Stinkgrass, courtesy of Forest and Kim Starr, USGS

Photo courtesy of Forest & Kim Starr, US Geological Survey.  Plants of Hawaii

Common Name(s):

Strong-scented Lovegrass

Scientific Name:

Eragrostis cilianensis (All.) E. Mosher

Scientific Name Synonym(s):

Eragrostis major Host
Eragrostis megastachya (Koel.) Link
Poa cilianensis All.




Life Span: Annual
Origin: Introduced (Eurasia)
Season: Warm


Growth Characteristics: Stinkgrass is a tufted grass, growing 6-24 inches tall. It flowers from July to September and reproduces by seed. It produces numerous seeds which is a characteristic common to many annual plants.

Seedhead:  A panicle that is stiffly open, erect, egg-shaped to oblong, 1/3 to 6 inches long and 1/3 to 2 inches wide. The panicle branches are glandular and have a bad odor when fresh. They are dark gray green to tawny. Each spikelet has 7-40 florets that arecompressed and egg-shaped to arrow-shaped or oblong. Spikelets are 1/8-1/2 inch long and 1/16-1/8 inch wide, and pale to dark green. The glumes are subequal, 1/32-1/16 inch long, 1-nerved, the midnerve often having craterlike glands. The lemmas are slightly more firm than the glumes, 3-nerved, and keeled. The palea are 2/3 as long as lemmas. There are no awns.


Leaves: Leaf blades are flat to folded, up to 1/4 inch wide,and light green to gray-green. The sheaths are open and hairy at the throat creating a densefringe of straight short hairs.

Stems: Erect or decumbent.

Ecological Adaptations:

Stinkgrass  is most abundant in disturbed areas, such as vacant lots, roadsides, gardens, and crop fields. It is a poor competitor and is seldom a nuisance on lands with healthy perennial cover. It grows atelevation from 2800-7600 feet.


Soils: Stinkgrass is adapted to a variety of soils.

Associated Species: Includes annual kochia, prostrate spurge, pigweed, cheatgrass and common mallow.

Uses and Management:

Stinkgrass can be poisonous to horses, especially when eaten in large quantities. However, the smell may discourage consumption unless other forage is lacking. It has little value for wildlife or soil erosion control.