Description: Coarse, tufted perennials or annuals, with erect branched stems.
Leaves with ligule membranous with tufts of hairs at each side; blade hairy or glabrous.
Inflorescence of few–many pairs of spatheate racemes, usually in a narrow panicle.
Spikelets in pairs, 1 sessile, usually awned, fertile, the other pedicellate and male or sterile, awnless, spikelets of the lowest pair(s) on a raceme similar, sterile or male, awnless; spikelet pairs falling with an axis joint. Sessile spikelets 1–few in each raceme, flattened on the back, base elongated into a hairy, often sharp callus. Glumes equal, without distinct keels, hairy. Lemmas 2, the lower as long as the glumes; fertile lemma small, with a hairy, geniculate awn 4–6 cm long. Palea usually absent. Pedicellate spikelets usually slightly longer than the fertile spikelets, with or without a male floret, awnless.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 55 species, mainly Africa. Australia: 3 species (2 species native, 1 species naturalized), all mainland States except Vic.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & C. A. Wall
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Each raceme with 9 or 10 awned spikelets||Hyparrhenia rufa|
|Each raceme with less than 9 awned spikelets||2|
|2||Each raceme with 5–7 awned spikelets, the awns 1.5–3.5 cm long; plants usually less than 1 m high||Hyparrhenia hirta|
|Each raceme with 1 or 2 awned spikelets, the awns c. 4–5 cm long; plants 1–1.5 m high|
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