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Annual or perennial grasses, culms prostrate, rooting at the base. Leaf-blades linear to lanceolate, ligules a line of hairs. Inflorescence composed of 2-many lateral racemes and a terminal racemes similar to the laterals, borne on a common axis, rachis triquetrous to ribbon-like. Spikelets single or paired, 1.7-2.7 mm long, sessile or pedicelled, florets 2, awnless; lower glume 0.2-0.5 mm long; lower florets male or neuter, upper florets bisexual; upper lemmas readily deciduous, smooth, with inflexed edges. shiny, obtuse, faintly nerved.


Key to the species

Serial Key Reference
1a. Culms robust, up to 2 m tall, inflorescence with 10-20 racemes 2
1b. Culms slender, up to 60 cm tall; inflorescence with less than 10 racemes 3
2a. Spikelets 2.5-3 mm long, densely and untidily crowded in more than 2 rows on the rachis Brachiaria mutica
2b. Spikelets 4 mm long, seated in 2 rows on the undersurface of a curved rachis Brachiaria decumbens
3a. Spikelets paired, 1.2-1.9 mm long, lower glume truncate Brachiaria reptans
3b. Spikelets solitary, 2.0-2.5 mm long, lower glume acute or obtuse 4
4a. Spikelets distant on the branches of a loose panicle, not secund on the rachis Brachiaria kurzii
4b. Spikelets crowded, secund on the rachis . Brachiaria distachya