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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
Type species
Sporobolus indicus
(L.) R.Br.[2][3]
giant Parramatta grass (Sporobolus fertilis)
Madagascar dropseed (Sporobolus pyramidatus)

Sporobolus is a nearly cosmopolitan genus of plants in the grass family.[5][3][6][7][8]

The name is derived from the Greek words σπόρος (sporos), meaning "seed", and βόλος (bolos), meaning "throw", referring to the dispersion of seeds.[9] Members of the genus are usually called dropseeds[10] 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.[11]

Known as popote de cambray, Sporobolus grasses are used in popotillo art or straw mosaics, a Mexican folk art with Pre-Columbian origins.[12]


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.

  1. Sporobolus acinifolius Stapf
  2. Sporobolus actinocladus (F.Muell.) F.Muell.
  3. Sporobolus acuminatus (Trin.) Hack.
  4. Sporobolus adustus (Trin.) Roseng.
  5. Sporobolus aeneus (Trin.) Kunth
  6. Sporobolus africanus (Poir.) Robyns & Tournay
  7. Sporobolus agrostoides Chiov.
  8. Sporobolus airiformis Chiov.
  9. Sporobolus airoides (Torr.) Torr.
  10. Sporobolus albicans (Nees ex Trin.) Nees
  11. Sporobolus aldabrensis Renvoize
  12. Sporobolus amaliae Veldkamp
  13. Sporobolus angustifolius A.Rich.
  14. Sporobolus apiculatus Boechat & Longhi-Wagner
  15. Sporobolus atrovirens (Kunth) Kunth
  16. Sporobolus australasicus Domin
  17. Sporobolus bahamensis Hack.
  18. Sporobolus balansae Henrard
  19. Sporobolus bechuanicus Gooss.
  20. Sporobolus blakei B.K.Simon
  21. Sporobolus bogotensis Swallen & García-Barr.
  22. Sporobolus bosseri A.Camus
  23. Sporobolus brockmanii Stapf
  24. Sporobolus buckleyi Vasey
  25. Sporobolus caespitosus Kunth
  26. Sporobolus camporum Swallen
  27. Sporobolus capillaris Miq.
  28. Sporobolus caroli Mez
  29. Sporobolus centrifugus (Trin.) Nees
  30. Sporobolus clandestinus (Biehler) Hitchc.
  31. Sporobolus coahuilensis J.Valdés
  32. Sporobolus collettii (Hook.f.) Bor
  33. Sporobolus compactus Clayton
  34. Sporobolus compositus (Poir.) Merr.
  35. Sporobolus confinis (Steud.) Chiov.
  36. Sporobolus congoensis Franch.
  37. Sporobolus consimilis Fresen.
  38. Sporobolus contiguus S.T.Blake
  39. Sporobolus contractus Hitchc.
  40. Sporobolus copei Verloove
  41. Sporobolus cordofanus (Hochst. ex Steud.) Hérincq ex Coss.
  42. Sporobolus coromandelianus (Retz.) Kunth
  43. Sporobolus creber De Nardi
  44. Sporobolus crucensis Renvoize
  45. Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) A.Gray
  46. Sporobolus cubensis Hitchc.
  47. Sporobolus curtissii Small ex Kearney
  48. Sporobolus diandrus (Retz.) P.Beauv.
  49. Sporobolus dinklagei Mez
  50. Sporobolus discosporus Nees
  51. Sporobolus disjunctus B.K.Simon
  52. Sporobolus distichivaginatus R.W.Pohl
  53. Sporobolus domingensis (Trin.) Kunth
  54. Sporobolus durus Brongn. (extinct)
  55. Sporobolus elatior Bosser
  56. Sporobolus elongatus R.Br.
  57. Sporobolus engleri Pilg.
  58. Sporobolus erectus Hitchc.
  59. Sporobolus eximius (Trin.) Ekman
  60. Sporobolus farinosus Hosok.
  61. Sporobolus fertilis (Steud.) Clayton
  62. Sporobolus festivus Hochst. ex A.Rich.
  63. Sporobolus fibrosus Cope
  64. Sporobolus fimbriatus (Nees ex Trin.) Nees
  65. Sporobolus flexuosus (Thurb. ex Vasey) Rydb.
  66. Sporobolus floridanus Chapm.
  67. Sporobolus fourcadei Stent
  68. Sporobolus geminatus Clayton
  69. Sporobolus giganteus Nash
  70. Sporobolus gloeoclados Cope
  71. Sporobolus hajrae P.Umam. & P.Daniel
  72. Sporobolus halophilus Bosser
  73. Sporobolus hancei Rendle
  74. Sporobolus harmandii Henrard
  75. Sporobolus helvolus (Trin.) T.Durand & Schinz
  76. Sporobolus heterolepis (A.Gray) A.Gray
  77. Sporobolus hians Van Schaack
  78. Sporobolus hintonii W.Hartley
  79. Sporobolus humilis J.Presl
  80. Sporobolus indicus (L.) R.Br.
  81. Sporobolus infirmus Mez
  82. Sporobolus interruptus Vasey
  83. Sporobolus ioclados (Nees ex Trin.) Nees
  84. Sporobolus ivakoanyensis A.Camus
  85. Sporobolus junceus (P. Beauv.) Kunth
  86. Sporobolus kerrii Bor
  87. Sporobolus lanuginellus Maire
  88. Sporobolus lasiophyllus Pilg.
  89. Sporobolus latzii B.K.Simon
  90. Sporobolus laxus B.K.Simon
  91. Sporobolus lenticularis S.T.Blake
  92. Sporobolus linearifolius Nicora
  93. Sporobolus ludwigii Hochst.
  94. Sporobolus macer (Trin.) Hitchc.
  95. Sporobolus macranthelus Chiov.
  96. Sporobolus macrospermus Scribn. ex Beal
  97. Sporobolus maderaspatanus Bor
  98. Sporobolus maximus Hauman
  99. Sporobolus mendocinus Méndez
  100. Sporobolus metallicola Longhi-Wagner & Boechat
  101. Sporobolus micranthus (Steud.) T.Durand & Schinz
  102. Sporobolus microprotus Stapf
  103. Sporobolus mildbraedii Pilg.
  104. Sporobolus minarum Boechat & Longhi-Wagner
  105. Sporobolus minimus Cope
  106. Sporobolus minor Kunth
  107. Sporobolus minutus Link
  108. Sporobolus mirabilis Pilg.
  109. Sporobolus mitchellii (Trin.) C.E.Hubb.
  110. Sporobolus molleri Hack.
  111. Sporobolus monandrus Roseng., B.R.Arrill. & Izag.
  112. Sporobolus montanus Engl.
  113. Sporobolus mopane Cope
  114. Sporobolus multinodis Hack.
  115. Sporobolus multiramosus Longhi-Wagner & Boechat
  116. Sporobolus myrianthus Benth.
  117. Sporobolus natalensis (Steud.) T.Durand & Schinz
  118. Sporobolus nealleyi Vasey
  119. Sporobolus nebulosus Hack.
  120. Sporobolus neglectus Nash
  121. Sporobolus nervosus Hochst.
  122. Sporobolus nitens Stent
  123. Sporobolus novoguineensis Baaijens
  124. Sporobolus nudiramus Boechat & Longhi-Wagner
  125. Sporobolus olivaceus Napper
  126. Sporobolus oxyphyllus Fish
  127. Sporobolus palmeri Scribn.
  128. Sporobolus pamelae B.K.Simon
  129. Sporobolus panicoides A.Rich.
  130. Sporobolus paniculatus (Trin.) T.Durand & Schinz
  131. Sporobolus partimpatens B.K.Simon
  132. Sporobolus pauciflorus A.Chev.
  133. Sporobolus paucifolius Boechat & Longhi-Wagner
  134. Sporobolus pectinatus Hack.
  135. Sporobolus pectinellus Mez
  136. Sporobolus pellucidus Hochst.
  137. Sporobolus perrieri A.Camus
  138. Sporobolus phleoides Hack. ex Stuck.
  139. Sporobolus pilifer (Trin.) Kunth
  140. Sporobolus pinetorum Weakley & P.M.Peterson
  141. Sporobolus platensis Parodi
  142. Sporobolus potosiensis Wipff & S.D.Jones
  143. Sporobolus pseudairoides Parodi
  144. Sporobolus pulchellus R.Br.
  145. Sporobolus pungens (Schreb.) Kunth
  146. Sporobolus purpurascens (Sw.) Ham.
  147. Sporobolus pyramidalis P.Beauv.
  148. Sporobolus pyramidatus (Lam.) A.S.Hitchc.
  149. Sporobolus quadratus Clayton
  150. Sporobolus recurvatus Boechat & Longhi-Wagner
  151. Sporobolus reflexus Boechat & Longhi-Wagner
  152. Sporobolus rhizomatosus (Steud.) T.Durand & Schinz
  153. Sporobolus rigens (Tr.) Desv.
  154. Sporobolus rigidifolius (Trin.) Mez ex Veldkamp
  155. Sporobolus robustus Kunth
  156. Sporobolus ruspolianus Chiov.
  157. Sporobolus salsus Mez
  158. Sporobolus sanguineus Rendle
  159. Sporobolus scabridus S.T.Blake
  160. Sporobolus sciadocladus Ohwi
  161. Sporobolus scitulus Clayton
  162. Sporobolus sessilis B.K.Simon
  163. Sporobolus silveanus Swallen
  164. Sporobolus somalensis Chiov.
  165. Sporobolus spicatus Kunth – salt grass
  166. Sporobolus spiciformis Swallen
  167. Sporobolus splendens Swallen
  168. Sporobolus stapfianus[13]
  169. Sporobolus stolzii Mez
  170. Sporobolus subglobosus A.Chev.
  171. Sporobolus subtilis Kunth
  172. Sporobolus subulatus Hack.
  173. Sporobolus temomairemensis Judz. & P.M.Peterson
  174. Sporobolus tenellus (A.Spreng.) Kunth
  175. Sporobolus tenuissimus (Mart. ex Schrank) Kuntze
  176. Sporobolus teretifolius R.M.Harper
  177. Sporobolus testudinum Renvoize
  178. Sporobolus tetragonus Bor
  179. Sporobolus texanus Vasey
  180. Sporobolus tourneuxii Coss.
  181. Sporobolus trichodes Hitchc.
  182. Sporobolus tsiafajavonensis A.Camus
  183. Sporobolus uniglumis Stent & J.M.Rattray
  184. Sporobolus vaginiflorus (Torr. ex A.Gray) Alph.Wood
  185. Sporobolus virginicus (L.) Kunth.
  186. Sporobolus viscidus Sohns
  187. Sporobolus wallichii Munro ex Thwaites
  188. Sporobolus welwitschii Rendle
  189. Sporobolus wrightii Munro ex Scribn.
formerly included[4]

numerous species now considered better suited to other genera: Agrostis Arctagrostis Blepharoneuron Eragrostis Mosdenia Muhlenbergia Poa Sacciolepis Thysanolaena Urochondra


  1. ^ "Genus: Sporobolus R. Br.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2011-02-27. Retrieved 2011-02-28. 
  2. ^ lectotype designated by L.K.G. Pfeiffer, Nom. Bot. 2:1274 (1874)
  3. ^ a b Tropicos, Sporobolus R. Br.
  4. ^ a b c Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  5. ^ Brown, Robert. 1810. Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae 169-170 in Latin
  6. ^ Flora of China Vol. 22 Page 482 鼠尾粟属 shu wei su shu Sporobolus R. Brown, Prodr. 169. 1810.
  7. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana genere Sporobolus included photos and distribution maps for several species
  8. ^ Biota of North America Program 2013 county distribution maps
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ "Sporobolus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 
  11. ^ Dechassa Lemessa, "Prosperity Fades - Jimma and Illubabor Zones of Oromiya Region", UN-EUE Field Report, November 1999 (accessed 15 May 2009)
  12. ^ "Papel Picado, Papel Amate, and Popotillo". Festival of Mexico. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  13. ^ 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 1475560Freely accessible. PMID 16674830.