We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Echinochloa polystachya - (Kunth) Hitchc.

Common Name Aleman Grass. German grass
Family Poaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None Known
Habitats Aleman grass is an aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial grass. It forms dense stands in swampy areas and along banks of watercourses.
Range Native to North America, Mesoamerica, South America. Naturalized in Tropical and southern Africa, tropical Asia, southern South America and Hawaii. Introduced to northern Australia but not widespread.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Water Plants Full sun
Echinochloa polystachya Aleman Grass. German grass

Echinochloa polystachya Aleman Grass. German grass


Translate this page:


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Echinochloa polystachya is a PERENNIAL growing to 2 m (6ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can grow in water.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Echinochloa spectabilis (Nees) Link. Oplismenus polystachyus Kunth. Oplismenus spectabilis (Trin.) Kunth. Orthopogon hirsutus Spreng. ex Steud. [Invalid]. Panicum bonplandianum Steud. Panicum phyllanthum Steud.Panicum polystachyum (Kunth) Steud. [Illegitimate]. Panicum spectabile Nees ex Trin. Pseudechinolaena spectabilis (Nees ex Trin.) Herter

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None Known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None Known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses

Carbon Farming Solutions - Industrial Crop: biomass (Crops grown for non-food uses. Industrial crops provide resources in three main categories: materials, chemicals, and energy. Traditional materials include lumber and thatch, paper and cardboard, and textiles) [1-1].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Biomass  Management: Hay  New Crop

Climate: warm temperate to tropical. Humidity: humid. Tolerates a wide range of soil fertility, but prefers soils of medium to high fertility. Grows in clay soils. It is adapted to soil pH 4.0–8.0 and has some resistance to sodicity . Very tolerant of poor drainage. Its natural habitat is seasonally flooded wetlands, but can grow under very high rainfall (>1,900 mm) conditions. Generally no growth under dry conditions unless there is a high water table, but re-establishes from stems and stolons with subsequent flooding. Normally grown in water to 1 m depth but can persist for short periods in deeper water to 3 m. Grows best in wet or seasonally flooded areas, where flooding can occur for 7–12 months of the year. No frost tolerance. Full sunlight [415]. Aleman grass is a high yielding species with average DM yields of 8-12 t/ha in South America and 10-20 t/ha in Australia. It was reported to yield as much as 99 tons DM/ha in Brazil. In Australia, it has been introduced to enhance the productivity of Para grass stands. In India it was reported to yield much higher green biomass, dry matter and crude protein than Para grass. Carbon Farming Solutions - Cultivation: new crop. Management: hay. (Describes the non-destructive management systems that are used in cultivation) [1-1].

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Biomass  Three broad categories: bamboos, resprouting woody plants, and giant grasses. uses include: protein, materials (paper, building materials, fibers, biochar etc.), chemicals (biobased chemicals), energy - biofuels
  • Management: Hay  Cut to the ground and harvested annually. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • New Crop  Most new crops were important wild plants until recently, although some are the result of hybridization. They have been developed in the last few, decades. What they have in common is that they are currently cultivated by farmers. Examples include baobab, argan, and buffalo gourd.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

Aleman grass spreads vegetatively when broken stems, runners and roots are moved in water.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Aleman grass, German grass (Australia, Panama); Creeping river grass (North America); Pasto alemain (Venezuela); Pardegrao, Prasigrasi (Surinam)

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Native to North America: Mexico, USA - Florida, Louisiana, Texas. Mesoamerica: Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama. Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago. South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay. Native to swamps, lake shores and wet-lands. Naturalized in: Tropical and southern Africa, tropical Asia, southern South America and Hawaii. Introduced to northern Australia but not widespread.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Aleman grass has been recognised as a serious crop weed in India, Mexico and Argentina. In southern USA, it is a significant weed of rice crops and crayfish production. It is also considered a weed in Hawaii, Sri Lanka, Chad and Zaire. In Australia, infestations have occurred in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and northern New South Wales (NSW), where aleman grass has invaded seasonally flooded areas, swamps and the banks of watercourses.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Echinochloa colonaJungle RiceAnnual1.0 0-0  LMHNM200
Echinochloa crus-galliBarnyard Millet, Barnyardgrass,Annual1.2 5-9  LMHNM322
Echinochloa frumentaceaJapanese Millet, Billion-dollar grassAnnual1.8 0-0  LMHNM31 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Kunth) Hitchc.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Echinochloa polystachya  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.