Syntherisma nodosa (Parl.) Newbold
Caespitose perennial without rhizomes, the basal sheaths silky pubescent to tomentose; culms 15-100 cm high, often ± bulbous at the base; nodes glabrous. Leaf-blades 3-30 cm long, 2-5 mm wide. Inflorescence composed of 4-12(25) racemes, these digitate or borne on an axis up to 10 cm long; racemes 3-15 cm long, the spikelets binate on a triquetrous rhachis (or sometimes on secondary branchlets). Spikelets narrowly elliptic, 2-3 mm long; lower glume an ovate scale 0.1-0.4 mm long; upper glume two-thirds to almost as long as the spikelet, 3-nerved, pubescent to villous; lower lemma as long as the spikelet, 7-nerved, pilose to woolly villous with white hairs (rarely merely pubescent); fruit ellipsoid, greyish-brown to light brown.
Fl. & Fr. Per.: March-May and again in September.
Type locality: Canary Isles.
Distribution: Pakistan (Sind, Baluchistan, Punjab & N.W.F.P); Kenya and zania; Canary Is. and North Africa, thence through Somalia and Eritrea to Afghanistan.
Digitaria nodosa is very closely allied to the South African Digitaria eriantha complex. If the latter be regarded in its widest sense then it is most probable that Digitaria nodosa is not specifically distinct, in which case the name Digitaria eriantha would have priority. If Digitaria eriantha were taken in a stricter sense, however, it remains to be seen to which part of the complex Digitaria nodosa belongs. A great deal of work needs to be done on South African plants before the true status of Digitaria nodosa can be established, and until then the nomenclature of Pakistani material will be left as it stands at present.
This is stocky perennial that can grow in some of the most arid parts of Pakistan where it must afford welcome fodder for grazing animals. In more favour-able habitats, however, it grows into a fine lush grass and is considered to be the best fodder for cattle in the Kurram Valley.