Plants perennial; rhizomatous. Culms 16-75 cm, erect; nodes glabrous. Sheaths glabrous, margins ciliate; ligules 1-1.3 mm; blades 5-40 cm long, 2-4.5 mm wide, flat to folded, glabrous, pubescent, or scabrous, margins ciliate or glabrous basally. Panicles terminal, 4-11.5 cm long, 50-75 mm wide, fully exerted from the sheaths, erect, white; rachises terete, pubescent (basally). Fascicles 7-11 per cm; fascicle axes 1.5-2.5 mm, with 1-4 spikelets; outer bristles (0)1-8, 1-13.5 mm; inner bristles 23-41, 13-50.5 mm, densely plumose; primary bristles 40-50 mm, ciliate, usually not noticeably longer than the other bristles. Spikelets 9-12 mm, glabrous; pedicels 0.1-0.4 mm; lower glumes 0.3-1.3 mm, veinless; upper glumes 2.5-5.2 mm, 1(3)-veined; lower florets staminate or sterile; lower lemmas 7.5-10.5 mm, 7-9(10)-veined; lower paleas absent or 5.5-8.5 mm; anthers absent or 3.8-4.5 mm; upper lemmas 9-11 mm, 7-veined, apices scabridulous; anthers 3.5-5 mm. Caryopses concealed by the lemma and palea at maturity. 2n = 45.
Pennisetum villosum is native to Ethiopia, northern Somalia, and the Arabian Peninsula. It is grown as an ornamental in the Flora region.
Tufted perennial 3-7 dm; culms becoming villous distally; panicle tawny, ca 1 dm, the numerous slender bristles very plumose, spreading, 3-5 cm; spikelets ca 1 cm; 2n=18, 27, 36, 45, 54. Native of Afr., cult. for ornament, and occasionally escaped along the s. border of our range.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.
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