Description: Tufted annuals or perennials.
Leaves with sheath keeled, slightly hairy; ligule membranous, or a ciliate membranous rim; blade folded in bud, blades flat or folded.
Inflorescence a digitate or subdigitate arrangement of 2–6 spikes, each terminating in a spikelet.
Spikelets solitary, sessile, laterally compressed, loosely overlapping in 2 rows on the underside of the rachis, rachilla disarticulating above the glumes and between the lemmas; florets several, bisexual. Glumes keeled, 3–5-nerved, unequal or subequal, narrow, shorter than the lemmas. Lemmas 3–5-nerved, with a prominent keel; apex usually acute. Paleas shorter than the lemmas, 2-keeled, with the keels winged, 2-nerved. Grain an achene with free pericarp.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 9 species, mostly Africa. Australia: 3 species (naturalized), all mainland States.
Key from Wheeler et al. (1990).
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & S. M. Hastings
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Spikes usually 2 or 3, each 1–3 cm long and 8–10 mm wide; spikelets densely overlapping||Eleusine tristachya|
|Spikes 2–10, each 4–15 cm long and c. 5 mm wide; spikelets loosely overlapping||Eleusine indica|