124. Aeluropus Trinius, Fund. Agrost. 143. 1820.
獐毛属 zhang mao shu
Authors: Shou-liang Chen & Sylvia M. Phillips
Perennials, tough, stoloniferous or rhizomatous. Leaf blades stiff, rolled, often markedly distichous, pungent; ligule a narrow ciliate membrane. Inflorescence spikelike or capitate, composed of short, erect racemes of subsessile, tightly imbricate spikelets appressed to a central axis. Spikelets ovate-lanceolate, laterally compressed, florets several to many, rachilla disarticulating above glumes and between florets; glumes shorter than lemmas, papery with broad scarious margins, lower glume 1–3-veined, upper glume 5–7-veined; lemmas ovate, resembling glumes in texture, strongly 7–11-veined, glabrous or hairy on margins, rounded on back, acute or mucronate; palea keels ciliate or scabrid, apex truncate.
About ten species:Mediterranean region to N China, also in NE tropical Africa, S India, and Sri Lanka; four species (two endemic) in China.
This is a genus of grasses adapted to saline soils in desert regions, where they provide valuable fodder where little else will grow. The tough, widely spreading rhizomes and stolons make them effective soil stabilizers.
All the species listed here are offshoots from the widespread and highly variable species Aeluropus littoralis (Gouan) Parlatore, which occurs from Europe to temperate Asia. The most appropriate status for the taxa within this species complex is still uncertain.