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Family Poaceae
Leersia hexandra Sw.
Li shi he

Scientific names Common names
Asprella australis (R.Br.) Roem. & Schult.             Barit (Tagalog)
Asprella brasiliensis (Spreng.) Schult.             Clubhead cutgrass (Engl.)
Asprella hexandra (Sw.) P.Beauv.            Cutgrass (Engl.)
Asprella mexicana (Kunth) Roem. & Schult.             Rice grass (Engl.)
Asprella purpurea Bojer             Swamp rice grass (Engl.)
Blepharochloa ciliata Endl.             Southern cutgrass (Engl.)
Homalocenchrus gouinii (E.Fourn.) Kuntze              
Homalocenchrus hexander (Sw.) Kuntze        
Hygroryza ciliata (Retz.) Steud.              
Leersia abyssinica Hochst. ex A.Rich.              
Leersia aegyptiaca Fig. & De Not.             
Leersia australis R.Br.            
Leersia brasiliensis Spreng.           
Leersia capensis Müll.Hal.           
Leersia ciliaris Griff.           
Leersia ciliata (Retz.) Roxb.           
Leersia compressa A.Chev..           
Leersia contracta Nees           
Leersia dubia F.Aresch.           
Leersia elongata Willd. ex Trin.           
Leersia ferox Fig. & De Not.           
Leersia glaberrima Trin.           
Leersia gouinii E.Fourn.           
Leersia gracilis Willd. ex Trin.           
Leersia graffithiana Müll.Hal.           
Leersia hexandra Sw..           
Leersia luzonensis J.Presl           
Leersia mauritanica Salzm. ex Trin.           
Leersia mauritiaca Salzm. ex Trin.           
Leersia mexicana Kunth           
Leersia parviflora Desv.           
Leersia triniana Sieber ex Trin.           
Oryza australis R.Br. ex Schweinf.           
Oryza hexandra (Sw.) Döll           
Oryza mexicana (Kunth) Döll           
Pharus ciliatus Retz           
Pseudoryza ciliata (Retz.) Griff.         
Zizania ciliata (Retz.) Spreng.         
Salacca zalacca (Gaertn.) Voss is an accepted name. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
BRAZIL: Andrequice, Arroz bravo, Arroz-de-Guiana, Capim-marreca, Grama-boiadeira, Grama-de-brejo.
CHINESE: Li shi he.
CREOLE GUYANE: Herbe a ble.
FRENCH: Herbe rasoir.
INDONESIAN: Rumput darat, Rumpuik banto, Kalamenta.
JAPANESE: Taiwanashikaki.
MALGACHE: Hosy hosy, Vilona, Tsingirifotse, Tsiriry, Ahikongona, Ahitsiriry.
NIGERIA: Yaudeho, Madariki, Abeko.
SENEGAL: Mutut, Kameteo.
SPANISH: Arrocillo, Arrocillo rosado, Lambedora, Lamedora, Arroz bravo, Hierba de arroz, Pasto de agua.
THAILAND: Yaa sai.

Gen info
- Leersia hexandra is a species of grass in the family Poaceae. It is pantropical in distribution; also introduced in many regions, sometimes becoming invasive. It is an agricultural weed of various crops, especially rice, but also tea, rubber, maize, and sugarcane. (2)
- It is an aquatic or semi-aquatic grass, and the erect stems parts may float in water. In aquatic habitats, the stems may grow densely and become matted, forming "carpets". (2)
- Etymology: The common name "cutgrass" derives from the leaf margin that is unpleasantly razor-like.  The leaf midrib develops reflexed hooks which can inflict painful lacerations on bare skin. (8)

A species of perennial aquatic or semi-aquatic grass growing from rhizomes and stolons. Hollow stems are decumbent and creeping and root easily where their nodes contact the substrate. Erect shoots can exceed one meter tall. Erect stem parts may float in water, and can grow densely in aquatic habitat and become matted, forming what are often referred to as "carpets". Leaf sheath has a fleshy base covered in white hairs and the ligule can be stiff and dry, becoming "papery". Leaves have sharp-pointed blades up to 30 centimeters long which are flat or rolled, the edges sometimes rolling at night or when the blade dries. Blades are sometimes hairless, but are usually coated in very rough hairs, making them so rough to the touch that they are "unpleasant to handle". They also have very sharp edges, and the midrib has backward-facing, spiny hairs that give it a cutting edge. The "retrorsely spinulose midrib of the leaf can inflict most painful lacerations". Panicle is narrow or spreading and erect or nodding, and up to about 12 centimeters long. The branches are almost fully lined with overlapping spikelets each up to half a centimeter long. Spikelets may be greenish or purplish in color, or sometimes tinged with orange or brick red. They are surrounded by white or purplish bracts that have characteristic comb-like hairs along their greenish nerves. Flower has six stamens. After the spikelets fall, the panicle branches have a zig-zag shape. Fertile seed is rarely produced and the grass commonly reproduces vegetatively by sprouting from the rhizome or the nodes on the stem. Large stands of the grass are often clones.

This grass looks very similar to rice and other species of the genus Oryza. It is a member of the rice tribe Oryzeae and sometimes grows in rice paddies. (2)

- Native to the Philippines. (1)
- Some compilations list it as introduced.
- Pantropical.
- Grows primarily in the dry tropical biome.

- A principal weed of rice in Madagascar, the Philippines, and Sarawak; a serious weed of tea in Indonesia, a weed of maize in Indonesia, and of sugarcane in Australia , the Philippines, and Tanzania. (7)

- Indian material recorded a protein content of 5.83% dry matter. Plants grown in southern USA reported 8.6% protein content and dry matter digestibility at 44-53%. (8)
- Acetone extract of seeds yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, and terpenoids. (see study below) (9)

- Studies have suggest antihypertensive, phytoremediation, cytotoxicity, antibacterial, antiproliferative properties.

Parts used
Leaves, stems, roots, seeds.


-Fruits are e
- In Nepal, used for treatment of hypertension and improvement of liver and kidneys.
- In Indonesia, leaf decoction used for asthma. (6)
- In Indonesia, used for treatment of lumbago and hypertension.
- Leaves, stems, and roots used for pulmonary problems. In Senegal, preparations (part not specified) used for treatment of coughing accompanied by hemoptysis. (8)
- Fodder: Cultivated as forage for livestock.
The grass provides useful fodder in many territories, especially when young. In Australia, it is considered best forage for horse and cattle, either green or as hay. However, plants in the Philippines have been found to produce traces of hydrocyanic acid in the leaves and stems, more in the roots. In some countries, the plant is highly valued as fodder and is actually cultivated in swamps or under irrigation like rice. (8)
- Hyperaccumulator of heavy metals: It has ability to take up large amounts of chromium, copper, and nickel from water and soil. It is considered a potential phytoremediative agent to clean up metal-contaminated soils and water, including various kinds of industrial waste water. (2)

Antihypertensive / Ethanol-Induced Hypertension:
Study evaluated the curative effects of aqueous extract of L. hexandra on ethanol-induced hypertension in rats. Ethanol induced a significant rise in mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) and heart rat of normotensive rats. Extract (100 and 200 mg/kg) or nifedipine (10 mg/kg) caused a significant decrease of MAP. Ethanol induced a significant increase in lipid profile, atherogenic index, creatinine, and transaminase activities, and a significant decrease in HDL-cholesterol and antioxidant markers. Treatment significantly improved lipid profile, hepatic and renal functions, and antioxidant status. (3)
Phytoremediation / Contamination with Fresh and Weathered Oil: Study evaluated the bacteria density, plant biomass production and phytoremediation of L. hexandra in contaminated soil. Two experiments were performed in plastic tunnels with fresh (E1) and weathered petroleum (E2) under waterlogging conditions. Results showed the ability of L. hexandra rhizosphere to stimulate high NFB density, vegetal biomass production and phytoremediation of contaminated soils in a tropical waterlogging environment. (4)
Antiproliferative / Anti-Invasive: In vitro study of antiproliferative and cytotoxicity of hexane and butanolic extracts of three grass species i.e., Leersia hexandra, Panicum repens, and Brachiaria mutica demonstrated selective antiproliferative properties in both human lung cancer A549 and cervical cancer HeLa cells lines. The hexane extract of L. hexandra (50-100 µg/ml) effectively reduced the invasive capacity of MDA-MB-231 cells. (5)
Antibacterial / Toxicity / Seed: Study evaluated the phytochemical content, antibacterial activity and cytotoxicity of acetone extract of L. hexandra seeds. Antibacterial testing was carried out against ATCCs of Propionibacterium acnes, Escherichia coli. Bacillus cereus, Salmonella enterica using disc diffusion method. Best antibacterial activity was against B, cereus and S. enterica with inhibition zone range of 8.4-8.6 mm, with MIC and MBC of 625 µg/mL. The seed extract exhibited cytotoxicity by Brine Shrimp Lethality assay using Artemia Salina Leach shrimp larvae. Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, and terpenoids. (9)


October 2023

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Leersia hexandra Sw. / Thhomas Le Bourgeois / CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic / click on image or link to go to source page / image modified / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Leersia hexandra ligule / © Harry Rose / Non-commercial use / click on image or link to go to source page / Wiktrop
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Leersia hexandra / Macleay Grass Man / Non-commercial use / CC Attribution 2.0 Generic / click on image or link to go to source page / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Leersia hexandra / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Leersia hexandra / Wikipedia

Antihypertensive Activity of Leersia hexandra Sw. (Poaceae) Aqueous Extract on Ethanol-Induced Hypertension in Wistar Rat / Danielle Claude Bilanda, Yannick Carlos Tcheutchoua, Pierre Kamtchouing et al / Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2019; 2019: 2897867 / DOI: 10.1155/2019/2897867 /
PMID: 30723512
Use of Leersia hexandra (Poaceae) for soil phytoremediation in soils contaminated with fresh and weathered oil / Alfredo Arias-Trinidad et al / Revista de Biologia Tropical, 2017; 65(1): pp 21-30 /
ISSN: 0034-7744 / DOI: 10.15517/rbt/v65i1.22967
Antiproliferative, apoptotic induction, and antiinvasive effects of Leersia hexandra (L.) Sw., Panicum repens Linn., and Brachiaria mutica (Forsk.) Stapf extracts on human cancer cells / Pintusorn Hansakul, Chatri Ngamkitidechakul, Kornkanok Ingkaninan, Watcharin Panunto / Songklanakarin J Sci Technol., 2009; 31(1): pp 79-84
Ethnobotanical study of wild medicinal plants in Serbajadi protected forest of East Aceh District, Indonesia / Zidni Ilman Navia, Adnan, Tisna Harmawan, Adi Bejo Suwardi / BIODIVERSITAS, 2022; 23(10): pp 4959-4970 / pISSN: 1412-033X / eISSN: 2085-4722 / DOI: 10.13057/biodiv/d231001
Leersia hexandra (southern cut grass) / CABI: Plantwise Plus
Leersia hexandra Sw. / JSTOR: Global Plants
Study of Phytochemical, Antibacterial Activity and Toxicity on Acetone Extract Seed Leersia Hexandra Sw / T Juwitaningsih, Sri Sari, I S Jahro, Saronom Silaban / Journal of Physics Conference Series, 1811(1): 012130 / DOI: 10.1088/1742-6596/1811/1/012130

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants
                                          New plant names needed
The compilation now numbers over 1,300 medicinal plants. While I believe there are hundreds more that can be added to the collection, they are becoming more difficult to find. If you have a plant to suggest for inclusion, please email the info: local plant name (if known), any known folkloric medicinal use, scientific name (most helpful), and, if possible, a photo. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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