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a genus of plants of the family Gramineae. The plants are annual or perennial grasses with flat, narrowly linear leaf blades. The inflorescences are panicles. The spikelets are three- or many-flowered. There are about 500 species, distributed in the subtropics, the tropics, and temperate regions. Approximately ten species are found in the USSR. These include the annuals E. poaeoides (formerly E. minor) and E. pilosa, which grow mainly in dry steppes and sandy semideserts. They also grow as weeds in fields. Both species are eaten by livestock as pasturage and hay. E. collina (formerly E. arundinaceae), a perennial reaching 1.5 m tall, is found in steppes and semideserts on solonchaks and solonetzes. It is a salt-resistant forage plant. E. Teff is cultivated as a grain and forage plant in Ethiopia, India, and a number of other countries. Several species, including E. capillaris and E. elegans, are grown as ornamentals.