• Common Name : Illuk / Swordgrass

• Scientific Name : Imperata cylindrica

• Family : Poaceae

• Life cycle : Perannial

• Morphological characters : The stem is erect and arises from an extensive system of tough and scaly un-branched, white, and succulent rhizomes (rootstock). The plant can reach up to 1.5 m in height. Root system – Fibrous. The leaf is flat and linear, narrowing at the tip. It has a razor sharp margin with a hairy base. The flower head is composed of dense creamy-white or silvery-white silky hairs.

• Propagation : By Rhizomes.

• Agricultural importance : Illuk forms a dense mat and produces plenty of leaves that make it nearly impossible for other plants to coexist. It is an alternate host for rust, damping-off, leaf blight, and for root knot nematode. It can reduce yields by up to 90% when not properly controlled. It is a very strong competitor for water, nutrients, and light because it sprouts and grows faster than most crops. Studies show that Illuk contains chemicals (has the allelopathic ability) that prevent the growth of other plant species and contribute to its invasiveness and extreme competitiveness.

• Uses : Used as a soil binder (to prevent soil erosion), animal feed, and herbal medicine.

• Control measures : Frequent cultivation using hand tools and other farm implements. Cutting or slashing every two weeks to kill the rhizomes.