Eragrostis PectinaceaEragrostis Pectinacea 2eragrostis cilianensis

Pictured from left to right: Eragrostis pectinacea (2 photos) and Eragrostis cilianensis

This genus is characterized by an open panicle inflorescence in which the spikelets are several-flowered and awnless, though they can be acute or even acuminate. The paleas have 2 keels each with an obvious nerve and often ciliate; they usually persist on the inflorescence after the fruit have matured and fallen.

There are 8 species in MN; 4 are native.

Common species:

Eragrostis pectinacea (eh rah gros' tis peck tih nay' see ah)

  • Synonyms: None
  • Common names: pink grass, purple love grass
  • Origin and habitat: Native; dry to moist disturbed habitats and gardens.
  • Identifying characters: An annual, fairly short (1-6 dm/ tall) grass with clustered stems branching from near the base, giving the plant a bushy appearance. Leaves have long hairs at the collar and the ligule is a fringe of hairs. Inflorescences are large open panicles with the several-flowered spikelets slightly compressed, greenish in appearance.
  • Comments: This can be a fairly rapidly spreading weed along roadways, sandy paths, and other heavily trafficked lanes.

eragrostis pectinacea maperagrostis cilianensis

Additional species in Minnesota:
E. cilianensis
E. frankii
E. hypnoides
E. minor
E. pilosa
E. spectabilis
E. trichodes

Copyright 2002, A.F. Cholewa, J.F. Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota / No portion of this guide may be duplicated without written permission of author.