Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Bigtop Lovegrass - Eragrostis hirsuta   (Michaux) Nees
Members of Poaceae:
Members of Eragrostis with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Cyperales » Family Poaceae
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Author(Michaux) Nees
DistributionThroughout the state, with gaps in the Mountains and in the far northeastern counties.

MD to MO south to FL and TX.
AbundanceFrequent to common in the Coastal Plain, Sandhills, and Piedmont; infrequent to fairly common in the lower portions of the mountains.
HabitatDry to xeric sandy woodland openings, clearcuts, roadsides, powerlines, disturbed soils. Its true natural habitat in NC is unknown.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting July-October.
IdentificationWell-named, Bigtop Lovegrass produces a huge inflorescence that is very open and airy, broadly ovoid, 1-2.5 feet long. The spikelets are only 2-5 mm long and each contains 2-6 florets. In late fall, the whole inflorescence breaks off and rolls about with the wind.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Species in the genus Eragrostis -- the lovegrasses -- often have inflorescences that are larger than the rest of the plant. Such inflorescences are very open and airy, but other species have more contracted inflorescences. Each spikelet is laterally compressed and contains few to many florets, which lack awns.
Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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