African Lovegrass

Eragrostis curvula

Type of weed:

Priority Weed Local Priority Weed. (See more weeds of the class.)

Description

African Lovegrass is a perennial grass that grows in clumps up to 1.2 m tall.

Stems are:

  • slender
  • erect
  • sometimes bent at the nodes

Leaves are:

  • Slender
  • Erect
  • Sometimes bent at the nodes

African lovegrass has a small, thin structure at the base of the leaf blade. This is a ligule. The ligule has a ring of white hairs.

Flowers are:

  • grey or greyish-green when young
  • straw-coloured when mature
  • in groups of 4 to 13 on a spike
  • 4–10 mm long
  • 1–1.5 mm wide
  • usually present in summer
  • sometimes present year-round in coastal areas

Seeds are:

  • about 1 mm long
  • clustered at the end of the stems
  • in groups 6–30 cm long
  • present on the plant from mid-summer to autumn

Don’t confuse with…

African lovegrass looks like other perennial pasture tussock grasses. It is difficult to tell native and introduced Eragrostis species from each other. Other desirable tussock grasses such as Poa tussock (Poa labillardieri) also look similar.

Consol lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula cv. Consol) is a non-weed cultivar of African lovegrass. It is grown in pastures on sandy soils. The differences between this cultivar and the weed African lovegrass are subtle. It is difficult to tell them apart.

Dispersal

Seed spreads:

  • short distances by wind
  • between paddocks by livestock
  • along roads by machinery and vehicles
  • in hay and fodder
  • by water

Impact on bushland

African Lovegrass prefers disturbed soils on roadsides, riverbanks and disturbed areas, from which it can invade adjacent degraded pastures and native grasslands. African Lovegrass is generally unpalatable, produces copious seed, and can rapidly spread over and dominate degraded pastures. It also competes with native species during regeneration after fire.

Alternative planting

Native plants

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.

Control

Successful weed control requires follow up after the initial efforts. This means looking for and removing new seedlings. Using a combination of control methods is usually more successful.

Hand weed at any time.

Can be spot sprayed with herbicide during the growing season. Only apply to green actively growing plants.

  • control mature plants year round, with extra effort in spring before flowering
  • look for flushes of seedlings after rain when temperatures are over 10°C (most seeds germinate in autumn and spring) and hand weed the seedlings before they are six weeks old
  • keep looking for new plants each year as some seed remains viable for up to 17 years

Local Priority Weed

Control measures:

  • The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • Plants under 4 metres in height should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.
  • The spread of this plant should be adequately contained to prevent spread impacting on priority assets. Weed notices will only be issued for these weeds under special circumstances.