Description: Tufted perennials or annuals of variable habit.
Leaves with ligule a fringe of hairs; blade flat or convolute.
Inflorescence an open to contracted or dense panicle.
Spikelets pedicellate, solitary, disarticulating above the glumes and between the lemmas; 2 bisexual florets (occasionally the upper reduced or absent). Glumes equal, acute, rounded on the back, membranous to scarious, 7–11-nerved, shorter than or as long as the lemmas. Lemmas 5–11-nerved, leathery or membranous, hairy on the back at least towards the base, awnless or with a terminal untwisted awn, or mucronate. Palea 2-fid or acute and entire, leathery to scarious, 2-keeled, the margins usually tightly enclosed by the lemma.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 40 species, Asia & Australia. Australia: c. 40 species (native), all States except Tas.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & K. L. McClay
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Lemma awned; palea awned or mucronate||2|
|Lemma awnless or mucronate; palea usually awnless||4|
|2||Glumes glabrous; awns on palea short, usually less than 3 mm long||Eriachne pallescens|
|Glumes hirsute with tubercle-based hairs|
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|3||Awns on palea half the length of lemma awn and usually less than 10 mm long; inland species||Eriachne aristidea|
|Palea awn less than 15% the length of lemma awn; lemma more than 15 mm long; coastal species|
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|4||Culm base densely woody and bulbous; lemmas 6–7 mm long||Eriachne helmsii|
|Culm bases often thickened but not bulbous, glabrous or hairy but not woolly; lemmas 2–7 mm long|
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|5||Glumes 60–75% the length of the spikelet; lemmas pubescent with sparse appressed hairs to almost glabrous||Eriachne glabrata|
|Glumes about the same length as the spikelet; lemmas villous at least in lower 60%|
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|6||Tufted perennials 30–45 cm high, often with sharp-pointed leaves; spikelets 5–6 mm long||Eriachne mucronata|
|Delicate annuals 10–15 cm high; leaves not sharp-pointed but bearing stiff tubercle-based hairs; spikelets 3–4 mm long|
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