Schamahirse ( Echinochloa colona )

The chicken millet ( Echinochloa ) are a genus of grasses that are native mainly in the warmer regions of the world. Some species are cultivated as forage grasses.


In the genus there are both annuals such as perennial species with often harsh and rigid stems.

The leaves are flat and linear to broadly linear. A ligule is missing or consists only of short eyelashes. The lower part of the leaf sheath is strongly flattened in some species.

The inflorescence consists of a central axis, a branch off the grapes. This partial inflorescences are densely covered with spikelets that are so short-stemmed, the grapes almost like ears look like. The spikelets are in pairs, each pair having a spikelets nearly sessile, stalked one is more or less clear. In some species these are Ährchenpaare groups contracted in turn grapes similar partial inflorescences. The Ährchenpaare available in two to four rows but by this contraction often not well recognized.

The spikelets are two flowered, the lower flower is reduced to the outer husk. This makes it seem as if each spikelet glumes three. The style of the spikelets are narrow elliptic to roundish. Often they are short bristly hairs until shortly prickly. The glumes are awned acuminate to very short and thick. The lower glume is only 1/4 to 1/2 times as long as the spikelet. The two upper glumes then wrap the spikelets and take 5-7 more or less protruding ribs.

The top palea has a recurved tip, which is, however, usually hidden under the envelope and lemmas. Nevertheless, these recurved palea tip applies together with the lack ligule as an important feature that distinguishes the species of closely related genera, such as the genus Brachiaria.

Distribution and habitat requirements

The chickens millets are mainly found in the tropics and warmer areas of the world. Some species penetrate into the temperate zones.

All species prefer damp or wet locations.

Types (selection)

The genus consists of about 20 to 35 species.

  • Schamahirse (E. colona (L.) Link ) is grown in India and East Africa as a forage crop and grain crop ( " Schama " or " Chindumba ").
  • Barnyardgrass (E. crus- galli (L. ) P. Beauv. ), Occurs worldwide in areas with a temperate or warm climates. In Europe, it can be a troublesome weed in gardens or fields.
  • Japan millet (E. frumentacea link), is grown in East Asia and North America as a food and as a forage crop.
  • Bristly barnyardgrass (E. muricata ( P. Beauv. ) Fernald ), she is the E. crus- galli similar
  • Echinochloa oryzoides ( Ard. ) ​​Fritsch ( syn. E. oryzicola Vasinger ) can, just like the barnyardgrass (E. crus- galli ), very rice (Oryza ) are similar, in the fields, it can occur as a weed.

Sources and further information