Eragrostis mexicana (Hornem.) Link

Mexican 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

Mexican lovegrass is a rare tourist in New England, having been collected from the dump areas of nineteenth-century wool carding factories in Massachusetts and Maine. Its native stronghold is the southwestern U.S. (and south to Argentina), where some Native America tribes have used its ground seeds for porridge or flour.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats)

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
Leaf blade width
2–9 mm
Inflorescence branches
the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
Spikelet length
4–11 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 sheath hair type
there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath, and some of the hairs have blisters at their bases
Leaf ligule length
0.2–0.5 mm
Anther length
0.2–0.5 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    0.2–0.5 mm
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has no awn
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is thin and flexible
    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 straight
    Inflorescence branches
    the flowers are attached to branches rather than to the main axis of the inflorescence
    Inflorescence length
    50–400 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 marginal vein hairs
    the marginal vein of the lemma is hairless
    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
    4–11 mm
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Upper glume shape
    the upper glume is widest at or below the middle
  • Fruits or seeds
    Groove on seed
    the caryopsis has a groove running most of its length
  • 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 length
    2–9 cm
    Leaf blade width
    2–9 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 hair type
    there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath, and some of the hairs have blisters at their bases
    Leaf sheath hairs
    there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    Specific habitat
    man-made or disturbed habitats
  • 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

Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FAC)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

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

Conservation Status

None

Native to North America?

Yes and no (some introduced)

Sometimes Confused With

Eragrostis curvula:
plants perennial, with basal innovations, anthers 0.6-1.2 mm long, and upper glumes 2-3 mm long (vs. E. Mexicana, with plants annual from fibrous roots, anthers 0.2-0.5 mm long, and upper glumes usually 0.7-2 mm long).

Synonyms

  • Eragrostis orcuttiana Vasey
  • Eragrostis virescens J. Presl

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Eragrostis

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

7.  Eragrostis mexicana (Hornem.) Link ssp. virescens (J. Presl) S.D. Koch & Sánchez E

Mexican lovegrass. Eragrostis orcuttiana Vasey; E. virescens J. Presl • MA, ME. Wool waste, disturbed soil.