Eragrostis hypnoides (Creeping Lovegrass)
|Also known as:||Teal Love Grass|
|Habitat:||sun; moist soil; mud flats, sandbars sandy shores of streams and rivers|
|Fruiting season:||July - October|
|Plant height:||1 to 5 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Panicles are compact, ¾ to 3 inches long, egg-shaped to short cylindric in outline, few branched. Spikelets (flower clusters) are spreading, often stalkless and densely packed, shiny light green with some purpling, flattened, lance linear, typically ¼ to 1/3 inch long with 10 to 15 florets, but can be up to ¾ inch long with up to 35 florets.
At the base of a spikelet is a pair of bracts (glumes) that are lance to egg-shaped, papery, 1-veined, the lower glume .4 to .7 mm long, the upper glume larger, to 1.2 mm long. Surrounding a floret is a pair of bracts (lemma and palea), the lemmas, broadly egg-shaped, 1.5 to 2 mm long, about twice as long as the upper glume, folded along the keel, 3 veined with prominent lateral veins. Palea are smaller, about as long as the glumes, translucent whitish. Keels of glumes and lemmas have short stiff hairs (scabrous) towards the tip and have no glands.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate, flat, 1/3 to 1½ inches long, 1/8 inch wide, upper surface rough (scabrous) or with short soft hairs, lower surface smooth. Sheaths are typically longer than the internodes, mostly smooth with few hairs around upper opening. The ligule (membrane where the leaf joins the sheath) is a fringe of short hairs. Nodes are smooth or hairy. Stems are hairless, multiple from the base, creeping, repeatedly branching, rooting at the lower nodes, sending up new flowering stems and more running branches, forming large, dense mats.
Spikelets mature to a tawny yellow or pinkish. Individual grains (seeds) drop away independently along with the lemma, leaving the palea and glumes behind persisting on the stalk. The grain is yellow to brown, oval to egg-shaped with a textured surface, about .5 mm long.
Creeping Lovegrass is common along the sandy banks and sandbars of many of Minnesota's streams and rivers, but has only occasionally been found along sandy lakeshore habitats. An annual, it flourishes in the moist, disturbed sands and gravels that appear as spring flood waters recede. It can't easily be mistaken for any other species though the spikelets may superficially look like the non-native Stink Grass, (Eragrostis cilianensis). However, Stink Grass is much larger, upright plant with erect to ascending branches, does not root at the nodes, with panicles up to 7½ inches tall, but most notably it gives off an unpleasant odor when crushed or is wet, were Creeping Lovegrass does not.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Creeping Lovegrass plant
- late season Creeping Lovegrass
- Creeping Lovegrass with Awned Umbrella Sedge
- pre-flowering growth
- mat of late season plants
Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka, Lac Qui Parle and Washington counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?