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Fimbristylis miliacea (=F. quinquangularis)

Fimbristylis miliacea (syn. of F. quinquangularis (accepted name) and Fimbristylis littoralis)

Recognize the problem

Family: Cyperaceae (sedge family).

Common names: Lesser fimbristylis, fimbry, grass-like fimbristylis, grasslike fimbry.

Burmese:  Myet-kun-thee-lay; Vietnamese: Cỏ tò te, cỏ chat.

Annual or perennial erect sedge with fibrous root system, without hairs, strongly tillering up to 80−90 cm high.

Leaves: Stiff and thread-like (1.5-2.5 mm wide), up to 40 cm long, no prominent midribs.

Flowers: 6−10 cm long, compound umbel with 6−50 spikelets; spikelets reddish brown, 2−4 mm long and either round or pointed at the tip.

Fruits/Seeds: Three angled straw-coloured or pale ivory nut, 0.2−0.3 mm long.  Produces 10,000 seeds per plant which can germinate immediately after reaching maturity. Seeds can remain viable for more than one year.


Origin: Uncertain.

Introduction: As contaminated seed.

Habitat:  Common throughout the tropics; occurs in damp, open waste places.

Spread: By seeds; dispersed by water, wind and human-related activities; seeds are also eaten by cattle and germinate near droppings.

Invades: Most common and abundant in rice plantations; also found in bananas and maize (Taiwan), sugarcane and maize (Indonesia) and sorghum (Malaysia).

Impacts: Fimbristylis littoralis is a serious weed in rice. It competes strongly with crops for light and nutrients, can adversely affect rice germination and interferes with crop management.  In India, rice yield losses due to F. littoralis (together with Cyperus difformis and Scirpus supinus) were estimated at 9% in transplanted rice in the dry season and 24-32% in direct-sown rice in puddled conditions The weed can also outcompete native vegetation.  Fimbristylis littoralis is a secondary host of pests and diseases such as rice earhead bug (Leptocorisa acuta), paddy armyworm (Mythimna separate) and rice sheath blight (Rhizoctonia solani).

The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to: All Countries

Authors: CABI. Edited by participants from Myanmar and Vietnam at a workshop in Thailand, March 2016.
tel: +60 (0)3 894329321 email:
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 licence.

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