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Taxonomical study on Aristida setacea Retz., a veritable treasure for tribals of Hazaribagh District

Nirbhay Ambastaa & C.T.N. Singhb
aDepartment of Botany, Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribagh.
bDepartment of Botany, Ramgarh College, Ramgarh.
Received 7th June, 2010; Revised 21st August, 2010

Abstract : Aristida setacea Retz. is a perennial plant belonging to the family Poaceae. Its Sub- family is Pooideae. The main characteristics of the sub-family being  –  Mature Spikelets breaking up, leaving more or, less persistent glumes on the pedicel or, if falling entire then not consisting of heteromorphous florets. It’s sub- tribe is Aristideae. The principle characteristic of the sub- tribe being – annual or, perennials, herbs leaf blades not articulate on the sheath; lodicules 2. Spikelets many flowered; awn trifid. Aristida is moderately tall grass measuring up to 150cms. It’s culms are erect, simple or sub-fastigiately  branched. The leaves are filiform, convolute, scaberulous with finely projected tip. It measures around 30cms at maximum in length and is at the most 2mm broad. The Plant is securely attached to the soil by strong and elaborate fibrous root system. The plant is gregarious and is eaten by cattle when young. It has ubiquitous distribution and can be located practically through out India. However it has a liking for red laterite soil of Jharkhand and is found to be growing through out the year in the ravines and hills of Hazaribagh District and also other Districts of Jharkhand. The culms bear elaborate panicles  of 18- 36 cms  length which appear to be inclined  in one direction or the other. They appear contracted and the branches are scaberulous and fascicled. The spikelets bear typical three partite awns. The plant is of great economical use for the tribes and forest dwellers. The culms are used extensively for making brooms and those can be located in virtually every house hold in Jharkhand, so much so that broom making from Aristida culms  has been a sort of cottage industry of this region. The other notable uses to which this grass is lend is making of  brushes, screens  frames and ropes.


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