Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees African Lovegrass
Fl.Afr.Austral. 1:397 (1841)

Conservation Code: Not threatened
Naturalised Status: Alien to Western Australia
Name Status: Current

Brief Description
Amanda Spooner, Thursday 28 August 1997

Densely caespitose perennial (often purple near base), grass-like or herb, 0.3-1.2 m high. Fl. purple/green, Aug or Nov to Dec or Jan to May. Variety of soils. Disturbed sites.

Distribution

Beard’s Provinces: Eremaean Province, South-West Province.

IBRA Regions: Avon Wheatbelt, Carnarvon, Coolgardie, Esperance Plains, Gascoyne, Geraldton Sandplains, Jarrah Forest, Mallee, Murchison, Swan Coastal Plain, Warren.

IBRA Subregions: Augustus, Avon Wheatbelt P1, Avon Wheatbelt P2, Dandaragan Plateau, Eastern Murchison, Fitzgerald, Geraldton Hills, Lesueur Sandplain, Mardabilla, Northern Jarrah Forest, Perth, Recherche, Southern Jarrah Forest, Warren, Western Mallee, Wooramel.

IMCRA Regions: Leeuwin-Naturaliste, WA South Coast.

Local Government Areas (LGAs): Albany, Armadale, Beverley, Bunbury, Busselton, Capel, Cockburn, Collie, Cue, Cunderdin, Dandaragan, Denmark, Dowerin, Dundas, Esperance, Gingin, Gnowangerup, Goomalling, Gosnells, Greater Geraldton, Irwin, Kulin, Kwinana, Mandurah, Manjimup, Merredin, Mingenew, Moora, Morawa, Mundaring, Narrogin, Nedlands, Northam, Northampton, Perth, Quairading, Ravensthorpe, Rockingham, Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Swan, Three Springs, Upper Gascoyne, Wagin, Wandering, Wanneroo, Waroona, Wiluna.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)
Kate Brown and Karen Bettink, Thursday 8 September 2016

Alternative Names. Boer love grass, weeping love grass.

General Biology. Growth form. Grass. Life form. Perennial, caespitose. Reproduction. Seed. Dispersal. Water, wind, mammals, slashing (particularly along roadsides), machinery, vehicles, soil, contaminated grain. Photosynthetic Pathway. C4. Time to first flowering. One year. Seedbank persistence. Possibly up to 5 years. Fire response. Often only top-killed by fire, rapidly resprouts.

Notes. One of the most variable species in the Eragrostis genus. Although a weed of disturbed areas it is also invasive in heathlands, woodlands, forests, grasslands and riverine environments. Forms dense monocultures, creating large fuel loads and a fire hazard. Recorded allelopathy. Favours sandy loams and well drained fertile soils, however will grow in a wide range of soils. Adapted to semi-arid and desert areas and sandy low-fertility soils. Tolerant of salinity. Several cultivars have been developed with more vigorous growth, are longer-lived, have more extensive root systems, higher seed production, more resistance to water stress and greater cold tolerance. Produces prolific seed which can germinate in light or dark conditions and forms large viable seedbanks. Can produce seed at anytime provided there is sufficient moisture and warm temperatures. Cattle can excrete viable seed. Shade can decrease seed production, however this may increase in moist conditions and/or with high nitrogen. Vegetative regeneration occurs only when stems are damaged or removed by grazing or fire. Dominant in low fertility soils, dry conditions and when there is a lack of competitors. Young plants may be killed by low temperatures. Significantly increases in biomass in response to elevated CO2 in both dry and wet conditions. Burning results in increased numbers of reproductive tillers.

Additional information. Origin. Southern Africa, east and south tropical Africa. History of use/introduction. Contaminant of pasture seed, cultivars used for erosion control, ornamental.

Suggested method of management and control. Cut out small plants or small infestations. Alternatively spray with 1-2% glyphosate when plants are green and actively growing. Following fire spray regrowth when 5-10 cm high. Always requires follow-up treatment. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Dormant           O O O O        
Active Growth Y Y Y Y Y O O O Y Y Y Y  
Germination                          
Flowering Y Y Y Y Y           Y Y  
Fruiting Y Y Y Y Y O           Y  
Optimum Treatment Y Y Y Y Y         O Y Y  

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.

 

References

  • Brown, K. & Brooks, K. (2002) Bushland Weeds: A Practical Guide to their Management. Environmental Weeds Action Network, Greenwood.
  • Campbell, M.H. & Nicol, H.I. (1998) Effects of wiping herbicides on serrated tussock (Nassela trichotoma (Nees) Arech.) and African lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula (Shrad.) Nees). Plant Protection Quarterly, 13 (1): 36-38.
  • Coelho, R.W. & Schmidt, R.E. (2001) Allelopathic influence of Eragrostis curvula water extract on seed germination and seedling growth of two other species. In Proceedings XIX IGC 2001 Sao Paulo, Brazil. International Grassland Congress.
  • Colom, M.R. & Vazzana, C. (2001) Drought stress effects on three cultivars of Eragrostis curvula: photosynthesis and water relations. Plant Growth Regulation, 34: 195-202.
  • Department of Primary Industries (2009) Impact Assessment - African Love Grass (Eragrostis curvula) in Victoria. State of Victoria, Victoria.
  • Dixon, B. & Keighery, G. (1995) Weeds and their control. In Managing Perths bushlands (eds. M. Scheltema and J. Harris). Greening Western Australia, Perth.
  • Gucker, C.L. (2009) Eragrostis curvula, In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer) URL: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ - Accessed November 2009.
  • Hely, S.E.L. (2008) The responses of C4 invasive grass Eragrostis curvula and C3 native grass Austrodanthonia racemosa under elevated CO2 and water limitation. Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of New South Wales.
  • Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. & Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. 2nd Edition. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park.
  • Leigh, J.H. (1961) Low-temperature injury in Lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula (Schrad) Nees). Nature, 189: 415-416.
  • McFarland, J.B. & Mitchell, R. (2000) Fire effects on weeping lovegrass tiller density and demographics. Agronomy, 92: 42-47.
  • McLaughlin, S.P. & Bowers, J.E. (2007) Effects of exotic grasses on soil seed banks in south eastern Arizona grasslands. Western North American Naturalist, 67 (2): 206-218.
  • Moore, J.H. & Wheeler, J. (2008) Southern weeds and their control. DAFWA Bulletin 4744.
  • Muyt, A. (2001) Bush invaders of South-East Australia: A guide to the identification and control of environmental weeds found in South-East Australia. R.G. & F.J. Richardson, Melbourne.
  • Nakayama, N., Nishihiro, J., Kayaba, Y., Muranaka, T. & Washitani, I. (2007) Seed deposition of Eragrostis curvula, an invasive alien plant on a river floodplain. Ecological Restoration, 22: 696-701.
  • Nazer, C. & Carder, J. (1999) Evaluation of selective herbicides for control of exotic grasses in remnant native grasslands in southern Australia. In 12th Australian Weeds Conference, Papers and Proceedings, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 12-16 September 1999: Weed management into the 21st century: do we know where we're going.
  • Parsons, W.T. & Cuthbertson, E.G. (2001) Noxious weeds of Australia. 2nd Edition. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.
  • Saucedo, S.M.C., Moreno, T.A., Huber-Sannwald, E. & Rivas, J.F. (2009) Seed germination and seedling growth in native and exotic grasses in the semi-arid grasslands of Northern Mexico. Tec Pecu Mex, 47 (3): 299-312.
  • Skerman, P.J., Riveros, F. & Hoare, D.B. (Undated) Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations URL: http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/agpc/doc/gbase/Safricadata/eragcur.htm - Accessed November 2009.
  • Stalker, H.T. & Wright, N.L. (1975) Reproduction of Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees. Journal of Arizona Academy of Science, 10 (2): 106-110.
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program (2009) Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. URL: https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx - Accessed October 2009.

Project information and acknowledgements