Locally common by the name Karuka Pullu or Durva Grass, Cynodon dactylon is a type of grass from the family Poaceae. It has a wide range of distribution in India from the valleys of Kashmir to Kerala in the south.
Based on the color of the stem, there are two varieties of Karuka. One is white while the other is blue.
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Plant Type: Perennial Grass
Scientific name: Cynodon dactylon
Height: 5 to 10 cm
Main uses: As a medicinal herb, for making lawns
English: Bermuda Grass
Sanskrit: Durva, Anantha, Shataparvika
This herb thrives in the ground by spreading its dense root networks. Like the Indian Pennywort, Karuka has leaves originating upwards from the stem nodes while the roots grow downward.
The blade-like leaves are 5 cm long with the flowers light green in color.
When spread in lawns or courtyards, it looks like a beautiful green carpet.
Cynodon dactylon grows well in tropical climates. It thrives on different types of soils ranging from moist to semi-arid. It spreads very fast and has extensive rhizomes. Due to this, it is also listed as one of the worst weeds [The world’s worst weeds. Distribution and biology – Leroy G. Holme].
Although an agricultural weed in many places, Karuka or Durva possess several valuable medicinal properties. Many of the tribes in India use it to cure a wide variety of ailments.
In many religions, this grass is sacred. In Hinduism, it is used for Ganapathi Homam.