Eragrostis curvula

2. Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees (S-Afr.) – A rare, locally naturalised alien. Formerly occasionally seen as an ephemeral wool alien in the Vesdre valley, at least between 1911 and 1948. More recent occurrences are possibly in part associated with deliberate introductions for soil stabilisation (erosion control). As such, Eragrostis curvula often persists very well by roadsides and canal banks, especially around Antwerpen and Gent. In Antwerpen it is known since 1992 from the port-area, initially at the Churchilldok but soon spreading to adjacent areas and by now locally naturalised in several places (most prominent on the S-side of the Delwaidedok). Since 2012 also known from two localities along Scheldelaan (N101), between river Schelde and the docks. The vector of introduction of these populations is obscure but sowing seems rather unlikely (possibly directly introduced from Africa with goods). In Gent first seen in 1995 on the banks of the Ringvaart (new bicycle track) and confirmed in 2012. More recently (from 2001 onwards) established on the east-bank of the Brugse Vaart, north of the city (but apparently decreasing lately). In 2010 recorded for the first time in a natural habitat: a small but well-established population (ca. 20 dense clumps) was discovered alongside a path in coastal dunes (on the verge of the nature reserve Plaatsduinen) in Oostduinkerke. Finally, in 2012 recorded at the drive-out Lokeren of motorway E17.

Eragrostis curvula is widely planted for erosion control, especially in more arid regions of the world. However, in the past decades it is also increasingly sown in Europe and readily escapes (Italy, Spain, etc.). Further north it is much rarer, see for instance Adolphi (1995), Jung (2004) or Feder (2005) for Germany. In many regions where it was formerly introduced it is now considered to be a noxious environmental weed.

The taxonomy of Eragrostis curvula and related species (including E. chloromelas and E. lehmanniana) is rather complex and unresolved. Plants currently found in Belgium correspond well with genuine Eragrostis curvula but populations with more or less intermediate features have been recorded in Europe, for instance in the surroundings of Lleida in northeastern Spain (pers. obs. F. Verloove, 2007).

Herbarium specimen

Eragrostis curvula, Oostduinkerke, path in coastal dunes, April 2011, F. Verloove

Eragrostis curvula, Oostduinkerke, path in coastal dunes, April 2011, F. Verloove
Eragrostis curvula, Oostduinkerke, path in coastal dunes, April 2011, F. Verloove  

Eragrostis curvula, spikelet - Drawing S.Bellanger

Eragrostis curvula, root - Drawing S.Bellanger


Selected literature:

Adolphi K. (1995) Neophytische Kultur- und Anbaupflanzen als Kulturflüchtlinge des Rheinlandes. Nardus 2: 1-272.

Buch C., Jagel A., Neikes N., Bannwarth H. & Sumser H. (2012) Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees, das Gebogene Liebesgras, in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Veröff. Bochumer Bot. Ver. 4(7): 55-63. [available online at:

Clement E.J. (1993) Eragrostis curvula established in S. Hants (v.c. 11). BSBI News 63: 28-30 (+ frontpage).

Feder J. (2005) Zur Verbreitung vom Schwachgekrümmten Liebesgras Eragrostis curvula im Kreis Peine und im übrigen Nordwestdeutschland. Beiträge zur Naturkunde Niedersachsens 58: 34-37.

Jung K.-D. (2004) Neuere bemerkenswerte Funde aus der Flora des Darmstädter Raumes – 14. Folge. Hess. Flor. Briefe 53 : 66-69.

Verloove F. (2002) Ingeburgerde plantensoorten in Vlaanderen. Mededeling van het Instituut voor Natuurbehoud n° 20: 227 p.

Verloove F. (2006) Eragrostis curvula. In: Van Landuyt W., Hoste I., Vanhecke L., Van den Bremt P., Vercruysse W. & De Beer D., Atlas van de flora van Vlaanderen en het Brussels gewest. Instituut voor Natuur- en Bosonderzoek, Nationale Plantentuin van België en Flo.Wer: 377.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith