Heteropogon hispidissimus Hochst. ex A. Rich.
Untidily tufted perennial, the basal sheaths laterally compressed; culms 30-100 cm high, erect. Leaf-blades flat, 3-30 cm long, 2-8 mm wide, abruptly narrowed at the tip. Racemes 3-10 cm long, mostly long exserted, solitary or aggregated into a scanty false panicle, the awns forming a twisted spire. Homogamous spikelets 3-17 pairs, resembling the pedicelled spikelets. Sessile spikelet 5.5-10 mm long including a ferociously pungent and rufously bearded callus 2-3 mm long; lower glume elliptic-oblong, brown, hispidulous; awn 5-8 cm long, hirtellous. Pedicelled spikelet 5-15 mm long; lower glume green with yellowish membranous margins; the hairiness varying from glabrous to tuberculate-villous; callus 2-3 mm long.
Fl. & Fr. Per.: June-October or November.
Type: India, illustration in Plukenet, Phyt., t.191 /5. 1692.
Distribution: Pakistan (Sind, Baluchistan, Punjab, N.W.F.P. & Kashmir); tropical and warm temperate regions generally.
Speargrass is considered to be a good fodder grass before it reaches the flowering stage, and hay made from it is said to keep for many years. After flowering it is avoided by stock. Animals can be seriously injured by the sharp callus which, aided by the hygroscopic awns, can burrow into the flesh causing septic sores, lameness or more serious harm. Apart from the irritation having an adverse effect on the animals health, the commercial value of their hides is much reduced by these injuries.