Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
General: Grass family (Poaceae). Sand lovegrass is a native, warm-season, short-lived, perennial, bunch grass found on sandy soil sites in the central and southern plains states. The erect culms are 80 to 120 cm tall, solid or hollow below. The leaf blades are flat to involute or rolled in at the margins, with a prominent midrib. The leaf blade is 20 to 46 cm long and 1.5 to 6 mm wide and taper to a slender point. The narrow leaf blade will roll inward under dry conditions to conserve moisture; this gives the leaf blade a threadlike appearance. The panicle type inflorescence is open or diffuse, oblong and usually half as long as the entire culm (Pohl 1978). The panicle is branched 3 or 4 times and the branches are curved alternately in opposite directions. The spikelets are 3.8 to 10 mm long, 1.5 to 6 mm wide and contain from 4 to 6 flowers (Barkley et al. 1986). The individual florets are frequently purplish with yellow glumes (Pohl 1978). The caryopsis is dark brown, strongly grooved on the side opposite the embryo and .8 to 1.1 mm long. Chromosome number is 2n=40. Sand lovegrass possesses the C-4 photosynthetic pathway for carbon fixation (Waller and Lewis 1979).
Distribution: For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site. Natural distribution of sand lovegrass is from the sandhills in northwestern Nebraska, east to Illinois and then south to central Texas.
Habitat: Grows principally on deep sands and sandy loam soils on sandy prairies and open sandy woods.