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Family Cyperaceae
Fimbristylis umbellaris
(Lam.) Vahl
San xing piao fu cao

Scientific names Common names
Dischostylis torresiana Gaudich. Anahiunan (Manobo, C. Bis.)
Fimbristylis efoliata Steud. Badang-badang (Ilk.)
Fimbristylis globulosa (Retz.) Kunth Tikog (Bis.)
Fimbristylis globulosa var. austrojaponica Ohwi Tikug (Higaonon)
Fimbristylis globulosa var. torresiana (Gaudich.) C.B.Clarke Tikus (Tag.)
Fimbristylis globulosa var. vicaryi C.B.Clarke Fimbry (Engl.)
Fimbristylis hypsocolea Hosok. Fimbristyle (Engl.)
Fimbristylis torresiana Gaudich Fringe-rush (Engl.)
Fimbristylis umbellaris (Lam.) Vahl Globular fimbristylis (Engl.)
Fimbristylis umbellaris var. vicaryi (C.B.Clarke) Karthik.  
Fimbristylis utilis Elmer  
Iria gloobulosa (Retz.) Kuntze  
Isolepis gloobulosa (Retz.) Schult.  
Scirpus gloobulosus Retz.  
Scirpus umbellaris Lam.  
Trichelosstylis gloobulosa (Retz.) Nees  
Fimbristylis umbellaris (Lam.) Vahl is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
CHINA: San xing piao fu cao.
INDONESIA: Mendong (Javanese), Jukut bubut-ut (Sundanese), Werot (North Sulawesi), Sie, Daun tikar, Lai, Mansiang macik, Tiohu, Tokogu, Tuyu.
MALAYSIA: Rumput sandang.
THAILAND: Phrong klom noi.
VIETNAM: Co quam bong tron

Fimbristylis umbellaris is an erect, glabrous, perennial herb, up to 120 cm tall, with a short horizontal rhizome clothed with brown scales, growing densely tufted in a clump. Stem rigid, obtusely trigonous to subterete, 20-120(-200) cm × 1-5 mm (in cultivation reaching 2 m or taller), usually flattened below the inflorescence, striate, smooth, light green. Leaves on the stem reduced to bladeless, cylindrical, obliquely truncate sheaths with brown margins, lower ones scale-like, 2-4 cm long, the upper ones up to 20 cm long; leaves of sterile shoots narrow and short, flat or canaliculate, about 1.5 mm wide, without ligule. Inflorescence usually a much reduced simple or compound umbel or open corymb, up to 10 cm long, with up to 40 spikelets; basal involucral bracts 2-3, erect, lanceolate, up to 1 cm long; primary rays up to 10, unequal, up to 5 cm long, smooth; spikelets solitary, globose, ovoid or ellipsoid, 4-8(-12) mm × 3-4 mm, densely many-flowered, red-brown; rachilla persistent, narrowly winged; glumes spirally arranged and tightly imbricated, membranous, ovate, up to 2.5 mm × 1.5 mm, base obtuse, margins broadly white-membranous, apex rounded and often torn, obscurely 2-3-veined on both sides of the ridged midrib which ends below the apex; flowers bisexual; stamens 2-3, about 1 mm long, anthers oblong-linear; style 1-2 mm long, widened at the base, glabrous, usually trigonous with 3 stigmas, sometimes flat with only 2 stigmas, articulated with the ovary (falling off as a whole). Fruit nut-like, a compressed-trigonous or biconvex achene, 0.8-1 mm × 0.6-0.8 mm, finely warty, pale yellow when mature. (1)

- Native to the Philippines.
- Also native to Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, Caroline Is., China, Hainan, India, Jawa, Korea, Laos, Malaya, Marianas, Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, Nepal, New Guinea, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
- Grows primarily in the subtropical biome. (2)
- Found in open swamps, wet grassy places, and rice fields.

- Study suggests phytoremediative properties.

Parts used
Leaves, aerial parts.



- In the Philippines, used for treatment of enlarged spleen. (1)
- Crafts: Stems used for weaving, production of mats, hats, and baskets. It may be the most important matting sedge of the Philippines, where it is used for making sleeping  or floor mats (banig), hats, slippers, handbags, etc. Its great export potential is hindered by limited supply of raw materials. In Indonesia, it is also used for small wickerwork. Stems are used as string for tying. (1)

- Agroforestry: A weed in ricefields, it is plowed in as green manure. (1)

Natural Cellulose Fiber:
Study reports on the potential of mendong grass as a natural source of fiber. The study provides an overview on cultivation and obtaining fiber and its chemical, physical, mechanical and thermal properties.
Phytoremediation / Chromium: The textile industrial waste containing heavy metals, one of which is Chromium (Cr) is dangerous to the environment, especially chromium hexavalent with its soluble, carcinogenic and toxic properties. Study evaluated the phytoremediation of soil contaminated with chromium using Mendong plant, combined with microorganisms Agrobacterium Sp I3 and compost. Results showed the Mendong plant was an effective phytoremediator of soil contaminated with chromium and can be used as a chromium accumulator plant. Highest decrease of soil chromium content of 58.39% combined with artificial fertilizer. Bioremediation increased total bacterial colonies, decreased soil pH, and increased cation exchange capacity of the soil. (4)


March 2023

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Photographs (2): Fimbristylis umbellaris (Lam.) Vahl / © WIKTROP - Weed Indentification and Knowledge in the Tropical and Mediterranean areas / Non-commercial use / click on image to go to source page / WIKTROP

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Fimbristylis umbellaris / PROSEA: Plant Resources of South-East Asia

Fimbristylis umberllaris (Lam.) Vahl / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Natural Cellulose Fiber from Mendong Grass (Fimbristylis globulosa) / Heru Suryanto, Uun Yanuhar, Solichin / Chapter III: Fiber Plants-Biology, Biotechnology and Applications /
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-44570-0_3
The effectiveness of Mendong plant (Fimbrystilis globulosa) as a phytoremediator of soil contaminated with chromium of industrial waste /  Pungky Ferina, Retno Rosariastuti, S Supriyadi / J Degrade. Min. Land Manage., 2017; 4(4): pp 899-905 / DOI: 10.15243/jdmlm.2017.044.899

DOI: 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. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants

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