Eragrostis superba Peyr.

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Eragrostis superba

Picture: Bart Wursten
Rimiti West, by Mutare to Birchenough Br. rd

Eragrostis superba

Picture: Bart Wursten
Rimiti West, by Mutare to Birchenough Br. rd

Eragrostis superba

Picture: Petra Ballings
By main Harare to Bulawayo Rd, south of Kwekwe

Eragrostis superba

Picture: Petra Ballings
By main Harare to Bulawayo Rd, south of Kwekwe

Eragrostis superba

Picture: Petra Ballings
Along road to Tuli

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Synonyms: Eragrostis alata Ficalho & Hiern
Eragrostis superba var. contracta Peter
Common names:
Status: Native
Caespitose perennial without rhizomes or stolons; culms up to 120(200) cm tall, erect, often branched above, glabrous at the nodes, eglandular; basal leaf sheaths glabrous, chartaceous to subcoriaceous, terete, eglandular, persistent; ligule a line of hairs; leaf laminas up to 40 cm × 3–12 mm, linear, flat, glabrous, firm and somewhat glaucous, eglandular.Panicle 10–30 cm long, lanceolate to broadly ovate, the spikelets evenly distributed or somewhat fascicled on stout pedicels 1–5 mm long, the primary branches stout, secondarily branched or sometimes raceme-like, not in whorls, terminating in a fertile spikelet, glabrous in the axils, eglandular.Spikelets 6–16(23) × 3–10 mm, narrowly ovate to suborbicular, strongly laterally compressed, 6–28(47)-flowered, disarticulating below the glumes and falling entire; glumes subequal, 2–4 mm long, reaching to just beyond the middle of the adjacent lemmas, keeled, lanceolate in profile, glabrous, subacute at the apex; lemmas 3–4.5 mm long, keeled, narrowly ovate in profile, subcoriaceous with conspicuous lateral nerves, diverging from the rhachilla at c. 45° but those in opposite rows imbricate and concealing the rhachilla, green tinged with brownish-purple, scaberulous on the keel, narrowly obtuse at the apex; palea glabrous on the flanks, the keels thickened and cartilaginous, winged throughout, gibbously so below, the wing protruding from the sides of the lemma, the wing margin entire and minutely ciliolate; anthers 3, 1.5–2.5 mm long.Caryopsis 1–1.5 mm long, elliptic.
Type location:
Notes: Perennial tufted grass, up to 1.2 m. Inflorescence a panicle. Spikelets straw-coloured to pinkish, large, oval and conspicuously flattened with typically serrated edges.
Derivation of specific name: superba: superb, proud
Habitat: In deciduous woodland, mostly in sandy soils, sometimes on termite mounds. Also along roadsides in disturbed soil.
Altitude range: Up to 1400 m
Flowering time:Aug - May
Worldwide distribution: Sudan southwards to South Africa
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): B,W,C,S
Zambian distribution (Provinces): Lk,W
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 24.

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 15.

Cope, T.A. (1999). Poaceae Flora Zambesiaca 10(2) Pages 84 - 86. (Includes a picture).

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 495. (Includes a picture).

Isaiah, A.M. & Komi, T. (2015). Grasses in the Botswana National Botanic Garden South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria Page 23. (Includes a picture).

Jackson, G. & Wiehe, P.O. (1958). An Annotated Check List of Nyasaland Grasses The Government Printer, Zomba, Nyasaland Page 40.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 104.

Pickering, H. & Roe, E. (2009). Wild Flowers of the Victoria Falls Area Helen Pickering, London Page 95. (Includes a picture).

Poilecot, P. (2007). Eragrostis species of Zimbabwe Éditions Quae,Versailles, France Pages 92 - 93. (Includes a picture).

Roodt, V. (2015). Grasses & Grazers of Botswana and the surrounding savanna Struik Nature, South Africa Pages 128 - 129. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 137.

Siebert, S. & Mössmer, M. (Editors) (2002). SABONET Southern Mozambique Expedition 2001; Provisional Plant Checklist of the Maputo Elephant Reserve (MER) and Licuati Forest Reserve (LFR) SABONET News 7(1) Page 28.

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 189.

Other sources of information about Eragrostis superba:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Eragrostis superba
Flora of Caprivi: Eragrostis superba
Flora of Malawi: Eragrostis superba
Flora of Mozambique: Eragrostis superba
Flora of Zimbabwe: Eragrostis superba

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Eragrostis superba
African Plant Database: Eragrostis superba
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Eragrostis superba
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Eragrostis superba
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Eragrostis superba
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Eragrostis superba
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Eragrostis superba
JSTOR Plant Science: Eragrostis superba
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Eragrostis superba
Plants of the World Online: Eragrostis superba
Tropicos: Eragrostis superba
Wikipedia: Eragrostis superba

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-24

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2024). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Eragrostis superba., retrieved 28 February 2024

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