Eragrostis capensis (Thunb.) Trin.

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Eragrostis capensis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Cleveland Dam

Eragrostis capensis

Photo: Bart Wursten
Cleveland Dam

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Synonyms: Briza capensis Thunb.
Eragrostis brizoides (L.f.) Nees
Eragrostis elongatocompressa De Wild.
Eragrostis manikensis De Wild.
Eragrostis pseudopoa sensu B.K. Simon
Eragrostis trachyphylla Pilg.
Poa brizoides L.f.
Common names: Heart-seed love-grass (English)
Frequency: Common
Status: Native
Caespitose perennial with short horizontal rhizome; culms up to 120 cm tall, erect or ascending, unbranched, glabrous at the nodes, eglandular; basal leaf sheaths glabrous or tomentose, chartaceous, terete, eglandular, persistent or sometimes decaying into a cushion of fibres; ligule a line of hairs; leaf laminas 7–35 cm × 2–5 mm, linear, flat or convolute, firm and glaucous, glabrous, eglandular.Panicle 4–11 cm long, narrowly ovate, open and spreading or linear and contracted, the spikelets shortly pedicelled (1–2 mm) on the primary branches or on short secondary branchlets, the primary branches not in whorls, terminating in a fertile spikelet, glabrous in the axils, eglandular.Spikelets 3.5–15 × 3–7 mm, ovate to suborbicular, plump, 3–35-flowered, the florets disarticulating from below upwards, the rhachilla persistent; glumes subequal, 3–4 mm long, reaching to about 4/5 the way along the adjacent lemmas, dorsally rounded, ovate to ovate-elliptic, glabrous, acute to acuminate at the apex; lemmas 2.5–4 mm long, dorsally rounded, broadly elliptic, cartilaginous with distinct lateral nerves, diverging from the rhachilla at more than 45°, those in opposite rows not imbricate, the rhachilla visible between them, brownish-green suffused with purple (the glumes brown throughout), glabrous, the surface granular, subacute at the apex; palea deciduous with or soon after the lemma, glabrous on the flanks, the keels slender, wingless, puberulous; anthers 3, 1.4–1.8 mm long.Caryopsis c. 2 mm long, elliptic, dorsally flattened.
Notes: Perennial tufted grass with short leaves concentrated at the base and long unbranched culms up to 1.2 m; inflorescence a short branched panicle, narrow or spreading with relatively few spikelets; spikelets large, heart-shaped slightly reminiscent of Briza maxima.
Derivation of specific name: capensis: of the Cape
Habitat: In seasonally wet grassland, and wooded grassland, usually on the central plateau but also in montane and coastal localities, in sandy or peaty soils
Altitude range: (metres) 1000 - 2200 m
Flowering time:Sep - May
Worldwide distribution: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, also Madagascar and Thailand
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,E,S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E. & Willis, C.K. (eds) (2005). Plants of the Nyika Plateau Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31 SABONET, Pretoria Page 345. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 24.

Cope, T.A. (1999). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(2) Page 121. (Includes a picture).

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 39.

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 39.

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.

Poilecot, P. (2007). Eragrostis species of Zimbabwe Éditions Quae,Versailles, France Pages 146 - 147. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 136.

Siebert, S. & Mössmer, M. (Editors) (2002). SABONET Southern Mozambique Expedition 2001; Provisional Plant Checklist of the Maputo Elephant Reserve (MER) and Licuati Forest Reserve (LFR) SABONET News 7(1) Page 28.

Strugnell, A.M. (2006). A Checklist of the Spermatophytes of Mount Mulanje, Malawi Scripta Botanica Belgica 34 National Botanic Garden of Belgium Page 147.

Wursten, B., Timberlake, J. & Darbyshire, I. (2017). The Chimanimani Mountains: an updated checklist. Kirkia 19(1) Page 85.

Other sources of information about Eragrostis capensis:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Eragrostis capensis
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Eragrostis capensis
Flora of Malawi: Eragrostis capensis
Flora of Mozambique: Eragrostis capensis
Flora of Zambia: Eragrostis capensis

External websites:

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

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: Eragrostis capensis., retrieved 18 May 2024

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