Eragrostis patens Oliv.

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Eragrostis patens

Photo: Petra Ballings
Val D'Or

Eragrostis patens

Photo: Petra Ballings
Val D'Or

Eragrostis patens

Photo: Petra Ballings
Val D'Or

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Common names: Footpath love grass (English)
Status: Native
Caespitose annual; culms up to 35(45) cm tall, erect or ascending, branched or unbranched, glabrous at the nodes (but the internodes often pilose with tubercle-based hairs), eglandular; leaf sheaths glabrous or pilose with tubercle-based hairs; ligule a line of hairs; leaf laminas 3–18(25) cm × (1)2–3(6) mm, linear, flat, glabrous or sparsely pilose, eglandular.Panicle 2–10 cm long, very dense and spike-like, the spikelets sessile in cuneate clusters, these ± coalesced into an oval or oblong head, but sometimes the lowermost clusters distant, the primary branches not in whorls, terminating in a fertile spikelet, glabrous in the axils (but the axis often hirsute and the branchlets barbate).Spikelets 7–40 × 1–2 mm, linear, strongly laterally compressed, 8–70-flowered, the lemmas disarticulating from below upwards but the rhachilla breaking off above the glumes after the lower lemmas have begun to fall; glumes subequal, 2–2.5 mm long, reaching to between 1/2 and 2/3 the way along the adjacent lemmas, keeled, lanceolate in profile, scaberulous on the keel, otherwise glabrous, acute at the apex; lemmas 2.5–4 mm long, keeled, lanceolate in profile, membranous with distinct lateral nerves, closely appressed to the rhachilla, those in opposite rows imbricate and concealing the rhachilla, pallid or flushed with purple, scaberulous on the keel, otherwise glabrous, apiculate at the apex; palea persistent, glabrous on the flanks, the keels slender, wingless, minutely hispidulous; anthers 3, 0.2–0.3 mm long.Caryopsis c. 0.5 mm long, elliptic, laterally compressed.
Notes: Slender tufted annual grass, up to 40 cm tall. Stems erect or ascending. Leaves and stems eglandular. Inflorescence a panicle, dense and spike-like, 2-10cm long. Spikelets linear, sessile in cuneate clusters, flushed purple.
Derivation of specific name: patens: spreading, diverging from the axis at almost 90 degrees
Habitat: In a variety of woodland and grassland habitats and in disturbed and cultivated land.
Altitude range: 350 - 2440 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Tropical and South Africa
Malawi distribution: N,S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Cope, T.A. (1999). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(2) Page 126. (Includes a picture).

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 40.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 104.

Poilecot, P. (2007). Eragrostis species of Zimbabwe Éditions Quae,Versailles, France Pages 158 - 159. (Includes a picture).

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 189.

Other sources of information about Eragrostis patens:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: Eragrostis patens
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Eragrostis patens
Flora of Mozambique: Eragrostis patens
Flora of Zambia: Eragrostis patens
Flora of Zimbabwe: Eragrostis patens

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Eragrostis patens
African Plant Database: Eragrostis patens
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Eragrostis patens
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Eragrostis patens
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Eragrostis patens
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Eragrostis patens
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Eragrostis patens
JSTOR Plant Science: Eragrostis patens
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Eragrostis patens
Plants of the World Online: Eragrostis patens
Tropicos: Eragrostis patens
Wikipedia: Eragrostis patens

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Malawi: Species information: Eragrostis patens., retrieved 19 April 2024

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