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.
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.
Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.
Publication or other use of content on this site is unauthorised unless that use conforms with the copyright statement.