Description: Branching, tufted perennials.
Leaves with ligule a ciliate rim; blade rolled in bud.
Inflorescence a primary axis with racemes, or a simple spike-like raceme.
Spikelets solitary or paired, pedicellate, pubescent, in 2 rows on 1 side of the rachis, dorsally compressed. Florets 2, the lower sterile or male, the upper bisexual. Lower glume a minute nerveless scale or cup-like ring around the lower internode of the spikelet; upper equal to the spikelet, sometimes shortly awned, faintly 5-nerved, hairy or glabrous. Lemmas 2, the lower similar to the upper glume; the upper hardened, glabrous or pubescent at the apex, mucronate or short-awned, rugose (wrinkled) or smooth; margins slightly inrolled. Paleas 2, the lower subequal to its lemma or absent, the upper equal to its lemma.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 30 species, tropical regions. Australia: 7 species (6 species native, 1 species naturalized), all mainland states.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & C. A. Wall
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Spikelets 4–12 mm long (including the bristle), long-acuminate, tapering into a bristle||2|
|Spikelets 3–5 mm long, apices acute or acuminate without an obvious bristle||3|
|2||Spikelets 6–12 mm long (including the bristle); leaf sheaths inflated and broader than the culms, usually hairy; annual||Eriochloa australiensis|
|Spikelets 4–6 mm long; leaf sheaths narrow and not inflated, only basal sheaths hairy; usually perennial|
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|3||Spikelets 3.7–5 mm long, crowded and overlapping on the racemes; erect perennial, 0.6–1 m high with rather few branches||Eriochloa crebra|
|Spikelets 3–3.7 mm long, less crowded and tending to be in 2 neat rows on the racemes, slender annual or short-lived perennial, 0.25–0.7 m high with many branches|
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