This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Tall perennial monoecious grasses with thick rootstocks, rather broad flat leaves and spicate or racemose inflorescence. Spikelets 1- or 2-flowered, in terminal or axillary, solitary or clustered, elongated spikes. Staminate spikelets in 2's at each node of the axis, 2-flowered. consisting of four scales, the two outer coriaceous or membranous, the two inner thinner, the palet hyaline; stamens 3. Pistillate spikelets in excavations at the lower joints of the spike, 1-flowered; stigmas exserted; style slender. Grain partly enclosed in the excavations of the spikes, covered in front by the horny exterior lower scale. [Name from the Greek, in allusion to the polished outer scales.]
About 7 species, in tropical and temperate America. Type species: Tripsacum dactyloides L.
Coir dactyloides L. Sp. PI. 972. 1753. . Tripsacum dactyloides L. Sp. PI. Ed. 2, 1378. 1763. Tripsacum dactyloides var. monostachyum Wood, Class-book Ed. 2, 623. 1847.
Culms stout, erect, 4°-8° tall. Leaves smooth and glabrous; blades 1° or more long, 1/2-1 1/2' wide, long-acuminate, truncate or subcordate at the base; spikes terminal and in the upper axils, solitary or 2 or 3 together, 4'-9' long, the lower spikelets pistillate, the upper staminate and very numerous; outer scales of the staminate spikelets linear and obtuse, 3 1/2"-5 1/2" long, faintly many-nerved; exterior scale of the pistillate spikelets horny, shining, closely appressed in fruit.