Eragrostis cilianensis (All.) Vignolo - Stink Grass

Eragrostis cilianensis plant

Family - Poaceae

Stems - To 40cm long, spreading to ascending, herbaceous, multiple from the base, from fibrous roots, glabrous but often with a small ring of glandular bumps below the nodes. Plants annual.

Leaves - Blades to 20cm long, to 7mm broad, flat, glabrous. Leaf margins with many minute glands which can be felt or seen with a lens. Leaf bases with ciliate hairs. Sheaths glabrous but with glands on the margins, ciliate on the margins near the apex. Ligule a line of minute hairs to 1mm long.

Eragrostis cilianensis leaf baseLeaf base.

Eragrostis cilianensis liguleLigule.

Eragrostis cilianensis glandsLeaf blade margin with arrow showing gland.

Inflorescence - Paniculate arrangement of spikelets, fairly dense, to 15cm long, ovate in outline, with a slightly silvery-greyish cast. Branches of the inflorescence ascending to spreading, glabrous or with floccose axillary hairs, also with glands as the leaves.

Eragrostis cilianensis inflorescence

Flowers - Spikelets to 15mm long, 2-4mm broad, oblong-lanceolate in outline, with typically 10-20 florets. Glumes of the florets to 2.3mm long, the upper slightly longer than the lower, both glumes typically glabrous but usually with glands. Lemmas to 2.8mm long, acute to acuminate at the apex, keeled, with glands along the midvein.

Eragrostis cilianensis spikeletsSpikelets close-up.

Flowering - June - October.

Habitat - Streambanks, glades, fields, pastures, disturbed sites, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Other info. - This weedy species is found throughout Missouri. The plant can be identified by its tufts of hairs at the base of the leaves and its small glands which are present on nearly all parts of the plants. The glands sometimes emit a foul odor when crushed and the plant has been called "Stink Grass." It is believed to be mildly toxic if ingested.

Photographs taken in the Ozark Scenic Riverways, Shannon County, MO., 7-23-03.


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