Imperata cylindrica (Cogon grass) Identification

Pulang ---> Imperata cylindrica --> ID

It's actually fairly easy to identify this species. Unfortunately, I do not have close up pics of the wild green form, so I will be using the cultivated reddish form for demonstration purposes now, and replace them with the wild form in future.

(1) Unlike many grasses, which have well developed stem systems above ground, in cogon grass the leaf blades seem to come out directly from the ground.

(2) Check one of the more mature grass blades for an off-center whitish mid-rib close to the tip. That is, the whitish rib will not be running right in the center, but will be slightly closer to one edge.

(3) Pull out one of the culms and check for whitish, scaly, very sharp rhizomes mixed in among the fibrous roots. Cogongrass has an extensive system of underground roots and rhizomes.

(4) If an inflorescence is present, it will be cylindrical in shape, and fluffy when the seeds have set.

(5) If you can magnify individual seeds, you'll see that the seeds have long silky hairs coming from the bottom, which facilitates dispersion using the wind.

Penulis: A. Sunjian