Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Eragrostis spectabilis

Purple lovegrass, Purple love grass, Purple plains lovegrass, Tumblegrass, Petticoat climber

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Eragrostis spectabilis (Purple lovegrass)
Waitt, Damon E.
Purple plains lovegrass grows low to the ground in dense tufts, 8-18 in. tall. In late summer the fine-textured, stiff inflorescence appears like reddish-purple clouds hovering at ground level. Eventually this inflorescence breaks off and floats around like a tumbleweed. This is a perennial.

Purple plains lovegrass is a member of the family Poaceae. Grasses are herbs with cylindrical, jointed flowering stems (culms), hollow between the joints, leaves often mostly basal and tiny flowers aggregated into highly modified clusters.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: 8-18 inches tall.
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Purple
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AL , AZ , AR , CO , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , NC , ND , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VT , VA , WV , WI , DC
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: ME to MN, s. to FL & AZ; also Mex.
Native Habitat: Sandy or disturbed sites; plains; open woods

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy soils. Well drained open fields. Grows best on moist, sandy soil in full sun.
Conditions Comments: When in bloom, the short stalks create a nice hazy purple-red coloration especially when grown in a mass. Like most grasses. This plant grows rhizomously and can spread and it will reseed if seeds allowed to ripen.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: High

Last Update: 2011-04-11