Named after Eleusis, the Greek town where the Temple of Ceres was located.
Habit, vegetative morphology. Annual, or perennial (the culms flattened); caespitose (or mat-forming). Culms 10150 cm high; herbaceous. Culm nodes glabrous. Culm internodes solid, or hollow. Young shoots intravaginal. Leaves not basally aggregated; non-auriculate. Sheath margins free. The sheaths keeled. Leaf blades linear; narrow; flat, or folded; without abaxial multicellular glands; without cross venation; persistent; rolled in bud, or once-folded in bud; a fringed membrane. Contra-ligule absent.
Reproductive organization. Plants bisexual, with bisexual spikelets; with hermaphrodite florets; inbreeding; exposed-cleistogamous, or chasmogamous; without hidden cleistogenes. Viviparous (sometimes), or not viviparous.
Inflorescence. Inflorescence of spicate main branches; open, or contracted (sometimes forming a capitulum); digitate, or subdigitate (then shortly racemose, but clustered at the top of the culm). Primary inflorescence branches 116. Rachides flattened. Inflorescence espatheate; not comprising partial inflorescences and foliar organs. The racemes spikelet bearing to the base. Spikelet-bearing axes with substantial rachides; persistent. Spikelets secund; biseriate; sessile to subsessile; imbricate.
Female-fertile spikelets. Spikelets 3.511 mm long; adaxial; strongly compressed laterally; disarticulating above the glumes, or not disarticulating (E. coracana); disarticulating between the florets (except in E. coracana). Rachilla prolonged beyond the uppermost female-fertile floret; hairy, or hairless. Hairy callus absent. Callus absent.
Glumes two; very unequal, or more or less equal; shorter than the spikelets; shorter than the adjacent lemmas; dorsiventral to the rachis to lateral to the rachis; awnless; carinate; with the keel conspicuously winged, or without a median keel-wing. Lower glume 1 nerved. Upper glume 35(7) nerved. Spikelets with female-fertile florets only, or with incomplete florets. The incomplete florets distal to the female-fertile florets. Spikelets without proximal incomplete florets.
Female-fertile florets 315. Lemmas not becoming indurated; entire; pointed, or blunt; awnless to mucronate; hairless; glabrous; carinate; 3 nerved. Palea present; apically notched; awnless, without apical setae; 2-nerved; 2-keeled. Palea keels winged, or wingless. Lodicules present; 2; joined, or free; fleshy, or membranous; glabrous; toothed, or not toothed. Stamens 3. Anthers 0.50.8 mm long; not penicillate. Ovary glabrous. Styles free to their bases. Stigmas 2; white, or brown.
Fruit, embryo and seedling. Fruit free from both lemma and palea; small (0.92 mm long); ellipsoid to subglobose; longitudinally grooved (E. multiflora), or not grooved; not noticeably compressed (globose), or trigonous; sculptured. Hilum short. Pericarp thin (hyaline); free. Embryo large; not waisted. Endosperm hard; without lipid; containing compound starch grains. Embryo with an epiblast; with a scutellar tail; with an elongated mesocotyl internode. Embryonic leaf margins meeting.
Seedling with a long mesocotyl. First seedling leaf with a well-developed lamina. The lamina broad; curved; 612 veined.
Ovule, embryology. Outer integument extensive, being absent only from the micropylar region; two cells thick at the micropylar margin. Inner integument continuous, the micropyle constricted; not thickened around the micropyle. Synergids not haustorial; without large, globular starch grains.
Abaxial leaf blade epidermis. Costal/intercostal zonation conspicuous. Papillae absent. Long-cells similar in shape costally and intercostally; of similar wall thickness costally and intercostally. Mid-intercostal long-cells rectangular; having markedly sinuous walls. Microhairs present; more or less spherical, or elongated; ostensibly one-celled, or clearly two-celled; chloridoid-type (often with hidden bases). Microhair apical cell wall of similar thickness/rigidity to that of the basal cell. Microhairs with partitioning membranes (in E. indica). The partitioning membranes in the basal cell. Microhairs 1921 microns long. Microhair basal cells 1214 microns long. Microhairs 7.59 microns wide at the septum. Microhair total length/width at septum 2.172.8. Microhair apical cells 13.516.5 microns long. Microhair apical cell/total length ratio 0.640.8. Stomata common; 3033 microns long. Subsidiaries triangular. Guard-cells overlapping to flush with the interstomatals. Intercostal short-cells common; not paired. Intercostal silica bodies absent. Costal short-cells conspicuously in long rows. Costal silica bodies present in alternate cell files of the costal zones; rounded to saddle shaped.
Transverse section of leaf blade, physiology. C4; biochemical type NADME (2 species); XyMS+. PCR sheath outlines even. PCR sheaths of the primary vascular bundles complete. PCR sheath extensions absent. PCR cells without a suberised lamella. PCR cell chloroplasts with well developed grana; centripetal. Mesophyll with radiate chlorenchyma; traversed by columns of colourless mesophyll cells. Leaf blade adaxially flat; with the ribs more or less constant in size. Midrib conspicuous; with one bundle only. Bulliforms present in discrete, regular adaxial groups; associated with colourless mesophyll cells to form deeply-penetrating fans, or in simple fans and associated with colourless mesophyll cells to form deeply-penetrating fans (often linked with traversing colourless girders). All the vascular bundles accompanied by sclerenchyma. Combined sclerenchyma girders present; forming figures, or nowhere forming figures. Sclerenchyma all associated with vascular bundles. The lamina margins with fibres.
Culm anatomy. Culm internode bundles in one or two rings, or in three or more rings.
Phytochemistry. Leaf blade chlorophyll a:b ratio 3.434.3.
Cytology. Chromosome base number, x = 9. 2n = 18, 20, 36, and 40. 2 and 4 ploid. Chromosomes small. Haploid nuclear DNA content 0.70.8 pg (2 species, 2x and 4x). Mean diploid 2c DNA value 1.4 pg (1 species). Nucleoli persistent.
Taxonomy. Chloridoideae; main chloridoid assemblage.
Distribution, ecology, phytogeography. 9 species; tropical and subtropical. Commonly adventive. Mesophytic, or xerophytic; species of open habitats. Savanna, grassland, weedy places.
Holarctic, Paleotropical, Neotropical, Cape, and Antarctic. Boreal, Tethyan, and Madrean. African, Madagascan, Indomalesian, and Polynesian. Euro-Siberian, Eastern Asian, and Atlantic North American. Irano-Turanian. Saharo-Sindian, Sudano-Angolan, West African Rainforest, and Namib-Karoo. Indian, Malesian, and Papuan. Fijian. Caribbean, Venezuela and Surinam, Amazon, Central Brazilian, and Pampas. New Zealand and Patagonian. Siberian. Canadian-Appalachian. Sahelo-Sudanian, Somalo-Ethiopian, South Tropical African, and Kalaharian.
Rusts and smuts. Smuts from Ustilaginaceae. Ustilaginaceae Ustilago.
Economic importance. Significant weed species: E. africana, E. coracana, E. indica, E. tristachya. Grain crop species: E. coracana (Finger Millet, Ragi) widely grown in uplands of India, China and Africa.
References, etc. Leaf anatomical: Metcalfe 1960; this project.
Illustrations. General aspect. General aspect. Inflorescence. Eleusine indica. Inflorescence. Eleusine tristachya. Spikelet. Eleusine tristachya. Spikelet (upper part). Leaf blade transverse section. Eleusine coracana. Mature minor bundles with centripetal chloroplasts.
Cite this publication as: Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M. J. (1992 onwards). ‘Grass Genera of the World: Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and Information Retrieval; including Synonyms, Morphology, Anatomy, Physiology, Phytochemistry, Cytology, Classification, Pathogens, World and Local Distribution, and References.’ http://biodiversity.uno.edu/delta/. Version: 18th August 1999. Dallwitz (1980), Dallwitz, Paine and Zurcher (1993 onwards, 1998), and Watson and Dallwitz (1994), and Watson, Dallwitz, and Johnston (1986) should also be cited (see References).