Ischaemum timorense

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From:‘t Mannetje, L. and Jones, R.M. (1992) Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 4. Forages. (Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen, the Netherlands). © Prosea Foundation.

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Scientific name

Ischaemum timorense Kunth


Andropogon timorensis (Kunth) Steud.
Ischaemum macrurum Stapf ex Ridley


Family: Poaceae (alt. Gramineae) subfamily: Panicoideae tribe: Andropogoneae.

Common names

centipede grass;  lucuntu grass;  loekoentoegras (Surinam, Dutch);  stalkleaf muraina grass (USA, Hawaii);  bhenta, rumput apet, jukut jampang manggung, jukut tambaga, kalamenta, kalameta, lambeta, lameta, suket tembaga, tatambagaan, tembagan, tembagen (Indonesia);  rumput sarang buaya (Malaysia);  mom timor (Vietnam);  waidoi grass (Fiji);  tametamml (Palau);  local batiki (Western Samoa).

Morphological description

A variable, spreading, erect, perennial (or annual), with ascending, scrambling, or stoloniferous growth habit, and fertile culms 15–60 (–100) cm tall.  Stems rooting at the nodes;  nodes silky.  Leaf sheath 3–6 cm long, tight, hairy round the node, fringed towards the throat;  ligule a short fringed membrane, sometimes long ciliate;  leaf-blade lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 2–10 (–16) cm long and 3–15 mm wide, base obtuse or petiole-like, apex acute, glabrous, or with scattered soft hairs and prominent long, stiff, bulbous-based hairs towards the throat.  Inflorescence terminal, well exserted, comprising 2 (–3) closely opposed racemes, each 2–10 (–15) cm long;  spikelets inserted in pairs, one sessile, one pedicellate, alternately on one side of the triangular rachis;  spikelets similar, 4–7 mm long, 2-flowered, green or tinged with purple, lower floret male, upper floret bisexual;  lower glume with two acute lobes at the apex, upper glume with a short 2–3 mm long awn, upper lemma 2-lobed with a 10–17 mm long awn in the middle.  Caryopsis ellipsoid , 1–2 mm long.
Distinguished from I. ciliare in having the more constricted, pedicel -like leaf base.


Native to:
Asia:  India, Indonesia, Federated States of Micronesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam.
Found on grassy roadsides, banks of terraces, along ditches and forest margins, and as a weed in upland rice fields.

Naturalised in:
Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Fiji, French Guiana, Nicaragua, Panama, Suriname, elsewhere.


Permanent pasture , frequently naturalised on heavily grazed communal land where it provides good ground cover against erosion and good quality edible feed.  Useful as a shade tolerant cover under trees.

Feeding value

Nutritive value

Well grazed by cattle, horses and sheep.


No record of toxicity.


Production potential

Dry matter

Production per head is usually limited by excessive stocking rates.

Animal production

2n = 20, 36.


Stands can be rested and hand harvested, although smut infection may reduce quality.  Seed is dormant for 6 months after harvest.

Seed production

No information available.

Herbicide effects



Not generally planted as an improved pasture but highly valuable in communally grazed areas where it provides palatable feed, and ground cover against serious potential erosion.

Other comments

Gilliland, H.B., Holttum, R.E. and Bor, N.L. (1971) A Revised Flora of Malaya Volume III Grasses of Malaya.  (The Botanic Gardens: Singapore).
Ipor, I.B., Baki, B.B. and Chen, C.P. (1992) Ischaemum timorense Kunth. In: 't Mannetje, L. and Jones, R.M. (eds) Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 4. Forages. pp. 148–149. (Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen, the Netherlands).
Soerjani, M., Kostermans, A.J.H.G. and Tjitrosoepomo, G. (1987) Weeds of Rice in Indonesia . BIOTROP, Bogor, Indonesia.

Selected references

Internet links


Country/date released


None released to date.      


Promising accessions



None reported.