Description: Freely branching, creeping perennials or annuals.
Leaves with ligule a membranous rim with hairs, a tuft of hairs on each side; blade rolled in the bud, mostly on the culms, sparsely hairy on both surfaces.
Inflorescence of several short racemes on 1 side of a slender axis or branches reduced to fascicles of spikelets, branches usually with silky hairs.
Spikelets solitary or overlapping in clusters, borne in 2 rows on 1 side of the rachis, disarticulating below the glumes; florets 2, upper bisexual, lower sterile and often reduced to a lemma. Glumes membranous, 3–7-nerved, both, or at least the lower, awned from the apex or apiculate, the lower glume always longer-awned. Sterile lemma longer than the glume; upper mucronate or shortly awned. Lower palea often absent, the upper equal in length to its lemma.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 7 species, most tropical & warm-temp. regions. Australia: 4 species (native), Qld, N.S.W., Vic., N.T.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & S. M. Hastings
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Leaves on the culms lanceolate, length:breadth ratio less than 7 (sometimes broad-lanceolate) usually with strong undulate margins; racemes near the base of the inflorescence to 3–5 cm long but becoming shorter above||Oplismenus aemulus|
|Leaves on the culms narrow-lanceolate, length:breadth ratio more than 10, margins usually not undulate; racemes rarely over 1.5 cm long||2|
|2||Leaves with blade green, with sparse long hairs; upper glume usually awnless, awn of lower glume slender and sometimes wavy||Oplismenus imbecillis|
|Leaves with blade greyish green, densely hairy; racemes always reduced to fascicles of spikelets; awns on glumes rigid and somewhat stout|
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