Rat-Tail Grass
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Rat-Tail Grass
P Native Photo: Ankush Dave
Common name: Rat-Tail Grass, White grass
Botanical name: Sehima nervosum    Family: Poaceae (Grass family)
Synonyms: Andropogon nervosus, Ischaemum nervosum, Pollinia striata

Rat-Tail Grass is a clustered perennial grass, with stems 1-3 ft tall, wiry. Leaf-blades are flat, 5-40 cm long, 2-7 mm wide, glaucous, long tapering to a thread-like tip. Raceme are 3-12 gently curved. Stalkless spikelet 6-10 mm long, laterally compressed; lower glume narrowly oblong-elliptic, thinly leathery with a membranous tip up to a quarto its length, 2 keeled, concave between the keels, lyrately nerved with 2-3 closely spaced nerves adjacent to each keel; upper lemma with an awn 2-4 cm long, minutely ciliolate along the spiral. Stalked spikelets are lanceshaped, 6-10 mm long, purplish, fringed with hairs; lower glume with a mid-nerve and 2-3 prominent lateral nerves adjacent to each keel. It is considered to be an excellent fodder grass. Rat-Tail Grass is found in tropical Africa and Arabia, extending through Pakistan, India to China, and southwards to Australia.

Identification credit: Ankush Dave Photographed in Agra, Uttar Pradesh.

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