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(crabgrass), a genus of annual or perennial grasses of the family Gramineae. The inflorescence consists of several narrowly linear spicate branches, which are somewhat scattered or digitately approximate at the stem apex. The spikelets are one- or two-flowered and gathered in twos or threes in two approximate rows.
There are more than 300 species of crabgrass in the tropics and subtropics, primarily in Africa. Several species grow in the temperate zone. The USSR has six or seven species, which are found mainly in the south. The plants grow in sandy areas and along bodies of water; they frequently grow as weeds in fields and along roads. The most common species are the smooth crabgrass (D. isohaemum) and the large crabgrass (D. sanguinalis). The plants serve as sand binders and as forage for livestock. In tropical and subtropical regions many species are important pasture plants. D. exilis and the large crabgrass are raised as cereal crops. Plants of the genus Digitada are used to control erosion and to bind sands. The grasses are used in lawns and in the weaving of baskets and mats.
REFERENCEBeliuchenko, I. S. Zlakovye kormovye rasteniia tropicheskogo poiasa, part 1. Moscow, 1969.
T. V. EGOROVA