2. Cleistogenes songorica (Roshevitz) Ohwi, J. Jap. Bot. 18: 540. 1942.
无芒隐子草 wu mang yin zi cao
Diplachne songorica Roshevitz, Fl. URSS. 2: 752. 1934; Cleistogenes mutica Keng; Kengia mutica (Keng) Packer; K. songorica (Roshevitz) Packer.
Culms compactly tufted with tomentose roots, bases slightly swollen and clothed in pale papery old sheaths, lacking basal scaly buds, erect or ascending, 15–35(–50) cm tall, ca. 1 mm in diam., unbranched, leafy to base. Leaf sheaths longer than internodes, glabrous but pilose at mouth; leaf blades linear, grayish green, tough, flat or slightly involute, stiffly patent, 2–6 × 0.15–0.25 cm, glabrous, acute; ligule ca. 0.5 mm. Panicle open, 2–5 cm, exserted or not from uppermost leaf sheath; branches pilose in the axils, usually widely spreading, racemose, lowest branch 2–3.5 cm. Spikelets 4–8 mm, green or purple, florets 3–6; glumes lanceolate, 1-veined, acute; lower glume 2–3 mm; upper glume 3–4 mm; lemmas ovate, lowest 3–4.5 mm, pilose on lower flanks and back, apex entire, acute or with mucro less than 0.5 mm; palea keels ciliate. Anthers 1–2 mm. Fl. and fr. Jul–Sep.
Dry, sandy, or stony open grasslands, deserts. Gansu, Henan, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Xinjiang [Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan].
This species of desert steppe is recognized by its dense tufts of gray-green leaves, and awnless, often purple spikelets with broader lemmas than the other species of the genus. The name Cleistogenes tho-roldii (Orinus thoroldii in this account) has been misapplied to C. songorica in C Asian literature.
This is an excellent forage grass.