Poa ciliaris Linn.
Tufted annual; culms 5-60 cm high, erect. Leaf-blades flat, up to 12 cm long and 5 mm wide. Panicle spike-like, but often ± lobed or interrupted, 1-20 cm long, woolly, the spikelets densely clustered. Spikelets 6-12-flowered, ovate, 2-4.5 mm long, fluffy, often purplish, breaking up from the apex, the rhachilla fragile; glumes lanceolate, subequal, 0.7-1.2 mm long, acute; lemmas oblong-elliptic, 0.9-1.5 mm long, the keels (at least in the upper lemmas) bearing a few short stiff hairs, otherwise smooth, broadly obtuse, more or less obscurely mucronate; paleakeels tuberculate-ciliate, the hairs 0.6-0.7 mm long, exceeding the width of the adjacent floret; anthers 2, 0.2 mm long. Caryopsis ellipsoid, 0.3-0.5 mm long.
Fl. & Fr. Per.: through-out most of the year.
Type: Jamaica (LINN).
Distribution: Pakistan (Sind, Baluchistan & Punjab); tropical and South Africa, extending through Arabia and the Mascarene Islands to India; tropical America.
The woolly spike is usually distinctive, but sometimes the panicle shape may approach extreme forms of Eragrostis tenella; the cilia on the lemma-keel, though rather obscure, are then the surest means of determination. Eragrostis ciliaris also differs in the possession of only 2 stamens.
Specimens with the inflorescence reduced to an ovoid head have been separated as var. brachystachya, but they seem to be no more than a dwarfed form of arid habitats.
In sufficient quantity this grass affords good grazing.