Flowering and fruiting period: July – February
Distribution: India and Sri Lanka
Uses: Young shoots edible when cooked. The plant contains high levels of silica and
is used in many ways in Ayurvedic medicine. Root is used to treat joint pain and
general debility. Leaves are taken internally to stimulate menstruation and to help
relieve period pain, they are also taken to tone and strengthen stomach function; to
expel worms and have the reputation of being aphrodisiac. The juice of the plant is
rich in silica and is taken internally to aid in the strengthening of cartilage in
conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. The stems have a huge range of
applications, to make items as diverse as scaffolding, rafts, furniture, paper and
dozens of other items.
Key Characters: Culms from a thick stoloniferous rhizome, erect, up to 30 m tall;
culm sheaths broadly triangular, densely brownish-hairy within, and scattered hairy
without. Leaves up to 20 cm long, linear, glabrous; ligule short, entire; petiole short.
Inflorescence a compound panicle with the spikelets in heads. Spikelets 1-many flowered,
oblong, terete. Bracts glume-like. Glumes 1-3, broadly ovate, mucronate.