Fimbristylis umbellaris (Lamk) Vahl

Fimbristylis umbellaris (Lamk) Vahl




Scirpus umbellaris Lamk, Scirpus globulosus Retzius, Fimbristylis globulosa (Retzius) Kunth.

Vernacular Names


Rumput sandang (Peninsular).


Globular fimbristylis.


Men dong (Javanese), jukut bubu-ut (Sundanese), werot (North Sulawesi).


Tikog (Bisaya, Cebuano), badang-badang (Ilokano), ana­hiunan (Manobo,  Cebuano).


Phrong klom noi (Trang).


C[or] qu[aw]m bloo]ng tr[of]n.

Geographical Distributions

Fimbristylis um­bellaris originates from Southeast Asia and is distributed from India and Sri Lanka through Southeast Asia to China, Japan (Ryukyu Is­lands), Micronesia and Polynesia. In Southeast Asia, it occurs in Indo-China, Peninsular Malay­sia, Indonesia (throughout), Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines (throughout) and New Guinea. It is cultivated in Peninsular Malaysia, Indonesia (West Sumatra, Java, North Sulawesi) and the Philippines.


Fimbristylis um­bellaris is an erect, hairless and perennial herb, which can grow up to 120 cm tall, with a short horizontal rhizome clothed with brown scales and grows densely tufted in a clump. The stem is rigid, obtusely three-angled to nearly cylindrical, measuring 20-120(-200) cm x 1-5 mm (in cultivation, it reaches 2 m or taller), usually flattened below the inflorescence, striate, smooth and light green.

The leaves on the stem are reduced to bladeless, cylindri­cal, obliquely truncate sheaths with brown mar­gins where the lower ones are scale-like, and 2-4 cm long, while the upper ones are up to 20 cm long. The leaves of sterile shoots are nar­row and short, flat or channeled, about 1.5 mm wide and without ligule.

The inflorescence is usually a much reduced simple or compound umbel or open corymb, measures up to 10 cm long and with up to 40 spikelets. There are 2-3 basal involucral bracts which are erect, lance-shaped and measure up to 1 cm long. There are up to 10 primary rays  which are unequal, measure up to 5 cm long and smooth. The spikelets are solitary, spherical, ovoid or ellipsoid, measuring 4-8(-12) mm x 3-4 mm, densely many-flowered and red-brown. The rachilla is persistent and narrowly winged while the glumes are spirally arranged and tightly imbricated, membranous, ovate, measure up to 2.5 mm x 1.5 mm, obtuse at base, with broadly white-membranous margins, rounded at apex and often torn and obscurely 2-3-veined on both sides of the ridged midrib which ends below the apex. The flowers are bisexu­al. There are 2-3 stamens about 1 mm long. The anthers are oblong-linear. The style is 1-2 mm long. It widens at the base, hairless, usually three-angled with 3 stigmas but some­times flat with only 2 stigmas and articulated with the ovary (falling off as a whole).

The fruit is a nut-like, compressed-three-angled or biconvex achene, measuring 0.8-1 mm x 0.6-0.8 mm, finely warty and pale yellow when mature.

Ecology / Cultivation

Fimbristylis umbellaris grows well at an average temperature of 25-27°C with ample sunshine. It generally needs fertile soils with regular irriga­tion and grows well on soils rich in organic matter and on clay loams or sandy loams, with a pH of (4.5-)6-7(-8). It is sometimes grown in a 'sawah' (irrigated rice field) which is less suitable for rice cultivation, but more often it is planted in natu­rally wet locations, which are terraced like 'sawahs'. In Tasikmalaya Regency, it is usually grown at 300-700 m altitude. F. umbellaris grows wild, frequently abundantly, in open, wet loca­tions, such as swamps and grasslands, usually at low altitudes, rarely up to 1000 m. In Indonesia, F. umbellaris is considered a weed of minor impor­tance in rice fields, where it can be controlled by chemical means.

Line Drawing / Photograph



1.       Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.17: Fibre plants.