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a genus of plants of the family Gramineae. The plants are perennial herbs with narrow, linear leaf blades. The inflorescence is a spikelike panicle; the spikelets are two- to five-flowered and laterally compressed. There are about 80 species, distributed in nontropical regions of both hemispheres. The USSR has 30 to 35 species, growing in steppes, in meadows, in sparse forests, and, less commonly, in the tundra and the alpine zone of mountains. K. cristata (formerly K. gracilis), which is widely distributed in the steppe zone, is a valuable pasture and hay-yielding plant. K. caucásica is a good pasture plant on high-elevation meadows of the Caucasus. A number of other species, including K. glauca, also have some value as pasturage.