Description from Flora of China
Cenchrus lappaceus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl., ed. 2, 2: 1488. 1763; Centotheca lappacea subsp. inermis (Rendle) T. Koyama; C. lappacea var. inermis Rendle; C. lappacea var. longilamina (Ohwi) Bor; C. latifolia Trinius, nom. illeg. superfl.; C. longilamina Ohwi; Festuca latifolia Roth (1821), not Candolle (1813); Holcus latifolius Osbeck; Melica lappacea (Linnaeus) Raspail; Poa latifolia G. Forster; Uniola lappacea (Linnaeus) Trinius.
Perennial from a knotty base. Culms solitary or loosely tufted, erect, smooth, 40–100 cm tall, 4–7-noded. Leaf sheaths smooth or ciliate along one margin; leaf blades broadly lanceolate, 5–15 × 1–2.5 cm, abaxial surface glabrous with cross veins, adaxial surface glabrous or loosely hispidulous, apex long-attenuate; ligule 1–1.5 mm. Panicle open, 12–25 cm, primary branches up to 15 cm, the spikelets clustered around them; pedicels 2.5–3 mm, slender, pubescent. Spikelets ca. 5 mm, florets 2–3; glumes 3–5-veined; lower glume 2–2.5 mm, acute; upper glume 3–3.5 mm, mucronate; lowest lemma ca. 4 mm, 7-veined, glabrous, apex apiculate; second and third lemmas 3–3.5 mm, coarsely setose with tubercle-based, reflexing bristles near upper margins; paleas firm, ciliolate along keels. Caryopsis ellipsoid, 1–1.2 mm. Fl. and fr. Jun–Oct. 2n = 24.
This is an excellent fodder grass. The stiff bristles on the spikelets, which reflex at maturity, aid dispersal by catching in the fur of passing animals.
In 1820 Trinius published the name Centotheca latifolia, but not as a new combination based on Holcus latifolius Osbeck (1757), which should have been the basionym as the earliest legitimate name for the species, but as a replacement name for Cenchrus lappaceus Linn'us (1763). The well-known combination Centotheca latifolia is therefore illegitimate, because it was nomenclaturally superfluous when published, and the epithet of H. latifolius cannot be transferred to Centotheca without creating a later homonym, which would be illegitimate. The earliest legitimate name with an epithet available in Centotheca is Cenchrus lappaceus, and hence Desvaux's combination is the correct name for this species.
Forest margins, shady roadsides and other moist shady places. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Jiangxi, Taiwan, Yunnan [Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam; W tropical Africa, Australia (Queensland), Pacific Islands (Polynesia)].