Poa eragrostis Linn.
Loosely tufted annual; culms 6-60 cm high, ascending. Leaf-blades flat, up to 12 cm long and 5 mm wide, mostly glabrous and usually with a row of warty glands along the margin. Panicle ovate, 4-20 cm long, fairly dense to open, stiffly branched with short pedicels (lateral pedicels 1-3 mm), usually with glands on pedicels and branchlets. Spikelets 6-16(40)-flowered, narrowly oblong or almost linear, 3-9(15) mm long, 1.3-2 mm wide, yellowish green, leaden grey or purplish, breaking up from the base; glumes subequal, ovate, boat-shaped, 1-1.7 mm long, 1-3-nerved, often glandular on the keel, acute; lemmas broadly ovate to subrotund, 1.5-2 mm long, chartaceous, often glandular on the keel, the lateral nerves distinct, obtuse; palea ± scabrid on the keels, persistent; anthers 3, 0.3 mm long. Caryopsis broadly oblong, 0.7-0.8 mm long, dark brown.
Fl. & Fr. Per.: May-September.
Type: Italy, Baeck (LINN).
Distribution: Pakistan (Sind, Baluchistan, Punjab, N.W.F.P., Gilgit & Kashmir); warm temperate and subtropical regions of the Old World; occasionally found as an introduction in the tropics and the New World.
Eragrostis minor intergrades with Eragrostis cilianensis, being distinguished by the narrower oblong (rather than ovate) spikelets, shorter lemmas, more open panicle and oblong (rather than globose) grain. No single character can be relied upon to separate the species. For the present purpose, however, grain shape has been taken as decisive in doubtful cases. The characteristic glands are occasionally absent from the leaves giving rise to confusion with Eragrostis nutans (Retz.) Steud. (a perennial) which has not yet been recorded from Pakistan. A diligent search will usually reveal at least a few glands on the panicle branches and pedicels. Annual plants completely devoid of these crateriform glands (although glandular dots are present on the panicle branches) and without the beard at the mouth of the sheath have been separated as Eragrostis rottleri Stapf, a little known species collected only from Madras over 100 years ago. R.R. Stewart 26345 from Gilgit (K) almost matches the type of Eragrostis rottleri. It is better at this stage, however, not to admit Eragrostis rottleri to the Flora of Pakistan on the basis of a single specimen that resembles a species represented by only two or three previous collections. Much more good material must be collected before the true status of Eragrostis rottleri can be determined.
Certain specimens (cf. J.J. Norris 37, 159) with longer spikelets, slightly narrower, less obtuse lemmas, more densely tuberculate-ciliate sheaths and an apparent lack of the characteristic warty glands have been separated as Eragrostis pappiana (Chiov.) Chiov. Examination of Asian, European and African specimens has shown that Eragrostis minor and Eragrostis pappiana intergrade in all respects and no satisfactory way of distinguishing them has been found. Clayton (in Fl. Trop. E. Afr. 234. 1974) has united the two species and for the present this seems the most appropriate course to be adopted in Pakistan.
In view of Ross’s argument that Eragrostis was validly published by Wolf, the more familiar name for this species, Eragrostis poaeoides P. Beauv. is predated by Eragrostis minor which, for now, must be regarded as the correct name.
Little Lovegrass has no known economic value. It occurs as a weed in gardens, irrigated fields and ditches.