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Family Poaceae / Gramineae
Balili
Echinochloa stagnina (Retz.) P,Beauv.
HIPPO GRASS

Scientific names Common names
Echinochloa barbata Vanderyst Balili (Tag.)
Echinochloa lelievrei (A.Chev..) Berhaut Banago (Sub.)
Echinochloa scabra (Lam.) Roem. & Schult. Lagtomna-pula (Bik.)
Echinochloa stagnina (Retz.) P.Beauv. Timsim (Tag.)
Oplismenus scaber (Lam.) Kunth Uraroi (Bik.)
Oplismenus stagninus (Retz.) Kunth Burgu grass (Engl.)
Orthopogon stagninus (Retz.) Spreng. Hippo grass (Engl.)
Echinochloa stagninus (Retz.) Kunth Long-awn water grass (Engl.)
Panicum burgu A.Chev.  
Panicum galli Thunb.  
Panicum lelievrei A.Chev.  
Panicum scabrum Lam.  
Panicum sieberianum (Asch. & Schweinf.) Sickenb.  
Panicum stagninum Retz.  
Panicum subaristatum Peter  
Balili is a common names shared by Panicum stagnimum and Juncus effiusus, Pingot (Bon.)
Panicum stagninum Retz. is a synonym of Echinochloa stagnina (Retz.) P.Beauv. The Plant List
Echinochloa stagnina (Retz.) P.Beauv. is an accepted name The Plant List
Note: The page has been revised re: scientific names and related studies.

Other vernacular names
FRENCH: Borgou, Pied de coq du Niger, Roseau sucré, Roseau a miel du Niger.
INDONESIAN: Rumput kumpai.
PORTUGUESE: Capim arroz.

Botany
Balili is a coarse, erect, aquatic or subaquatic grass in habit, 1 to 1.5 meters high, the lower parts decumbent and rooting at the nodes. Stems are 6 to 8 millimeters in diameter. Leaves are 20 to 40 centimeters long and 8 to 13 millimeters wide. Panicles are about 20 centimeters long or less. Spikes are green or purple, distinctly longer than the internodes, spreading or ascending, about 1. 5 centimeters long, nearly 1 centimeter thick. Spikelets are in pairs in two rows, nearly 5 millimeters long, the empty glumes hispid on the nerves, the third glume with a long or short awn.

Distribution
- Found throughout the Philippines, in most islands and provinces, growing in open shallow water and in low, wet places, swamps, and borders of lakes and streams, at low and medium altitudes.
- Also occurs from India to Africa and Malaya.

Constituents
- Contains saccharose, 10%; reducing sugar, 7%; and emulsin.
- In a comparative nutritive analysis, E. stagnina yielded the highest in crude fibers, high phytomass.
- Study of chemical composition reported: Dry matter 19.3, crude protein 1.3, ether extract 0.4, crude fiber 6.5, and ash 2.3. (2)
- Phytochemical screening revealed tannins and sterols. Roots possessed the highest polyphenol contents: 3.20±0.01 g/100g dry wt. Elemental analysis of ethanol extract yielded (dry weight basis): Fe 37.52±0.01 mg/g, Mn 90.07±0.03 mg/g, Zn 3.4±0.06 µg/g, Cu 123.1±0.06 µg/g. (6)

Properties
Considered styptic and tonic.

Parts used
Roots, shoots.

Uses

Edibility
- In tropical Africa, grains collected as cereal, especially in times of food shortage. (1)
- Sweet stems and rhizomes used to produce alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. (1)
- Used for extraction of sugar for making confectionery and liqueurs.
Children suck on the stems for sugar. (1)
- Sweet culms are sun-dried to extract sugar.
Folkloric
- Decoction of pith used as diuretic.
- Elsewhere, used as folk remedy for treating carbuncles, hemorrhages, sores, cancer and wounds.
- Shoots and roots used as styptic to wounds.
Others
- Fodder: In Egypt, grown as fodder grass. Chickens suck the stems for sugar. (1)
- Thatching: Stems used for thatching and mat making. (1)
- Ash of burnt soap used in making soap and as mordant with indigo dye. (1)

Studies
Antimicrobial:
Study evaluated ethanolic and water extracts of three macrophytes (roots): Echinochloa stagnina, P. stratiotes, and N. lotus for antimicrobial activities. All the tested microorganisms showed susceptibility (S. aureus, Candida albicans, B. subtilis) to moderate resistance (Salmonella and Shigella spp.) against E. stagnina ethanolic extract. The antimicrobial activity of the water extract was significantly reduced by 50%. (see constituents above) (6)

Availability
Wild-crafted.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update October 2015

IMAGE SOURCE: Seeds /Echinochloa stagnina (Retz.) P. Beauv. - hippo grass / ECST4 / Jose Hernandez, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA
IMAGE SOURCE: Illustration / Echinochloa stagnina (Retz.) P. Beauv. [as Panicum stagninum Retz.] Wood, J.M., Evans, M.S., Natal plants, vol. 5: t. 492 (1904-1908) / Plant Illustrations

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Echinochloa stagnina (Retz.) P.Beauv. / Prota4U
(2)
Off-farm fodder sources in agroforestry / Livestock and Poultry Production (IIRR, 1992)
(3)
Echinochloa stagnina (Retz.) P.Beauv. / Synonyms / The Plant List
(4)
Burgu (Echinochloa stagnina) / Feedipedia
(5)
Evaluation of the Nutrient Status of Some Hydrophytes in the Water Courses of Nile Delta, Egypt / Kamal H. Shaltout, Tarek M. Galal, and Thanaa M. El-Komi / Journal of Botany, Volume 2009 (2009) / http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2009/862565

(6)
In vitro: Antimicrobial potential and phytochemical screening of some egyptian aquatic plants / Said M. Daboora, Amany M. Haroon / The Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research, Volume 38, Issue 4, 2012, Pages 233–239

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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