Ochlandra travancorica Benth. ex Gamble

Ochlandra travancorica Benth. ex Gamble  (GRAMINEAE)
Common names
Kannada: Vaate bidiru.
Malayalam: Etta, Kar-etta, Vai.
Tamil: Eral, Era-katti, Nanal, Odai.

Description:  Shrubby, reed-like bamboo. Culms erect, up to 6 m tall and 5 cm in diam.; internodes hollow. Culm sheaths truncately rounded, up to 20 cm long, mouth bearing stiff bristles; blade subulate. Leaves broadly oblong-lanceolate, up to 30 x 12 cm, often obliquely rounded at base, long setaceous at apex; sheath ending in a smooth callus and short, falcate auricles. Inflorescence a subverticillate, spicate panicle with a few large fertile spikelets and a few much smaller sterile spikelets. Spikelets ovate or oblong-ovate, up to 4 x 1 cm. Glumes up to 5 cm long, mucronate. Stamens up to 120, monadelphous. Stigmas 5-6, plumose. Fruit a caryopsis, oval-oblong, ca 7.5 cm, brown.

Flowering : Flowering cycle of the species is reported to be 7 years. The plant dies down after flowering.

Distribution: India: Gregarious in the lowland evergreen and semi-evergreen forests ofWestern Ghats often along the sides of rivers and streams. Endemic.

Uses:  An ideal material for paper pulp.It is great demand locally for mat and basket making, umbrella handles and walking-sticks. It is also used for temporary huts and thatching. The leaves are eaten by elephants and can be fed to horses if grass is scarce.