47. Eleusine Gaertn. (goose grass)
Plants annual or perennial, forming tufts or small clumps.
Flowering stems spreading to erect, sometimes ascending from spreading bases,
rarely rooting at the lower nodes, slightly flattened, glabrous. Leaf sheaths
keeled, glabrous or more commonly sparsely long‑hairy along the margins
near the tip, the ligule a short membrane with uneven or irregularly cut
margins. Leaf blades flat or folded, glabrous or roughened along the margins,
sometimes hairy on the upper surface near the base. Inflorescences consisting
of 1–8 spikes, these mostly palmate in a single whorl at the tip of the main
axis (sometimes 1 or 2 spikes below the tip of the axis), loosely ascending to
spreading or slightly arched downward, the whole inflorescence wider than long.
Spikes with numerous, dense, sessile spikelets positioned in 2 rows on 1 side
of the flattened axis, this not prolonged past the terminal spikelet. Spikelets
strongly flattened laterally, with 2–12 florets, disarticulating above the
glumes. Glumes unequal in size and shape, the lower glume shorter, narrower,
and 1‑nerved, the upper glume longer, broader and 3‑ or 5‑nerved,
both bluntly to sharply pointed at the tip, keeled and with a green stripe
along the midnerve, awnless, glabrous or roughened along the midnerve. Lemmas
lanceolate to ovate, sharply pointed at the tip, 3–9‑nerved, keeled and
with a green stripe along the midnerve, awnless, glabrous (including the base).
Paleas shorter than the lemmas, 2‑nerved, with 2 minute teeth at the tip.
Stamens 3, the anthers 0.3–0.8 mm long. Fruits 1.0–1.5 mm long, the membranous
outer coat shed easily when moistened. Seeds broadly oblong‑ovate to
nearly circular in outline, flattened to slightly concave on 1 side, rounded to
somewhat angled on the back, the surface with cross‑wrinkles. About 9
species, nearly worldwide in tropical and warm‑temperate regions, but
most diverse in Africa.