Family • Hydrocharitaceae - Enhalus acoroides (L.) Royle - EEL GRASS - Hai chang pu

Scientific names

Enhalus acoroides (L.f.) Royle
Enhalus koenigii Rich ex. Steud.
Enhalus marinus Griff.
Stratiotes acoroides (L.)

Other vernacular names

INDIA: Olai pasi.
INDONESIA: Deringu laut, Jelamun, Lamun.
MALAYSIA: Setul, Jerangau laut.

Common names

Iaai (Tag.)
Lamon (Bik., Tag.)
Lusay (Tag.)
Palaipat-baibai (Ilk.)
Eel grass (Engl.)
Tape seagrass (Engl.)
Hai chang pu (Chin.)

Lamon is an aquatic weed. Leaves are long and ribbonlike, alternating in two ranks. Roots are cordlike with firm black fibers anchored in the bottom mud. Fruits occur singly, connected by spiral stalks to the base of old leaves. Flowers are water pollinated (hydrophilous). Female stalk lengthens before pollination and fertilization. After fertilization, the stalk shortens and coils in a springlike fashion until maturity, and straightening out when the seed are ready for release.


– Found in muddy salt-water gulfs, lagoons, and seagrass areas of the Philippines and other tropical seas.
– in fishponds, waterways, and sea bathing resorts, sometimes colonizing in abundance to cause obstruction of water flow.
– Widespread in the Indo-Pacific, from southern Japan to Taiwan, Indonesia, and Malaysia, extending to China, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Evaluation of seagrasses for their nutritional value / M. Pradheeba, E. Dilipan, E.P. Nobi, T. Thangaradjou and K. Sivakumar* / Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences Vol. 40(1), February 2011, pp. 105-111

(2) Antifeedant, antibacterial, and antilarval compounds from the South China Sea seagrass Enhalus acoroides / Shu-Hua Qi*, Si Zhang, Pei-Yuan Qian and Bin-Gui Wang / Botanica Marina 51 (2008)

(3) Local Knowledge and Conservation of Seagrasses in the Tamil Nadu State of India / Newmaster AF, Berg KJ, Ragupathy S, Palanisamy M, Sambandan K, Newmaster SG / J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2011)

(4) Preliminary Study of the Seagrass Flora of Sabah, Malaysia / Ismail, Norhadi (1993) / Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, 16 (2). pp. 111-118

(5) Potential Seagrass Products for Domestic and Industrial Uses / Marco Nemesio E. Montaño, Ph.D. / The Marine Science Institute, C.S., University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

(6) In vitro antioxidant activities of ethanol extract from Enhalus acoroides (L.F.) Royle / Rengasamy Ragupathi Raja Kannan; Rajasekaran Arumugam; Perumal Anantharaman / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine (November 2010), 3 (11), pg. 898-901 / 10.1016/S1995-7645(10)60216-7

(7) Enhalus acoroides / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED

(8) PHENOL CONTENT, ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY AND FIBERS PROFILE OF FOUR TROPICAL SEAGRASSES FROM INDONESIA / Joko Santoso, Siti Anwariyah, Ria Octavia Rumiantin, Aristi Pramadita Putri, Nabila Ukhty, and Yumiko Yoshie-Stark / Journal of Coastal Develpopment, Volume 15, Number 2 ,February 2012 : 189-196.


– Study for calorific content showed 68.82 K cal g, the highest in the species tested. Leaves and rhizomes also yielded high content of phenols.
– Study yielded eleven pure compounds including four flavonoids and five steroids.
– Study of proximate composition os seeds showed protein 8.8%, lipid 0.2%, carbohydrate 72.4%, ash 6.4%, kCal 3.27.
– In a comparative study of seagrasses, E. acoroides had the lowest insoluble fiber content. Its percentage of soluble fiber against total fibers was 62.4%.


– Studies suggest antimicrobial, antioxidant, antilarval, anticancer properties.

Parts used
Parts used.

Edibility / Nutrition
– Study showed the seagrass to be high in kilocalorie content, with high content of phenols in the leaves and rhizomes, suggesting a potential for feed/food.
– Flour made from Enhalus used in the preparation of Chocolate Chip Cookies.

– No recorded folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
– In India, skin of fresh rhizome is peeled and taken with a cup of sea-water for heart disease and low blood pressure.

– Biomass: A study in Sabah, Malaysia showed seagrass Enhalus acoroides produced very high biomass especially in the muddy habitat bordering mangroves (e.g. total biomass of 468.5 g AFDWm.2).

Study Findings
• Antimicrobial / Anticancer: Study evaluated the leaf extracts of E. acoroides for antimicrobial and anticancer properties. Results showed the ethyl acetate extracts inhibited the growth of all the tested bacteria. On cytotoxicity testing, it killed 50% of HeLa ells.
• Nutritional Value: Study evaluated the biochemical and calorific content of different species of seagrasses. Enhalus acoroides yielded 68.82 K cal g, the highest in the species tested. E. acoroides also yielded maximum values in leaf and rhizomes. The calorific contents of the seagrasses were equivalent to Bengal gram, peas, potato, and sweet potatoes. Results suggest seagrasses could be considered feed/food.
• Antifeedant / Antibacterial / Antilarval: Study yielded eleven pure compounds including four flavonoids and five steroids. Three flavonoids were antifeedant against second-instar larvae ofSpodoptera litura. Two flavonoids have antibacterial activity against several marine bacteria. One flavonoids showed strong antilarval activity against Bugula neritina larvae.
• Biomass Reduction from Solar Radiation and Tidal Exposure: Monitoring over eleven years revealed a declining trend in above-ground biomass (54% significant reduction from 2000 to 2010) which negatively correlated with tidal exposure and solar radiation. Enhalus acoroides contributes to the canopy habitat that provides for diverse, endangered, and economically important fauna throughout the Indo-Pacific bio-region.
• Antioxidant: Study of leaf sample yielded high levels of phenolic and proanthocyanidins when compared to root and rhizome. The leaf samples exhibited high antioxidant activity, higher percentage of DPPH radical scavenging activity and higher reducing power. There was significant correlation between the phenolic and proanthocyanidin content with the antioxidant activity.
• Antioxidant / Fiber Content: Study evacuated four tropical seagrasses from Indonesia. An methanol extract of E. acoroides showed high activity on scavenging DPPH radicals. It also showed the highest content of soluble fiber.