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:


Setaria palmifolia - (J.König) Stapf

Common Name Highland Pitpit. Palm Grass
Family Poaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Open forests, thicket margins, shady path sides[266 ].
Range E. Asia - southern China, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indo-China.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Setaria palmifolia Highland Pitpit. Palm Grass

Setaria palmifolia Highland Pitpit. Palm Grass
Wikimedia.org - Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz


Translate this page:


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Setaria palmifolia is an evergreen Perennial growing to 3 m (9ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Agrostis plicata Lour. Chaetochloa effusa (E.Fourn.) Hitchc. Chaetochloa palmifolia (J.König) Hitchc. & Chase Chaetochloa sulcata (Aubl.) Hitchc. Chamaeraphis effusa (E.Fourn.) Kuntze Chamaeraphis nepalensis (Spreng.) Kuntze Chamaeraphis neurodes (F.W.Schultz) Kuntze Chamaeraphis palmifolia (K.D.Koenig) Kuntze Chamaeraphis paniculifera (Steud.) Kuntze Chamaeraphis sulcata (Aubl.) Kuntze Panicum amplissimum Steud. Panicum kleinianum Nees ex Andersson Panicum lene Steud. Panicum mexicanum Scribn. & Merr. Panicum nepalense Spreng. Panicum nervosum Roxb. Panicum neurodes Schult. Panicum palmatum R.Schleich. Panicum palmifolia J.König Panicum palmifolium J. König Panicum paniculiferum Steud. Panicum plicatum Roxb. Panicum plicatum Willd. Panicum sulcatum Aubl. Setaria effusa E.Fourn. Setaria lenis (Steud.) Miq. Setaria paniculifera (Steud.) E.Fourn. Setaria sulcata (Aubl.) Desv.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Seed  Shoots
Edible Uses:

Seeds - boiled or roasted and used as a substitute for rice[301 ]. The hearts of young shoots can be eaten raw, steamed or cooked with rice[301 ]. Very young plants are eaten raw as a side dish with rice[301 ].

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.

The plant is used medicinally[266 ].

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

Cultivated as an ornamental plant for its palm-like pleated leaves. A folk belief in Taiwan holds that the number of latitudinal creases on the leaf predicts the number of typhoons that will hit the area in the coming or current typhoon season. It is known locally as typhoon grass.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Management: Coppice  Management: Standard  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Balanced carb

Prefers a well-drained but moisture-retentive fertile soil[200 ]. Established plants are drought tolerant[423 ]. The plant has become a weed in many tropical areas[423 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Management: Coppice  Cut to the ground repeatedly - resprouting vigorously. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.
  • Staple Crop: Balanced carb  (0-15 percent protein, 0-15 percent oil, with at least one over 5 percent). The carbohydrates are from either starch or sugar. Annuals include maize, wheat, rice, and potato. Perennials include chestnuts, carob, perennial fruits, nuts, cereals, pseudocereals, woody pods, and acorns.

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

Seed - Division.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Short pitpit, Pleated pigeon-grass, Agusahis, Ayas-as, Highland pitpit, Lachang, Luluwan kebo, Palm grass, Zong ye gou wei cao, Palmgrass, hailans pitpit, broadleaved bristlegrass, knotroot. In Spanish it is called pasto de palma and in Samoan vao 'ofe 'ofe.

Africa, Asia, Australia, Bangladesh, China, Guianas, Guyana, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pacific, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Taiwan, Tibet, USA, West Africa

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.

The plant has become a weed in many tropical areas[423 ]. Palm grass can form a total ground cover, preventing the growth and establishment of seedlings of any other species. Invasive, species in Australia, New Zealand, many Pacific Islands, and the Americas.

Conservation Status

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

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Setaria italicaFoxtail MilletAnnual0.5 10-12  LMHNM422
Setaria pumilaYellow Bristle Grass, Yellow foxtail, Cattail grassAnnual0.8 5-9  LMHNM200
Setaria viridisGreen Bristle GrassAnnual0.5 5-9  LMHNDM220
Setaria viridis pycnocoma Annual0.8 5-9  LMHNM20 

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


(J.König) Stapf

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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 : Setaria palmifolia  
© 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.