a tropical to subtropical perennial grass belonging to the genus Paspalum (bahiagrasses or crown grasses) in the grass family Poaceae. It was first described in 1772 in by the Swedish botanist Peter Jonas Bergius. The plant is native to tropical America, but is now found throughout the tropical regions of the world (i.e. it is pan-tropical). Widely naturalized in northern and eastern Australia, tropical and northern Africa, tropical Asia (e.g. Cambodia, China, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea), Mauritius, the Seychelles and numerous Pacific islands (i.e. American Samoa, Western Samoa, the Cook Islands, the Galápagos Islands, Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, the Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, the Solomon Islands and Hawaii). Buffalo grass, carabao grass, hilo grass, sour grass, sour paspalum, T grass, yellow grass, cow grass, Johnston River grass, paspalum grass, Thurston grass and ti grass are few of the popular common names of the plant.

Hilo Grass Facts

Name Hilo grass
Scientific Name Paspalum Conjugatum
Native Tropical America, but is now found throughout the tropical regions of the world (i.e. it is pan-tropical). Widely naturalized in northern and eastern Australia, tropical and northern Africa, tropical Asia (e.g. Cambodia, China, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea),
Common Names Buffalo grass, carabao grass, hilo grass,  sour grass, sour paspalum, T grass,  yellow grass, cow grass, Johnston River grass, paspalum grass, Thurston grass, ti grass
Name in Other Languages Australia: Cow grass
Bahamas: Two-spiked paspalum
Brazil: Capim-de-marreca, capim-forquilla, capim-gordo, capim-noxo, grama comum, grama-forquilla, grama-tê
Cebuano: Sacate
Chamorro: Lagasa
Chinese: Liang er cao (两耳草), Cha zi cao,  Shuang sui que bai
Chuukese: Fätilimwän, fatil, fatin yung, fetil, fetin umund, fetin umuno, fetin wumwune
Cuba: Cañamazo hembra
Danish: Hirse
Dominican Republic: Cañamazo
English: Hilo grass, T grass, buffalo grass, carabao grass, sour grass, sour paspalum, ti grass, yellow grass, Johnston grass, water grass, Sour Crown Grass, Johnston River Grass
Fiji: Thurston grass, ti grass, yellow grass
Filipino: Kauad-kauaran
French: Herbe créole, herbe de tauère, herbe sure
Germany: Fransenblättrige, Futterhirse, Dallisgras
Haiti: Z’herbe sure
Hawaiian: Mau‘u Hilo
India: Banhaptia
Indonesia: Rumput pait, jampang pahit, paitan, klamaran
Italian: Paspalo dilatato.
Jamaica: Jamaican sour grass
Japanese: Ogasawara suzume no hie (オガサワラスズメノヒエ) Shima suzume no hie
Kosraean: Meshashe, muhsrasre
Kwaraae: Karasi
Malaysia: Rumput kerbau, rumput ala negri
Mangarevan: Kirimiro
Manobo: Bantotan
Maori (Cook Islands): Mauku kātini, mauku taravao
Marshallese: Ujoij
Japan: Ogasawara suzume no hie
Mexico: Pata de conejo trensila
Niuean: Mosie vailima, mosie vaolima, motie vailima, vailima
Nukuoro: Heri
Palauan: Udel ra ngebel
Philippines: Bantotan, kanat-kanat, kauad-kauaran, kulape, sacate
Pohnpeian: Fahtil-rawfut, reh-n-wai, rehnwahi, ren wai
Portugueses: Capim-azedo, Capim de marreco, Capim-forquilha, Capim-gordo, Grama-papuã, Capim-marreca, Capim-roxo, Capim-tó, Capirapó, Grama-doce, Grama-forquilha, grama-azeda, grama-comum, Capim te, catuaba     
Puerto Rico: Horquetilla blanca
Rotuman: Mous sau rangi
Samoan: Vailima, vailima matafao, vao lima
Spanish: Cañamazo amargo, cambute, caraconga, grama, grama de antena, horquetilla, pasta horqueta, pasto amargo, pasto de burro, pata de conejo, torourco, trensilla, hierba agria, pasto horquilla, tarurco
Suriname: Buta grasse
Tagalog: Kulape
Taiwan: Mu-yin-chywe-bai
Thailand: Ya-heb, ya-nomnon
Tokelauan: Vaolima
Tongan: Vailima
Ulithian: Fathil
Venezuela: Paja mala
Vietnam: Co san cap
Yapese: Ataralow, ataraow, fugur parap, Kar
Plant Growth Habit Tropical to subtropical, vigorous, creeping perennial grass with culms
Growing Climates Open places in forests, forest margins, moist grasslands and shrub lands, along riverbanks, pastures, along stream banks and ditches, at roadsides and in disturbed areas, seasonally flooded places, marshes, paddy fields and draining plantations, orchards, vineyards, irrigation channels, parks, lawns, waste areas
Soil Wide range of soils including acidic, low-nutrient soils, and in wet as well as drier soil
Plant Size Up to 1 m tall
Culms Branching and slightly compressed dorsoventrally, they are usually reddish to purplish in color
Leaf Leaf blades are 11-18 cm long and 1-1.2 cm wide, mainly glabrous except for a few hairs along the margins, main vein prominent on abaxial surface
Flower Inflorescence usually composed of two secund spikes, each about 60-100 mm long. Glands at base of raceme are well-developed, very hairy. Spikelets are solitary, pedicellate 0.3-0.5 mm long and in 2 rows below the rachis, markedly ciliate on the margins, cream to creamy-green, flat, about 1 mm long
Fruit Shape & Size Individual fruits about 1.5 mm long and 1 mm wide, flattened with fimbriate margins. Embryo is small.
Seed Seeds are 1 mm long and 0.8 mm wide
Propagation By Stolons
Plant Parts Used Fresh roots

Plant Description

Hilo grass is a tropical to subtropical, vigorous, creeping perennial grass with erect or ascending culms that normally grows up to 20–100 cm tall. The culms are branching and slightly compressed dorso-ventrally, they are usually reddish to purplish in color. The plant is found growing in open places in forests, forest margins, moist grasslands and shrub lands, along riverbanks, pastures, along stream banks and ditches, at roadsides and in disturbed areas, seasonally flooded places, marshes, paddy fields and draining plantations, orchards, vineyards, irrigation channels, parks, lawns and waste areas. The plant is found growing in wide range of soils including acidic, low-nutrient soils, and in wet as well as drier soil. Nodes glabrous with remains of old leaf sheaths. Lateral branches are sparsely branched. Stems are glabrous and rooting at the nodes.

Leaves

Leaf blades are 11-18 cm long and 1-1.2 cm wide, mainly glabrous except for a few hairs along the margins, main vein prominent on abaxial surface. The leaf sheaths are strongly flattened, usually 30 to 50 mm (1.2 to 2.0 in) long, hairy around the nodes and at the junction with the blade. Ligule is truncate, 1 mm long. The leaves are smooth, around 8 to 20 cm (3.1 to 7.9 in) in length, and 5 to 12 mm (0.20 to 0.47 in) in width. They are linear to lance-like in shape, tapering to a point.

Flowers

Inflorescence usually composed of two secund spikes, each about 60-100 mm long. Glands at base of raceme are well-developed, very hairy. Spikelets are solitary, pedicellate 0.3-0.5 mm long and in 2 rows below the rachis, markedly ciliate on the margins, cream to creamy-green, flat, about 1 mm long. Rachis is prominently winged. Lower glume is absent. Upper glume with a few fine hairs along the upper margin, obscurely 3 veined. Lemna is glabours. Anthers yellow. Stigmas are white and plumose.

Fruit

Fruits arranged in two rows below the inflorescence branches. Individual fruits about 1.5 mm long and 1 mm wide, flattened with fimbriate margins. Embryo is small. Seeds are 1 mm long and 0.8 mm wide.  Testa surface is smooth and glossy.

Traditional uses and benefits of Hilo Grass

  • The Iban of Borneo use leaf decoctions in the treatment of wounds and sores and in the Sepik area of Papua New Guinea crushed spikelets are used for the same purpose.
  • Decoction of the leaves, or the crushed spikelets, is used in the treatment of wounds and sores.
  • Leaves are also used in the treatment of fever, debility, stomach troubles and pulmonary afflictions.
  • Young leaves are pounded and then applied as paste onto wounds and cuts.
  • An infusion of the plant is used as a remedy for headaches.
  • It is used as anti-venom, a decoction of the whole plant, combined with the oil of Lebrunia bushaie, is rubbed on the bite.
  • Roots are used in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery.
  • Decoction of fresh roots is taken internally for diarrhea.
  • In Africa, leaves used for fever, debility, stomach troubles and pulmonary afflictions; roots used for diarrhea and dysentery
  • In Gabon, it is pounded with the leaf of Desmodium salicifolium and applied as compress for contusions, sprains and dislocations.
  • In Congo, the leaves are used with Macaranga sp and Renealmia sp. in a vapor bath for fever.
  • In Cameroon, decoction of leaves, softened in hot ashes and ground in water, used for dysentery.
  • Leaf infusions used for fever in Trinidad.
  • Leaves used for wound healing in West Papua.
  • Infusion of the plant used for headaches in Ecuadorian Amazon.
  • In Zaire, as antivenom, decoction of whole plant is rubbed on the bite with the oil of Lebrunia bushaie.

Other Facts

  • Paspalum conjugatum is used as forage or in cut-and-carry systems.
  • It is occasionally used as a lawn grass.
  • In Indonesia, P. conjugatum and other natural weeds have been used as cover crops under coffee trees to control soil erosion.
  • In Africa, grass provides good grazing for cattle and horses, taken before seed-set.
  • Cats and dogs said to eat the leaf as purgative.
  • conjugatum is used as forage for grazing or in cut-and-carry systems, and is rated as very important as a natural pasture grass in coconut plantations.
  • It is occasionally used as a lawn grass and is also regarded as an important weed in rice and plantation crops.

Precautions

  • Wet fruits may become very irritating as they easily stick to one’s legs and clothing.
  • It is stated that only the young stage of the grass is suitable for grazing since the fruits tend to stick in the throats of livestock and choke them.

Prevention and Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product’s label.

Paspalum conjugatum is suppressed by nitrogen application in pastures but is not suppressed by slashing or sheep grazing. In sufficiently humid situations, legume cover crops are the main means of control in rubber, oil palm, etc. Some legumes may have an allelo-pathic effect on the weed as well as shading it. Increasing soil temperature by solarization has given good suppression for up to 3 months.

Chemical Control

Herbicides such as MSMA, DSMA, dicamba, bromacil, paraquat, metsulfuron, glyphosate and amitrole have been used to control P. conjugatum when growing as a weed in crops and pastures

References:

http://www.hear.org/pier/species/paspalum_conjugatum.htm

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=41015#null

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomydetail?id=26835

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/38951

https://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/media/Html/paspalum_conjugatum.htm

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=PACO14

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paspalum_conjugatum

http://wgb.cimmyt.org/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=26835

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/record/kew-431408

https://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/243261

https://keys.lucidcentral.org/keys/v3/AusGrass/key/AusGrass/Media/Html/PASPALUM/PASCONJ.HTML

http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Paspalum+conjugatum

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/PASCO

http://www.stuartxchange.org/Laua-laua.html

https://uses.plantnet-project.org/en/Paspalum_conjugatum_(PROSEA)

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