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Genus Echinochloa Family Poaceae

Description: Tufted or rhizomatous annuals or perennials.

Leaves with ligule absent from upper leaves, sometimes ciliate on lower leaves; blade rolled in bud.

Inflorescence of racemes on a primary axis.

Spikelets plano-convex, 2 or 3 together or clustered mostly on 1 side of branch, usually stiffly hispid, falling entire; florets 2, lower sterile or male, upper bisexual. Glumes unequal, ± hispid on nerves; lower c. 50% of spikelet length, 3–5-nerved, apex often mucronate; upper subequal to spikelet, apex mucronate or with a short awn, convex on back, 5–7-nerved. Lemmas 2; lower equal to or longer than upper glume (excluding cusps and awns). Back of fertile lemma adaxial, apex apiculate or obtuse. Paleas 2; lower equal to lemma; upper subequal to lemma. Lodicules 2, cuneate, fleshy. Stamens 3.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 30 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: 17 species (9 species native, 8 species naturalized), all States.

Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & T. A. James
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Ligules on at least lower leaves a fringe of long stiff hairs; either stout reed-like perennials to c. 4.5 m tall with long rhizomes, or decumbent aquatic or semi aquatic perennials to c. 2 m tall2
Ligules of lower leaves usually absent or minutely pubescent, sometimes ciliate; tufted annuals to c. 3 m tall, usually neither as stout not as decumbent as the preceding3
2Stout, reed-like perennials c. 4.5 m tall with long rhizomes; spikelets 3–4.5 mm long; fertile lemma 2.7–3 mm longEchinochloa pyramidalis
Decumbent aquatic or semi-aquatic perennials to c. 2 m tall; spikelets 4.5–6 mm long; fertile lemma 2.5–5 mm long
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Echinochloa polystachya
3Glumes and lower lemma without small spines, almost smooth between the nerves and scabrous between the nerves; primary axis of inflorescence and raceme axes smooth (sometimkes minutely scabrous on the angles); branch bristles absent; rather few spikelets on racemesEchinochloa lacunaria
Upper glume and/or lower lemma with small spines or hispid on nerves and scabrous between the nerves; primary axis of inflorescence and raceme axes scabrous, bristles usually present; spikelets more or less crowded
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4Racemes crowded with spikelets, inflorescences very compact; spikelets broad-elliptic, 3–4.5 mm long, awnless, grain plump; upper part of fertile floret exposed at maturity5
Racemes less crowded and spikelets usually to 1 side; spikelets elliptic to ovate, 2.5–7 mm long, awned or awnless; grain less plump; fertile floret not exposed at maturity
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5Spikelets always pale, usually obtuse at maturity; grain whitish; cultivatedEchinochloa frumentacea
Spikelets purplish to blackish brown, shortly acute; grain brownish
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Echinochloa esculenta
6Spikelets 4–7 mm long; axis of inflorescence more or less horizontal at maturity with racemes drooping but plants erect; mature grain usually 2.5–3 mm longEchinochloa oryzoides
Spikelets to 5 mm long; axis of inflorescence not horizontal at maturity, racemes erect, spreading or drooping
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7Shining back of fertile lemma acuminate, narrowing evenly and gradually into a long, greenish tip; nerves of upper glume and lower lemma with spreading spines with conspicuous swollen basesEchinochloa microstachya
Shining back of fertile lemma abruptly and obtusely different from short, scabrous tip; nerves of upper and lower lemma with tubercle-based bristles, usually not widely spreading or with conspicuously swollen bases
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8Spikelets 2–3 mm long; inflorescence usually less than 2 cm wide9
Spikelets 3–5 mm long; inflorescence more than 2 cm wide
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9Spikelets 2–3 mm long, inflorescence usually <2 cm wideEchinochloa colona
Spikelets 2.5–3 mm long, awned or not, conspicuously arranged in rows; bristles on axes of inflorescence few–numerous
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Echinochloa crus-galli
10Spikelets on short, rigid branches 1–4 cm long, rarely awned; nerves of lower lemma scabrous; bristles on axes of inflorescence absent or fewEchinochloa turneriana
Spikelets on branches to 10 cm long, awned or not; nerves of lower lemma spinulose with tubercle-based hairs; bristles on axes of inflorescence few–numerous
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11Main axis of inflorescence with few bristles at nodes12
Main axis of inflorescence with numerous bristles at nodes
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12Inflorescence erect, branches not usually wavy; awns if present to 5 cm longEchinochloa crus-galli
Inflorescence more or less drooping with slender, wavy branches; awn, if present, to 3 cm long
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Echinochloa inundata
13Upper glume awnless; lower lemma with an awn to 10 mm long; inflorescence drooping with slender, wavy branchesEchinochloa crus-pavonis
Upper glume often with an awn to 7 mm long; lower lemma usually with an awn to 5 cm long; inflorescence erect or slightly drooping
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14Fertile floret narrow-elliptic, 3–4.2 mm long; grain oblong to oblong-ovate, 1.8–2.3 mm longEchinochloa telmatophila
Fertile floret broad-ovate to elliptic, 2.5–4 mm long; grain circular to ovate, 1.4–2 mm long
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Echinochloa crus-galli

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