Ehrharta erecta Lam.

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Ehrharta erecta

Photo: Bart Wursten
Haslemere Lane, Umwinsidale

Ehrharta erecta

Photo: Bart Wursten
Haslemere Lane, Umwinsidale

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Synonyms: Ehrharta abyssinica Hochst.
Ehrharta erecta var. abyssinica (Hochst.) Pilg.
Ehrharta erecta var. natalensis Stapf
Ehrharta panicea Sm.
Ehrharta paniciformis Nees ex Trin.
Panicum deflexum Guss. ex Ten.
Common names:
Frequency: Locally common in division E
Status: Native in E Highlands; introduced to division C
A rather variable caespitose perennial. Culms 40-100 cm. tall, 4-6-noded, usually geniculately ascending from a decumbent base, often rooting from the lower nodes, branched from below, slender, rather weak, smooth, glabrous or scattered pilose. Leaf-sheaths tight at first, later slipping off the culm, shorter than the internodes, striate, smooth, glabrous or scattered pilose. Ligule 4-7 mm. long, obtuse or truncate, often lacerate. Leaf-laminae 4-20 x 0·2-1(1·5) cm., very narrowly lanceolate to linear, auricled at the base, tapering to a fine soft point, usually expanded, rather flaccid, glabrous or very rarely scattered pilose, smooth or asperulous. Panicle 6-20 cm. long, erect, rarely nodding, open or contracted, irregularly elliptic to almost linear in outline, somewhat stiff; rhachis terete below, obtusely angular above, smooth or very rarely scaberulous; branches distant, very unequal, 2-3-nate or solitary, simple or sparingly branched, usually ascending to almost appressed to the rhachis, rarely spreading, flexuous, filiform, smooth or rarely scaberulous towards the apex. Pedicels up to 1 cm. long, capillary. Spikelets (3)4-5·75(-6·8) mm. long, light green, oblong in outline. Glumes unequal; the inferior 3-3·6 mm. long, 3-nerved but sometimes with short additional nerves on either side close to the margins, ovate-lanceolate, obtusely keeled, apex obtuse to rarely apiculate; the superior 3·5-4·5 mm. long, ovate to ovate-elliptic, 5-nerved, apex subobtuse to acute. Sterile lemmas (1 and 2) slightly unequal, muticous, with the flanks corrugated to a varying degree to completely smooth, sometimes scabrous or very slightly hispidulous, faintly 5-nerved; the inferior c. 5·4 mm. long, with the apex subacute in profile; the superior c. 6·5 mm. long, with a conspicuous basal hinge-like appendage, apex subobtuse in profile. Fertile lemma (the 3rd.) c. 5·5 mm. long, 5-nerved (sometimes with 1 short additional nerve on either side close to the margin), often cross-veined, ovate-elliptic, with the apex obtuse to subacute, keel scaberulous. Palea deeply cymbiform, scaberulous along the keels. Lodicules very small, usually broadly lobed, glabrous. Stamens 6; anthers 1·5-2 mm. long. Caryopsis c. 2 mm. long.
Notes: A variable, sparsely tufted grass. Despite the name it is often semi-erect, rooting at the lower nodes. The inflorescence branches are often deflexed (image 2).
Derivation of specific name: erecta: erect
Habitat: On roadsides and in often disturbed places; often in the shade of pines where little else grows.
Altitude range: (metres) 1410 - 2270 m
Flowering time:Aug - May
Worldwide distribution: Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, South Africa and the Mascarene Islands; introduced into southern Europe, Asia and North America.
Zimbabwe distribution: C,E
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: Bicyclus safitza safitza (Food plant)
Metisella metis paris (Food plant)
Bicyclus safitza safitza f. evenus (Food plant)
Borbo borbonica borbonica (Food plant)
Neita extensa (Larval foodplant)
Borbo fatuellus fatuellus (Larval foodplant)
Aeropetes tulbaghia (Larval foodplant)
Gnophodes betsimena diversa (Larval foodplant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Wednesday 19 October 2005

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 342. as Ehrharta erecta abyssinica (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. (2002). A checklist of Zimbabwean grasses Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 16. Pretoria. Page 3.

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 23. As Ehrharta erecta erecta

Fish, L., Mashau, A.C., Moeaha, M.J. & Nembudani, M.T. (2015). Identification Guide to Southern African Grasses Strelitzia 36 South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria Pages 251 - 252.

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 37. As Ehrharta abyssinica

Launert, E. (1971). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(1) Pages 39 - 41. (Includes a picture).

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 103.

Van Oudtshoorn, F.P. (1992). Grasses of South Africa Briza Publications, South Africa Page 119. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Ehrharta erecta:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Ehrharta erecta
Flora of Mozambique: Ehrharta erecta

External websites:

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

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Ehrharta erecta., retrieved 30 May 2024

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