Description from Flora of China
Annuals or perennials. Leaf blades linear, flat; ligule ciliate. Inflorescence of racemes along a central axis, spikelets pedicellate, single, paired or clustered on a narrow rachis, adaxial. Spikelets lanceolate to elliptic, thinly biconvex, subcartilaginous, acute to aristate, a little globose swelling at spikelet base, florets 2; lower glume vestigial; upper glume equaling spikelet, facing outward, often awn-pointed; lower lemma similar but usually slightly shorter, neuter or staminate, with or without palea; upper lemma crustaceous, papillose, margins inrolled, apex obtuse and often mucronate. x = 9.
The main diagnostic feature of Eriochloa is the beadlike swelling at the spikelet base. This is formed by the swollen lowest rachilla internode and adnate lower glume. The lanceolate, pointed spikelets are also characteristic.
About 30 species: tropical and warm-temperate regions of the world, especially tropical Africa and America; two species in China.
(Authors: Chen Shouliang (陈守良); Sylvia M. Phillips)