Polypogon Desf., Fl. Atlant. 1:66. 1798. Boiss., Fl. Or. 5:520. 1884; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 7:245. 1896; Blatter & McCann, Bombay Grasses 207. 1935; Bor, Fl. Assam 5:154. 1940; Sultan & Stewart, Grasses W. Pak. 2:314. 1959; Bor, Grasses Burma Ceyl. Ind. Pak. 403. 1960; Bor in Towns., Guest & Al-Rawi, Fl. Iraq 9:313. 1968; Bor in Rech. f., Fl. Iran. 70:303. 1970; Tzvelev, Poaceae URSS 341. 1976; Tutin in Tutin et al., Fl. Eur. 5:235. 1980.
Annuals or perennials. Leaf-blades flat, linear. Panicle contracted or spike-like. Spikelets narrowly oblong to oblong, small, falling entire together with the pedicel or part of it; rhachilla not prolonged, eventually disarticulating below the floret. Glumes narrow, subequal, 1-nerved, membranous, rough, keeled above, entire, emarginate or 2-lobed at the tip, with a fine straight awn from the tip or between the lobes; lemma mostly broadly oblong, shorter than the glumes, truncate, thin, finely 5-nerved, usually awned from near the apex, with the very fine awn often deciduous; palea as long as the lemma or shorter.
A genus of 15 species in subtropical and warm temperate regions; 2 species occur in Pakistan.
Polypogon is a facies of Agrostis distinct enough to be worthy of generic rank, but the deciduous spikelets, on their own, are insufficient circumscription (see Tutin’s key to genera in Fl. Eur. 5:121). On this character alone, Agrostis viridis Gouan becomes a species of Polypogon, and while this has been considered acceptable, the inclusion of the African Agrostis schimperana Steud. in Polypogon is not. That the glumes are awned is also insufficient as a circumscription of Polypogon, for this would include Agrostis hissarica Rozhev. which is entirely unlike any other species of Polypogon and quite clearly belongs in Agrostis. For these reasons, therefore, Polypogon is defined as having both awned glumes and deciduous spikelets.