Prota 1: Cereals and pulses/Céréales et légumes secs
Prain, Fl. trop. Afr. 9(4): 606 (1920).
2n = 18
Origin and geographic distribution
Echinochloa obtusiflora is only known from Niger, northern Nigeria, northern Cameroon and Sudan.
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.
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).
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.
Echinochloa obtusiflora is found in shallow pools, inundation plains and other wet locations. It is a weed of rice.
Genetic resources and breeding
Although Echinochloa obtusiflora has a limited distribution, it does not seem liable to genetic erosion.
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.
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Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2006. Echinochloa obtusiflora Stapf In: Brink, M. & Belay, G. (Editors). PROTA 1: Cereals and pulses/Céréales et légumes secs. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.