Eragrostis refracta

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Eragrostis refracta
Erag refr.jpg
Photo and permission granted by George Rogers and John Bradford, Florida
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae ⁄ Gramineae
Genus: Eragrostis
Species: E. refracta
Binomial name
Eragrostis refracta
(Muhl.) Scribn.
ERAG REFR dist.jpg
Natural range of Eragrostis refracta from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: coastal lovegrass

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Eragrostis virginica (Zuccagni) Steudel (misapplied)[1]

Varieties: none[1]


Weakley states that some authors have taken up the older name E. virginica, as a synonym for E. refracta, but the application of synonymy is uncertain.[1]

Generally, for the Eragrostis genus, they are "annuals or perennials from short rhizomes or hardened bases. Glumes similar, shorter than lowest lemma. Florets more than 2. Lemmas 3-nerved, paleas persistent, ciliate."[2]

Specifically, for Eragrostis refracta species, they are "cespitose perennial from hardened base; culms 3-10 dm tall, nodes and internodes glabrous. Leaves primarily low cauline; blades elongate, to 2.5 dm long, 1.5-4 mm wide, pilose above, glabrous beneath, margins scaberulous; sheaths glabrous; ligules membranous, 0.1-0.2 mm long, long trichomes in throat. Panicle loose, open ½-3/4 height of the plant, ½ to as broad as long; branches flexuous, scaberulous. Spikelets with dark margins and light centers, 4-22 flowered, lateral spikelets longer than pedicels, appressed, 8-13 mm long, 1.5-1.8 mm wide. Glumes 1-nerved, scabrous keeled, acuminate, 1st glume 0,8-1.3 mm long, 2nd glume 1.5-2 mm long; lemmas scabrous keeled, acuminate, 1.5-1.8 mm long; paleas 1-1.5 mm long. Grain reddish, oblong, 0.5-0.7 mm long."[2]


It is distributed from Deleware south to Florida, and west to Texas.[1]



Is found in open longleaf pine woods, open woodlands.[3] and in pineland, savannas, bogs and seeds, and marshes.[1] Is also found along the roadside edges. Requires high light levels. Is associated with areas with dry sand or dry, loamy sand soil types.[3] E. refracta can also be found in pine-palmetto communities.[4] It has also been observed in wet and mesic pine savannas, but not in dry pine savannas.[5] As well, a study found this species to increase in frequency when disturbance, like clearcutting, was conducted in the community.[6] It is listed by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service as a facultative wetland species, where it most often occurs in wetland habitats, but can also occasionally be found in non-wetland habitats as well.[7]

Associated species include Composites, legumes, and grasses, as well as Eriocaulon lineare and Lachnocaulon minus.[3]


Generally, E. refracta flowers from July until October.[1] This species has been observed to flower and fruit from September to November.[3]

Fire ecology

E. refracta is considered to be a "fire-follower", where it can be found in areas that are burned, and years since fire disturbance does not affect frequency of this species much.[8]


This species pollinates by hydrophilly, where pollen is dispersed by waterflow in rivers and streams.[9]

Herbivory and toxicology

It is considered to have good foraging value.[4] Cattle can graze on Eragrostis refracta in the early spring and the species tends to increase in abundance under grazing.[10]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

E. refracta is listed as threatened by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Natural Heritage Program.[7]

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Weakley, A.S. 2020. Flora of the Southeastern United States. Edition of 20 October 2020. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. 66-71. Print.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, J. M. Kane, Cindi Stewart, - MacClendons, and Annie Schmidt. States and Counties: Florida: Gadsden, Jackson, Liberty, and Suwannee. Georgia: Thomas.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hilman, J. B. (1964). "Plants of the Caloosa Experimental Range " U.S. Forest Service Research Paper SE-12
  5. Walker, J. and R. K. Peet (1983). "Composition and species diversity of pine-wiregrass savannas of the Green Swamp, North Carolina." Vegetatio 55: 163-179.
  6. Brockway, D. G. and C. E. Lewis (2003). "Influence of deer, cattle grazing and timber harvest on plant species diversity in a longleaf pine bluestem ecosystem." Forest Ecology and Management 175: 49-69.
  7. 7.0 7.1 USDA, NRCS. (2016). The PLANTS Database (, 8 May 2019). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
  8. Lemon, P. C. (1949). "Successional responses of herbs in the longleaf-slash pine forest after fire." Ecology 30: 135-145.
  9. Koch, S. D. (1978). "Notes on the genus Eragrostis (Gramineae) in the southeastern United States." Rhodora 80: 390-403.
  10. Byrd, Nathan A. (1980). "Forestland Grazing: A Guide For Service Foresters In The South." U.S. Department of Agriculture.