Cynodon dactylon L Pers

Common names: Creeping dog's tooth grass; chiendentpied de poule (French); guna (Sanskrit); grama comun (Spanish); rumput minyak (Malay); arugampillu (Tamil).

Physical description: It is an invasive herb of the sandy coastal area, coast roads, sandy mangrove sedge area and dry sandy coasts of the Asia-Pacific. The stems are long and stoloniferous. The internodes are 1 cm-1.5cm long. The plant is creeping and forms a matted tuft with long and thin erect or ascending flowering branches which are 7.5cm-30cm long. Leaves: small, rigid, alternate and glabrous. The sheath is 5 mm-8 mm long. A few hairs are present at the junction between blade and sheath. The blade is 1.3cm-9mm x 3mm-4mm, without midrib and with a microscopically serrate margin. The inflorescences consist of 2-6 purplish spikelets which are 1.4cm-3cm long. The involucral glume is lanceolate, acute to subulate-mucronulate, with the lower one being 1 mm-1.6 mm long and the upper one being slightly longer. The floral glume is obliquely oblong and approximately 2 mm long. The anthers are oblong and 1 mm long (Fig. 407).

Pharmaceutical interest: Oral administration of a decoction of Cynodon dactylon protects rabbits against hyperglycemia, caused by subcutaneous injection of 50% dextrose solution at a dose of 4 mL/Kg of weight (Ramos R etal., 1992).

tooth and daktulos = finger]

Fig. 407. Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. From: KLU Herbarium 35293. Flora of Singapore. The Herbarium, Botanic Garden Singapore. Geographical localization: near Km. 13, West Coast Road, open waste area, Singapore, altitude: 2 m, date: 1 Feb 1983. Field collector & botanical identification: JF Maxwell.

Fig. 407. Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. From: KLU Herbarium 35293. Flora of Singapore. The Herbarium, Botanic Garden Singapore. Geographical localization: near Km. 13, West Coast Road, open waste area, Singapore, altitude: 2 m, date: 1 Feb 1983. Field collector & botanical identification: JF Maxwell.

Uses: Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. is deified by the Hindus who believe that a nymph dwells in the plant. In the Atharva-Veda, it is thus addressed "May DUrva...from the water of life, which has a hundred roots and a hundred stems, efface a hundred of my sins, and prolong my existence on earth a hundred years". It is used in India to treat hallucinations, epileptic fits, fatigue, leprosy, skin diseases, dysentery and epistaxis. In China, Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. is used to remove impurities, promote the production of blood after hemorrhages and to resolve swelling. In Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, the plant is used to promote urination and appetite, combat fever and to assuage stomachache. In the Philippines, the plant is used to promote urination and to treat gyneco-urinary diseases.

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