An Analysis of Functional Groups and Potential Values of Herbaceous Species of Grasslands in West Timor, Indonesia

Mangadas Lumban Gaol, I Wayan Mudita


This study was to determine the composition of plant functional groups and the potential value of herbaceous species present in grassland communities of West Timor. Ten stations in grassland of Kupang West Timor (Penfui, Alak, Bakunase, Tode, Mulafa, Oesapa, Tanah Merah, Tilong, Bukit Cinta, and Naketuka) were selected and at each stations, 15 plots 1 m x 1 m (∑150) were randomly place. In each plot, all herbaceous presents were recorded. Each plant was further classified into four functional groups, whether grasses, sedges, legumes, or forbs. Plants were also grouped based on their potential whether they were food plants, medicinal plants, ornamental plants, forage plants, or poisonous plants. For each species present, the number of individuals, dominance, frequency, and Importance Value Index (IVI) were calculated. From 150 plots, there were 134 herb species from 32 families. Of these species, grass (Poaceae) was 26 (19.40%) species (IVI 25.24%) while non-grass was 108 (80.60%) species (IVI 74.76%). Grasslands were dominated by non-grass species. Based on the IVI, plants were dominated by Euphorbia hirta L. (IVI 13.93%), Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn. (IVI 12.46&), Cyperus rotundus L. (IVI 11.72%), Digitaria ciliaris (Retz.) Koeler (IVI 11.12%), Senna tora (L.) Roxb. (IVI 9.54%), Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze (IVI 9.35%), and Tridax procumbens L. (IVI 9.17%). Of the 134 species, the forbs was 77 (57.46%) species (IVI 54.75%), grass 26 (19.40%) species (IVI 26.25%), legumes 20 (14.93%) species ( IVI 12.41%), and sedges 10 (7.461%) species (IVI 6.09%). Grasslands were dominated by forbs based on the number of species and IVI. Of the existing species, 43 (31.34%) were food plants (IVI 34.62%); 77 (67.46%) were medicinal plants (IVI 61.97%); 14 (10.45%) were ornamental plants (IVI 11.45%), 23 (17.16%) were forage plants (IVI 25.14%), and 5 (3.73%) were poisonous plants (IVI 2.31%). The grassland was dominated by food plants and medicinal plants. Although the herbaceous in the grasslands of West Timor were generally seen as weeds, the potential of grassland to provide medicinal, food, ornamental plants, and fodder was quite large. Nearly 70% of the species were potential for medicinal, almost 50% were potential for food, and more than 10% were potential for ornamental plants. It is necessary to further explore the economic potential of these grasslands. The high dominance of forbs compared to grasses and legumes may be an indication that this grassland has been severely invaded by weeds and has experienced disturbances. The composition of grassland vegetation, in general was less than ideal as a grazing area. Efforts were needed to improve the legume, suppressing weed invasion and poisonous plants, and human interference in the area must also be reduced.

Keywords: grasslands, herbs, Importance Value Index, food plant, medicinal plants

DOI: 10.7176/JBAH/13-14-04

Publication date:August 31st 2023

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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