Eragrostis capillaris (L.) Nees

lace lovegrass

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Lace lovegrass is a rare but widespread annual grass of open balds and rocky ridges, which is also sometimes found on sandy roadsides and other disturbed areas. Although the species may have been introduced to some of these areas, it is difficult to distinguish which occurences are the result of introduction. It reaches the northern edge of its range in New England. The open inflorescences have a very "lacy" look, and the species name, "capillaris" means hair-like.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), cliffs, balds, or ledges, floodplain (river or stream floodplains), ridges or ledges

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
1–5 mm
Inflorescence branches
the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
Spikelet length
1.4–5 mm
Glume relative length
neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
Awn on glume
the glume has no awn
One or more florets
there is more than one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
0 mm
Leaf ligule length
0.2–0.5 mm
Anther length
0.2–0.3 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    0.2–0.3 mm
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has no awn
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is thin and flexible
    Floret number
    2–7
    Floret types within spikelet
    all the florets within a spikelet are similar
    Glume relative length
    neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
    Glume veins
    1
    Inflorescence arrangement
    the spikelets are uniform
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    • the inflorescence axis is arched or curved outward
    • the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branches
    the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
    Inflorescence crowding
    the panicle is somewhat to very spread out, with clearly-evident branches
    Inflorescence length
    100–500 mm
    Inflorescence type (general)
    the spikelets are borne on stalks or on branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence is branched, and the branches do NOT both grow from the same side of the plant AND look like spikes
    Lemma awn base
    NA
    Lemma awn length
    0 mm
    Lemma awn number
    the lemma has no awn
    Lemma base hairs
    the lemma is hairless or feels just a tiny bit rough at the base
    Lemma cross-section
    the lemma is V-shaped if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma surface
    the surface of the lemma is relatively smooth (not counting any longitudinal veins or hairs)
    Lemma tip
    the lemma tip is a simple point, with or without an awn (long narrow extension ending in a point)
    Lemma vein number
    3
    One or more florets
    there is more than one floret per spikelet
    Palea relative length
    palea is one half to fully as long as lemma
    Spikelet axis tip
    there is no extension of the spikelet axis beyond the tip of the spikelet
    Spikelet length
    1.4–5 mm
    Spikelet pedicel
    the spikelets have pedicels
    Spikelet pedicel length
    4–25 mm
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Upper glume shape
    the upper glume is widest at or below the middle
  • Growth form
    Horizontal rooting stem
    no
    Lifespan
    the plant lives only a single year or less
    Rhizomes
    no
    Roots
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves do not have auricles
    Leaf blade width
    1–5 mm
    Leaf ligule length
    0.2–0.5 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    • the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane with fine hairs
    • the leaf ligule is in the form of fine hairs
    Leaf margin glands
    there are no glands along the edges of the leaf blade
    Leaf sheath closed around stem
    the margins of the leaf sheath are overlapping and not fused together except in the basal half (or less)
    Leaf sheath hairs
    • there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    • there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • cliffs, balds, or ledges
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • ridges or ledges
    • river or stream floodplains
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Roots at lower stem nodes
    no
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Connecticut
unrankable (S-rank: SU)
Maine
historical (S-rank: SH), potentially extirpated (code: PE)
Massachusetts
not applicable (S-rank: SNA)
New Hampshire
unrankable (S-rank: SU), Ind (code: Ind)
Vermont
rare to uncommon (S-rank: S2S3)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Eragrostis spectabilis:
plants perennial from knobby rhizomes and spikelets with 6-12 florets (vs. E. capillaris, plants annual from fibrous roots and spikelets with mostly 2-5 florets).

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Eragrostis

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Eragrostis capillaris (L.) Nees NC

lace lovegrass. CT, MA, ME, NH, ri, vT. Open balds and rocky ridges, sandy roadsides, river 
banks, and waste lots, railroads and railroad yards. Some stations for this species are very likely the result of unintentional introduction. However, given that disturbed, sandy areas mimic this species natural habitat, it is difficult to know for sure which stations are native 
and which are introduced.