Common Name: Veldtgrasses
Description: Tufted or rhizomatous perennials or annuals; culms erect or ascending, glabrous and smooth.
Leaves with ligule short, membranous or a rim of hairs; blade flat or involute, margins often wavy.
Inflorescence a narrow panicle or raceme, branches slender.
Spikelets pedicellate, solitary, laterally compressed, the rachilla disarticulating above the glumes; florets 3, the lower 2 sterile, the uppermost bisexual. Glumes usually shorter than the florets, membranous, keeled. Sterile lemmas stiff, awnless or terminally awned, hairy or glabrous, often transversely ridged, usually longer than the fertile lemma. Fertile lemma softer than the sterile lemmas, keeled, awnless or finely toothed, hairy or glabrous, sometimes with knob-like appendages at the base. Palea narrow, shorter than the lemmas, 1-nerved.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 27 species, native of Africa. Australia: 6 species (naturalized), all States except N.T.
Introduced as pasture species and for erosion control; E. erecta has become a minor weed. Key from Wheeler et al. (1990).
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & S. M. Hastings
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Sterile lemmas glabrous or scabrous, sometimes with tufts of hairs at the base; glumes to c. 50% as long as the sterile lemmas||2|
|Sterile lemmas with long hairs loosely or densely arranged on the sides; glumes 50% to subequal the sterile lemmas||3|
|2||Sterile lemmas scabrous and tapering into terminal awns; the spikelets 10–18 mm long including the awns||Ehrharta longiflora|
|Sterile lemmas glabrous, obtuse, awnless, at least 1 terminally corrugated; spikelets 3–5 mm long|
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|3||Spikelets 4–8 mm long; sterile lemmas villous, acute or mucronate; callus not bearded, 2 large scales at the base||Ehrharta calycina|
|Spikelets 10–15 mm long; sterile lemmas densely villous, mucronate; callus bearded; scales at base absent|
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