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Genus Chloris Family Poaceae

Description: Tufted or stoloniferous perennials or annuals, culms often branched.

Leaves with sheath often with hairs at the orifice, striate, smooth; ligule a ciliate, membranous rim; blade rolled or folded in bud.

Inflorescence a digitate or subdigitate arrangement of 2–15 erect or spreading spikes or spike-like racemes; spikelets usually overlapping in 2 rows along 1 side of the slender rachis.

Spikelets solitary, sessile or shortly pedicellate, disarticulating above the glumes and between any fertile florets; florets 2–7, the lowest 1–few bisexual, others sterile. Glumes unequal, keeled, acute or mucronate. Lemmas 2–7, lowest mostly 3-nerved, lateral nerves submarginal, central nerve extended into an awn, callus bearded. Palea subequal to the lemma. Grain triangular in cross section; embryo c. 50% as long as caryopsis.

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 40 species, tropical & warm-temp. regions. Australia: 13 species (7 species native, 6 species naturalized), all mainland States.

Many Chloris species are valuable for forage in native and natural pastures, despite reports of high contents of cyanogenetic glycosides; C. gayana is an important pasture grass all over the world. Key from Wheeler et al. (1990).

Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & S. M. Hastings
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Callus 2.5 mm long, sharp-pointed; sterile florets usually 4–7; lemmas 5–7-nerved, margins broad, with a wing-like upper partOxychloris scariosa
Callus minute, obtuse, sterile florets usually 1–3; lemmas not winged, usually 3-nerved2
2Spikelets blunt at the apex; upper lemma(s) (of sterile florets) obtuse or truncate, notched or obscurely lobed3
Spikelets acute and narrowed at the apex; upper lemma acute, acuminate, subulate or deeply divided into 2 lobes or teeth with an awn in the sinus
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3Lemma of the fertile (lowest) floret hairy on the lower and upper margins (upper margins of fertile lemma often bearded)4
Lemma of the fertile floret glabrous on the lower part of the margins (but sometimes hairy above)
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4Florets 3 or 4, at least 1 bisexual, the other(s) imperfect (reduced to a lemma); strongly stoloniferous perennial; spikes frequently in 2 whorlsChloris gayana
Florets 2, 1 bisexual, the other imperfect and reduced to a lemma; lower lemma apex bearded with hairs 2–3 mm long; plants annual, tufted or stoloniferous; spikes rarely in 2 whorls
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Chloris virgata
5Lemma of the fertile floret glabrous or puberulous on the margins; upper awn usually shorter than the spikelet; spikes 3–5, each 4–10 cm long; stems usually branchedChloris ventricosa
Lemma of the fertile floret pubescent on the upper margins; upper awn longer than the spikelet; spike-like racemes 6–9, each 4–20 cm long; plants often stoloniferous, stems usually unbranched
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Chloris truncata
6Spike-like racemes 3.5–9 cm long; fertile lemma (including callus and lobes) 3–5.5 mm long, usually smooth; spikelets diverging from the axis like fingers of a combChloris pectinata
Spike-like racemes 7–20 cm long and widely spreading at maturity; fertile lemma (including callus and lobes) 2–3 mm long, scabrous; spikelets tending to be appressed to the axis
                       Back to 2
Chloris divaricata

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