From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Dropseed)
Jump to: navigation, search
Starr 090205-2349 Sporobolus virginicus.jpg
Sporobolus virginicus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Chloridoideae
Tribe: Zoysieae
Genus: Sporobolus

Many, see text


Agrosticula Raddi
Bauchea E. Fourn.
Bennetia Raf.
Cryptostachys Steud.
Diachyrium Griseb.
Spermachiton Llanos
Spermatochiton Pilg., orth. var.
Triachyrum Hochst.[1]

Sporobolus is a genus of grasses in the family Poaceae. The name is derived from the Greek words and σπόρος (sporos), meaning "seed", and βόλος (bolos), meaning "throw", referring to the dispersion of seeds.[2] Members of the genus are usually called dropseed grasses[3] or sacaton grasses. They are typical prairie and savanna plants, occurring in other types of open habitat in warmer climates. At least one species (S. caespitosus from Saint Helena) is threatened with extinction, and another (S. durus from Ascension Island) is extinct.


While some dropseed grasses make nice gardening plants[citation needed], they are generally considered[who?] to make inferior pastures[citation needed]. On the other hand, seeds of at least some species are edible and nutritious; they were used as food for example by the Chiricahua Apaches. Other species are reported to be used as famine foods, such as Sporobolus indicus in parts of the Oromia Region of Ethiopia, where it is known as muriy in Oromiffa.[4]

Known as popote de cambray, Sporobolus grasses are used in popotillo art or straw mosaics, a Mexican folk art with Pre-Columbian origins.[5]


Caterpillars of the small moth Bucculatrix sporobolella have only been found on alkali sacaton (Sporobolus airoides). The Laysan Dropseed Noctuid Moth (Hypena laysanensis) on Laysan Island apparently became extinct with the local eradication of S. virginicus by feral rabbits. Seed-eating birds including American sparrows (genus Aimophila) feed on sacaton seeds. S. wrightii is a critical resource for the Botteri's Sparrow (Aimophila botterii) which at one time was extirpated from Arizona.

Selected species[edit]

giant Parramatta grass (Sporobolus fertilis)
Madagascar dropseed (Sporobolus pyramidatus)

Formerly placed here[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Genus: Sporobolus R. Br.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2011-02-27. Retrieved 2011-02-28. 
  2. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology. IV R-Z. Taylor & Francis US. p. 2542. ISBN 978-0-8493-2678-3. 
  3. ^ a b "Sporobolus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2011-02-28. 
  4. ^ Dechassa Lemessa, "Prosperity Fades - Jimma and Illubabor Zones of Oromiya Region", UN-EUE Field Report, November 1999 (accessed 15 May 2009)
  5. ^ "Papel Picado, Papel Amate, and Popotillo". Festival of Mexico. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  6. ^ Bussmann, Rainer W; Genevieve G Gilbreath; John Solio; Manja Lutura; Rumpac Lutuluo; Kimaren Kunguru; Nick Wood; Simon G Mathenge (2006). "Plant use of the Maasai of Sekenani Valley, Maasai Mara, Kenya". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2 (22). doi:10.1186/1746-4269-2-22. PMC 1475560. PMID 16674830. 
  7. ^ "GRIN Species Records of Sporobolus". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-02-28.