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(formerly Avenastrum), a genus of plants of the family Gramineae. They are perennial herbs with narrow leaf blades. The spikelets have two to six flowers, which are gathered into panicles. The lemma has a strongly jointed awn, which is twisted at the bottom. There are about 90 species of Helictotrichon, distributed primarily in Eurasia and Africa. There are two or three species in America. Sixteen species are found in the USSR, growing predominantly in southern regions on valley and mountain meadows, in steppes, among shrubbery, and along forest edges. Several species, including H. schellianum, H. asiaticum, and H. desertorum, are valuable fodder plants and are eaten by grazing livestock.