This is a diploid species; it is very closely related to the tetraploid Eragrostis pilosa (L.) P.Beauv.
Eragrostis aethiopica is an erect or ascending annual grass that can grow up to 75 cm tall. The stem (culm) is slender, either solitary or tufted[
The seed is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food, but usually only as a last resort in times of food shortage.
Africa - Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Malawi. Mozambique, south to S. Africa, Madagascar.
Semi-desert and savannah areas on sand, silt or clay, in areas such as floodplain grassland, small vleis, pan edges and banks and beds of rivers, but also in disturbed habitats, such as roadsides and cultivated land, at elevations up to 1,600 metres[
The plant is considered to be a weed is some areas, such as Mozambique[
]. Sometimes eaten as a cereal[
]. The seed is small and fiddly to utilize - it is most commonly seen as a famine food, used when nothing better is available[
Seed - sow in situ, only just covering the seed. Germination is usually very quick and free.
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