E. crus-galli is an annual grass, culms 30-200 cm, spreading, decumbent or stiffly erect; nodes usually glabrous or the lower nodes puberulent. Sheaths glabrous; ligules absent, ligule region sometimes pubescent; blades to 65 cm long, 5-30 mm wide, usually glabrous, occasionally sparsely hirsute. Panicles 5-25 cm, with few-many papillose-based hairs at or below the nodes of the primary axes, hairs sometimes longer than the spikelets; primary branches 1.5-10 cm, erect to spreading, longer branches with short, inconspicuous secondary branches, axes scabrous, sometimes also sparsely hispid, hairs to 5 mm, papillose-based. Spikelets 2.5-4 mm long, 1.1-2.3 mm wide, disarticulating at maturity. Upper glumes about as long as the spikelets; lower florets sterile; lower lemmas unawned to awned, sometimes varying within a branch, awns to 50 mm; lower paleas subequal to the lemmas; upper lemmas broadly ovate to elliptical, coriaceous portion rounded distally, passing abruptly into an early-withering, acuminate, membranous tip that is further demarcated from the coriaceous portion by a line of minute hairs (use 25× magnification); anthers 0.5-1 mm. Caryopses 1.3-2.2 mm long, 1-1.8 mm wide, ovoid or oblong, brownish (Michael, 2003).
The youngest leaf is rolled, the plant more or less slender with stems up to 90 cm (35.43 inch) tall.stems Erect or decumbent, caespitose.Leaves long, linear, acuminate. Ligule is an oblong hyaline membrane, about 2-3(-5) mm (0.078 - 0.118 - 0.197 inch) long, often truncate and/or fringed.
No auricles, sheath smooth.Panicle more or less protruding or entirely protruding from the uppermost swollen leaf sheath, ovate to oblong, 5 - 8 cm (1.97 - 3.15 inch) long, green.
Spikelets green, broadly lanceolate on short pedicels, shining, 4 -6 mm (0.16 - 0.24 inch) long, strongly laterally compressed.
Glumes 4 - 6 mm ( (0.16 - 0.24 inch) long, fertile lemma lanceolate about 3 mm (0.118 inch) long, more or less lustrous; sterile lemma solitary, about (0.2-)1(-1.8) mm (0.008 - 0.039 - 0.07 inch) long. Glumes subequal, with a broad erose-dentate or entire wing near the tip. Hermaphrodite florets.
Plants in loose tufts, up to 1 m tall, in some especially large types up to 1.5 m. Culms usually erect, sometimes somewhat geniculate at the base. Leaves flat, scabrid or glabrous; auricles long, prominent, linear-falcate, surrounding the culm. Spikes 50-300 mm long, the colour varying from green to purplish or blackish, 10-30 nodes, each bearing three 1-flowered spikelets of which 1, 2 or all 3 are fertile, i.e. two-, four- and six-rowed; the awns normally long and straight, but mutations are found, e.g. 'hooded' and triple-awned forms; rachis brittle or tough. Central spikelet sessile, glumes flattened, usually 10-30 mm long; lemma glabrous or scabrid, mostly near the apex, usually tightly embedding the kernel (though not in naked forms), awn of lemma 30-180 mm long, usually scabrid; anthers 6-10 mm long, yellowish; rachilla short or up to half the length of the palea, with long or short hairs. Lateral spikelets usually sessile, when fertile sessile to pedicellate (3 mm long), when sterile, obtuse to acute or with an awn, almost equally as well-developed as the central one when fertile; glumes 10-20 mm long, more or less flattened.
Perennials. Culms to 3 m high, erect, rhizomatous, nodes waxy. Leaves 45-110 x 0.6-1.2 cm, linear-lanceolate, base rounded, margins serrulate, apex accuminate, involute, glaucous; sheaths to 40 cm long, silky villous at the collar; ligules 4-5 mm long, ovate, membranous. Panicles 20-32 cm long, densely silky white. Spikelets paired, one sessile and the other pedicelled, similar, 3-4 mm long, lanceolate, reddish-brown; callus densely long villous. Lower glume 3-4 x 1 mm, ovate-lanceolate, subcoriaceous, margins hyaline, ciliate. Upper glume 3-4 x 1 mm, ovate-lanceolate, dorsally keeled, margins ciliate. Lower floret empty. Upper floret bisexual. First lemma c. 2 x 1 mm, ovate-acute, hyaline. Second lemma 2-2.5 mm long, linear-lanceolate, hyaline. Stamens 3; anthers yellow or reddish. Ovary oblong; stigma white. Pedicelled spikelets similar to sessile ones.
Job’s Tears is a coarse annual herb. The stem is erect, branched, rather coarse, and stout, and 1-2 m high. The leaves are 10-40 cm long, 2.5-4 cm wide, with the base broad and cordate. The spikes are 6-10 cm long, erect and peduncled. The male spikelets are about 8 mm long. The capsules (fruits), enclosing the female flowers and the grains, are hard, bony, white or nearly black, shining, ovoid, about 8 mm long. The chief value of Job’s Tears lies in the edibility of the fruit. The berries are also strung as beads, used as rosaries, made into curtains, trays, bags etc.
A monoecious plant. Male flowers in terminal racemes; spikelets, two-flowered glumes nearly equal, herbaceous, terminating in two sharp points; females, axillary in the sheaths of the leaves. The spikes or ears proceed from the stalls at various distances from the ground, and are closely enveloped in several thin leaves, forming a sheath called the husk; the ears consist of a cylindrical substance, a pith called the cob; on this the seeds are ranged in eight rows, each row having thirty or more seeds. From the eyes or germs of the seeds proceed individual filaments of a silky appearance and bright green colour; these hang from the point of the husk and are called 'the silk.' The use of these filaments or stigmata is to receive the farina which drops from the flowers, and without which the flowers would produce no seed. As soon as this has been effected, the tops and 'the silk' dry up. The maize grains are of varying colour - usually yellow, but often ranging to black.