African Lovegrass

Latin Name: Eragrotis curvula


Family: Poaceae.
Known Hazards: None known
Habitat: Arable land and road sides.
Edibility Rating: 1 (1-5)
Medicinal Rating: 0 (1-5)

Physical Characteristics:Tufted, often tussocky, perennial grass to about 1.5 m tall. Leaves hairless or with soft hairs having wart-like bases; appendage at base of leaf (ligule) a hairy rim to 1 mm long; blade about 3 mm wide. Seeds cream to brown about 1 mm long.
Flowers: Seed Head: Up to 30 cm long. Flowers mostly summer to autumn, but spring burning will promote rapid growth to full maturity in early summer. The flowers are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Apomictic (reproduce by seeds formed without sexual fusion), wind. The plant is self-fertile.

african lovegrassDistinguishing features: Distinguished by erect, open or compact seedhead, that has a lead-grey or grey-green appearance (see photo) and leaf tips that are often curly

Dispersal: Seeds that are often spread in mud on vehicles and animals.

Edible Uses: 

Seed – cooked or used as a grain.

Medicinal Uses

None known

Other Uses

Basketry; Biomass; Soil stabilization. A deep-rooted plant, it is considered excellent for protecting terraces and for grassing water channels and is valuable for erosion control. In Lesotho, the plant is used to make baskets, brooms, hats, ropes, and candles.

Notes: A variable species complex. Valued for soil conservation and fodder or regarded as a serious weed. Introduced for soil stabilisation. Common on sandy soils; capable of resisting drought and heavy grazing. Successfully competes with low growing weeds such as Spiny Burrgrass Cenchrus species and Caltrop Tribulus terrestris. Many early introductions were of low palatability. ‘Consol’ is a cultivar selected for palatability. Seedlings grow rapidly after summer rain and strategies to control it depend on providing unfavourable conditions in summer. Serious weed of road verges and may form dense swards crowding out more desirable species in pasture or environmental areas.

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