Eragrostis cilianensis is an annual, C4 grass (Halvorson and Guertin 2003) densely tufted, 10-40 cm tall, usually reclining, base bent, strong-smelling, when fresh, a ring of small, warty glands just below each node; sheaths overlapping, hairy at top and along margin, ligule a band of short hairs.
Leaves alternate, 3-12 cm long, 0.2-0.7 cm wide, leaf edges and lower side of midrib and upper sheath with tiny warty glands or pits.
Flower spikelets large, 0.5-1.5 cm long (Hitchcock 1950), 0.2-0.3 cm wide, 10-40 flowers, flattened, florets closely overlapping, ranked along axis in distinct herringbone pattern, glumes much shorter than spikelet, to 0.3 cm, lemmas prominently 3-veined, flat, keeled, tiny glandular pits on top part of midrib, gray with pale tan veins, grain round, brown when mature; inflorescence 5-15 cm long, densely flowered, often dark, grayish-purple, branches short, stiff, spreading; blooms and fruits July-Oct.
Wetland status: FACU.
Frequency in NYC: Frequent.
Habitat: Open, disturbed soil.
Notes: Appearance similar to E. pectinacea which has much smaller spikelets and narrower leaves with no warts on margins.