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a genus of plants of the family Gramineae. They are primarily perennial herbs with narrow linear and bristle-like blades, which are generally folded lengthwise. The solitary spike-lets are not numerous and are gathered in lax or, less frequently, compressed panicles. There are two lemmas; the inferior flowering glume is hard, with a long awn. There are approximately 300 species, distributed in the temperate, subtropical, and tropical zones of both hemispheres. Many species form the basic elements of the grass cover of steppes, prairies, and pampas; they also grow in meadows that have become steppe and on dry slopes and cliffs. In the USSR there are approximately 80 species, primarily in the central and southern regions of the European USSR, the Caucasus, Middle Asia, and Southern Siberia. Some of the most common species are Stipa lessingiana, feather grass (S. pennata), S. pulcherrima, S. zalesskii, and S. capillata. Many are valuable fodder plants, especially S. lessingiana. Esparto grass (S. tenacissima), which grows in the Mediterranean Region, provides raw material for the paper industry.
REFERENCEKormovye rasteniia senokosov i pastbishch SSSR, vol. 1. Edited by I. V. Larin. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950.
T. V. EGOROVA