Dactyloctenium semipunctatum Courb.
Sprawling tufted annual; culms slender, 4-38 cm high, geniculately ascending from a decumbent base, often rooting at the lower nodes. Leaf-blades flat, 1-13 cm long, 1.5-7 mm wide, usually conspicuously papillose-hispid, sharply acuminate. Inflorescence compact, composed of (2)4-7(-11) oblong to broadly oblong spikes 0.8-1.8 (rarely to 2.6) cm long clustered together in a dense, often subglobose head. Spikelets 3-5-flowered, broadly ovate, 4.1-5.2 mm long; glumes subequal, 1.7-2.3 mm long, the lower narrowly lanceolate-oblong in profile, the keel thick, scabrid and often narrowly winged, the upper narrowly elliptic-oblong in profile, the keel extended into a stout awn shorter than or equalling the glume; lemmas lanceolate to narrowly ovate in profile (3-)3.34.3 mm long, acuminate, the keel concave, thick and scabrid above the middle and extended into a stout mucro up to 1 mm long; palea-keels winged; anthers 0.3-0.5 mm long. Grain 0.75-1.1 mm long, broadly elliptic to obovate in profile, dome-shaped across the top, finely granular or granular-striate.
Type: Egypt, Ehrenberg (?B).
Distribution: Pakistan (Sind, Baluchistan & Punjab); Kenya north to Sudan and eastwards through Arabia to India.
A desert and sea-shore grass of sand and exposed coral outcrops. It is best distinguished from Dactyloctenium aegyptium by its short broad spikes clustered together in a compact head, the conspicuously pointed lemmas which give the inflorescence a “spiky” appearance and the granular, rather than rugose, grain. Some specimens, e.g. Sultanul Abedin 4003 are rather atypical, with a more robust stoloniferous habit and longer narrower spikes than usual and may well represent introgression with Dactyloctenium aegyptium.