Melica digitata Roxb.
Perennial; culms up to 1.2 m high, erect or geniculately ascending, sometimes rooting at the lower nodes. Leaf-blades flat, 10-25(40) cm long, 5-10(-15) mm wide, tapering to a fine point. Inflorescence of 4-6(-10) digitate, flexuous, often drooping spikes (7-)15-25 cm long. Spikelets 2-flowered, 2-awned; lower glume linear-lanceolate, 2-3 mm long; upper glume lanceolate, 4.5-6(-6.5) mm long including the short awn-point; lower lemma oblong-lanceolate when flattened, dorsally compressed, 4.5-6.5 mm long, green, scabrid on the back and margins, with an awn up to 12 mm long; callus rounded, ciliate; upper lemma embraced by the lower lemma, reduced to a minute oblong scale up to 1 mm long, bearded at the base, with an awn 2.5-4.5 mm long. Caryopsis dorsally compressed.
Fl. & Fr. Per.: through-out most of the year.
Type: Philippines, “Hab. in Phillip. Insulis, D. ludovicus Nee legit.” (? MA or Fl).
Distribution: Pakistan (Punjab); China to Southeast Asia and northern Australia.
There is some doubt about the inclusion of Chloris dolichostachya in this genus. The related genus Enteropogon is usually distinguished from Chloris by its solitary spikes, but in Enteropogon unispiceus the inflorescence comprises 1, 2 or 3 spikes in about equal proportions. Furthermore, the spikelets of Enteropogon are dorsally com¬pressed and the fertile lemma is narrowly elliptic, a combination of characters also found in Chloris dolichostachya. Lazarides said that the concept of Enteropogon should be enlarged so that 1-several spikes would be acceptable. Thus Chloris dolichostachya would be included in Enteropogon because of its dorsally compressed spikelets. Clayton, however, has pointed out that there is a gradual transition from the Enteropogon-type of lemma to the laterally compressed, more of less ovate lemma of Chloris and that there is no clear demarkation between the two sorts. It would not be satisfactory to use this observation as an argument for uniting the two genera as it would introduce a sizeable element of obviously different facies into the accepted concept of Chloris. The solution adopted, therefore, is that of accepting the solitary spike as the distinguishing feature of Enteropogon and placing digitate spikes into Chloris (except Enteropogon unispiceus which is maintained in Enteropogon).
Duthie reports that this may be a useful fodder grass.