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Statewide IPM Program, University of California

Lovegrasses  (Eragrostis spp.
Other common name: Lovegrass )

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Life stages of stinkgrass flower head collar mature plant spikelets

Lovegrasses are winter or summer annuals, or perennial grasses, depending on the species and location. At least twelve lovegrass species or subspecies occur in California and the western United States. Some species are called stinkgrasses and have tiny wartlike glands on their leaves and flower spikes, which give off an unpleasant odor. Lovegrasses inhabits agricultural lands and other disturbed sites.


Agronomic and vegetable crop fields, gardens, orchards, nurseries, yards, irrigated pastures, and other disturbed locations.


The first cotyledon (seedling leaf) is very narrow, light green, and inconspicuous. A seedling's second and third leaves are light green, short, and roughly 1/10 of an inch (2.5 mm) wide with tufts of hair arising from base of the third leaf.

Mature plant

Plants can grow upright, sprawling, or both, and range from a few inches wide or tall to over 6-1/2 feet (2 m), depending on the species and location. Sheaths are open and glands, when present, consist of tiny, slightly raised bumps with a pit in the center.

Collar region

Ligules have a fringe of straight hairs with a tuft of long hairs on either side of the collar. The protruding hairs on the sheath just below the collar (where the leaf base wraps around the stem), helps to distinguish mature lovegrasses from most other grasses. There are no auricles.


The flowering heads branch, are often gray-green, and consist of flowers clustered in spikelets. The spikelets are narrowly lance shaped or oblong and lack needlelike awns.


The spikelets are narrowly lance shaped or oblong and lack needlelike awns.


Numerous, tiny, egg shaped or lens-shaped seeds are produced.


Reproduces by seed.

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