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Eragrostis elongata (Willd.) J.Jacq. 1813
pronounced: er-uh-GROS-tiss ee-long-GAH-tuh
(Poaceae – the grass family)
common names: Clustered Lovegrass, Long Lovegrass
This is an Australian native, found in all of the mainland states. It is widespread in woodlands, often on sandy soils. It is a tufted annual, or sometimes perennial, growing to about 80 cm tall. The culms are sometimes branched at the lower nodes. The ligule at the junction of the leaf blade and sheath has tiny hairs only a quarter of a millimetre long. The leaf blade may be flat or rolled, to 2 mm wide, and glabrous.
The inflorescence is contracted, often cylindrical, interrupted towards the base, 5–18 cm long, 0.5–2.5 cm wide; the pedicels are 0–2.5 mm long, scaly, and glabrous. The spikelets are 3.5–10 mm long, 1–2.5 mm wide, with 8–21 florets. The glumes are 1.5–2 mm long, acute, glabrous, with the keel scaly. The lemmas are of similar length, also acute and glabrous, often with the upper keel scaly. The plant flowers in summer, or in response to rain.
There is a cultivar of this grass, ‘Elvera’, which is grown as an ornamental, and usually known as Lavender Grass, that features attractive, deep lavender-coloured seed heads for most of the year. It grows only to about 40 cm in height, and will reach its full size in the first year. The plants need little or no maintenance, thrive in most soils, and are drought and frost tolerant. They grow well in sunny to lightly shaded areas. They are ideal for mass planting in garden beds, borders, golf courses and sloping sites, and birds find them very attractive.
Photographs taken 2010, Picnic Bay
Page last updated 28th November 2016