Numerous, see text
Eragrostis (lovegrass) is genus of the Poaceae (grass family) and the type genus of the tribe Eragrostideae. The name of the genus is derived from the Greek words ερως (eros), meaning "love", and αγρωστις (agrostis), meaning "grass".
Some are dispersed by passing animals; the grains' hooks latch on to fur or hair, or to clothes. Others are wind or gravity dispersed. Several herbivores feed on lovegrass, including invertebrates such as the caterpillars of the Zabulon Skipper (Poanes zabulon) and vertebrates. The extinct bluebuck (Hippotragus leucophaeus) was known to graze these grasses. The dense bunches also provide cover for small animals such as the rare Botteri's Sparrow (Aimophila botterii). Lovegrasses may be important groundcover on oceanic islands like Laysan, where other plants are rare.
They can be used as livestock fodder. The seeds appear to be of high nutritional value for some animals, but they are also very tiny and collecting them for food is cumbersome and not usually done. A notable exception is teff (E. tef), which is used to make traditional breads on the Horn of Africa, such as Ethiopian injera and Somalian laxoox. It is a crop of commercial importance. E. clelandii and E. tremula are recorded as famine foods in Australia and Chad, respectively.
Other species, such as E. amabilis, are used as ornamental plants. E. cynosuroides is used in the pūjā rites in the Hindu temple at Karighatta. Bahia lovegrass (E. bahiensis) is known as a hyperaccumulator of caesium-137 and can be grown to remove the highly toxic radioactive atoms from the environment. Weeping lovegrass (E. curvula) has been planted extensively to prevent soil erosion.
Formerly placed here
- Briza uniolae (Nees) Steud. (as E. uniolae Nees)
- Coelachyrum piercei (Benth.) Bor (as E. piercei Benth.)
- Coelachyrum yemenicum (Schweinf.) S.M.Phillips (as E. yemenica Schweinf.)
- Desmostachya bipinnata (L.) Stapf (as E. cynosuriodes (Retz.) P.Beauv.)
- Eragrostiella brachyphylla (Stapf) Bor (as E. brachyphylla Stapf)
- Harpachne schimperi Hochst. ex A.Rich. (as E. schimperi (Hochst. ex A. Rich.) Benth.)
- Leptochloa decipiens subsp. asthenes (Roem. & Schult.) N.Snow (as E. ciliolata Jedwabn.)
- Poa fendleriana subsp. fendleriana (as E. fendleriana Steud.)
- "Genus: Eragrostis Wolf". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1999-03-09. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- "Eragrostis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
- Quattrocchi, Umberto (2006). CRC World Dictionary of Grasses. II E-O. CRC Press. p. 805. ISBN 978-0-8493-1303-5.
- Freedman, Robert (1998): Famine Foods - Poaceae or Graminae. Version of 6 March 1998. Retrieved 12 November 2007.
- "GRIN Species Records of Eragrostis". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
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