Eragrostis chapelieri (Kunth) Nees

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Eragrostis chapelieri

Photo: Bart Wursten
Cleveland Dam, Harare

Eragrostis chapelieri

Photo: Bart Wursten
Cleveland Dam, Harare

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Synonyms: Eragrostis dolichostachya Peter
Poa chevalieri Kunth
Common names: Muswewehongi (Shona) Spiky love-grass (English)
Frequency: Common
Status: Native
Densely caespitose perennial without rhizomes or stolons; culms up to 90(120) cm tall, erect or rarely ascending, unbranched, glabrous at the nodes, eglandular; basal leaf sheaths glabrous, firmly chartaceous, terete, eglandular, persistent; ligule a line of hairs; leaf laminas 6–35(45) cm × 1–4(8) mm, linear, flat, folded or involute, glabrous to pilose, eglandular.Panicle 4–19 cm long, very dense, cylindrical and spiciform, often interrupted below, the spikelets densely contracted about the primary branches, sessile or shortly pedicelled, the primary branches not in whorls, terminating in a fertile spikelet, glabrous in the axils, eglandular.Spikelets 6–25(30) × 2–3 mm, linear, strongly laterally compressed, 7–40(56)-flowered, the lemmas disarticulating from below upwards, the rhachilla persistent; glumes subequal, 1.7–2.7 mm long, reaching to about the middle of the adjacent lemmas, keeled, narrowly lanceolate in profile, asperulous along the keel above, otherwise glabrous, acute at the apex; lemmas 1.9–2.5(3.1) mm long, keeled, ovate in profile, membranous with distinct lateral nerves, diverging from the rhachilla at less than 45°, those in opposite rows not imbricate, the rhachilla visible between them, sometimes green but usually reddish-brown or purplish, asperulous on the keel, otherwise glabrous, acute to acuminate at the apex; palea persistent, glabrous on the flanks, the keels slender, narrowly winged, the wing margin entire, minutely ciliolate; anthers 2, 0.3–0.8 mm long.Caryopsis 0.5–0.8 mm long, broadly elliptic, somewhat laterally compressed.
Notes: Perennial tufted grass, up to 1 m. Leave narrowly linear, upto 45 cm long, often folded or rolled along the length. Inflorescence a very dense spike-like panicle, up to 25 cm long, often interrupted below. Spikelets linear to narrowly oblong, flattened, up to 25 mm long.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: In grassland and open woodland on sandy soils or in rocky places, often on alluvial soils near dambos, lakes or rivers.
Altitude range: (metres) Up to 1800 m
Flowering time:Jan - Aug
Worldwide distribution: From Sudan to South Africa. Also in Madagascar.
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

Chapano, C. (2002). A checklist of Zimbabwean grasses Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 16. Pretoria. Page 6.

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 15.

Cope, T.A. (1999). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(2) Pages 125 - 127. (Includes a picture).

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 134.

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 297 - 298.

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

Klaassen Esmerialda, E.S. & Craven P. (2003). Checklist of grasses in Namibia SABONET Report No. 20 Page 38.

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.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 129.

Poilecot, P. (2007). Eragrostis species of Zimbabwe Éditions Quae,Versailles, France Pages 160 - 161. (Includes a picture).

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

Other sources of information about Eragrostis chapelieri:

Our websites:

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

External websites:

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

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 chapelieri., retrieved 18 May 2024

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