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a genus of perennial plants of the family Gramineae. The plants are mostly tall herbs with large panicled inflorescences. There are about 25 species, distributed in the Mediterranean region and in the subtropical and tropical belts of Asia and the Americas. The USSR has one species, Ravenna grass (E. ravennae, previously E. purpurascens), a mat-forming plant measuring as much as 3 m in height. The plant grows in the Caucasus and Middle Asia; it occurs mostly in river valleys, where it frequently forms a dense cover over vast land areas. The stems and leaves are used by the local population as fuel and to make baskets, mats, ropes, and roofs.