Sand Lovegrass

Eragrostis trichodes (Nutt.) Alph. Wood



A tufted, erect bunchgrass. Branches are straight, rough-textured, green to reddish-purple in color, and diverge multiple times from the central stalk (i.e., rachis). Sheaths are hairy at the throat. The ligule is a fringe of hairs about 0.5 mm in length. Nodes are hairless. Leaves turn to a rusty-tan color when dormant. The panicle is 1 to 2 feet or 0.3 to 0.6 m long, oblong, and open, with purplish to pale spikelets bearing six to ten flowers. The spikelets are in clusters at the tip of the seed branches. Spikelets mature in late summer through fall. Mature seeds fall away individually along with the lemma. The seeds are golden to reddish brown in color, round to squarish in shape, slightly flattened, 0.8 to 1.5 mm long, and have a distinct groove on one side.   Sand Lovegrass is a perennial, warm-season, native ranging from 2 to 5 ft or 0.6 to 1.5 m tall. It is valued for its fine, purplish inflorescence and arching habit.  Good forage for wildlife. Excellent forage for livestock during spring and early summer, fair to good forage after the plant matures. Highly palatable and known as an ice-cream grass of the prairie. 


Grows on the upland, sandy soil of prairies, rocky slopes, roadsides, and open woodlands. A good grass for livestock grazing when managed as a pure stand. Sand Lovegrass is adapted to heavier soils and is used for stabilizing sandy areas.