Ontario Weeds: Stink grass

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Flowers and Fruit
  7. Habitat
  8. Similar Species
  9. Related Links

Name: Stink grass, Eragrostis cilianensis (All.) Lutati,

Other Names: éragrostide, fétide, Love grass, Stinking love grass, éragrostide à forte odeur, E. megastachya (Koel.) Link

Family: Grass Family (Gramineae)

General Description: Annual, reproducing only by seed.

Photos and Pictures

Stink grass.

Stink grass.

Stink grass. A. Plant. B. Leaf base.

Stink grass. A. Plant. B. Leaf base.

Stem and leaf-base characteristics of a typical grass.

Stem and leaf-base characteristics of a typical grass.

Stems & Roots: Stems 10-50cm (4-20in.) long, tufted, outer stems of a bunch often lying on the ground and rooting at the nodes (a) but with upturned tips; leaves hairless, flat, 3-10mm (1/8-3/8in.) wide; leaf sheaths split, the margins overlapping, not hairy except for a tuft of short (1-3mm, 1/25-1/8in.) hair on either side at the junction of blade and sheath; ligule a band of hairs about .5mm (1/50in.) high; no auricles but the tufts of hairs on each side of the collar might be mistaken for auricles; tiny glands present on leaf margins, sheaths, and in a ring encircling the stem just below each node.

Flowers & Fruit: Inflorescence, dark gray-green to light brownish, branching but either dense and compact or open and spreading, both kinds often on the same plant; spikelets small, oblong, 5-15mm (1/5-3/5in.) long, 3mm (1/8in.) wide but having 10 to 40 florets; each floret about 2.5mm (1/10in.) containing a single, tiny, yellowish to reddish-orange, egg-shaped kernel ("seed") about 0.7mm (1/30in.) long. Fresh plants have a distinct odour which many people find disagreeable. Flowers from August to September.

Habitat: Stink grass occurs in coarse sandy or gravelly soils in edges of fields, waste areas, right-of-way throughout southern Ontario, being most common in central and southwestern areas. Introduced from Europe.

Similar Species: It is distinguished by its tufted habit, its gray-green to light brownish inflorescences that may be both compact and loose on the same plant, and its small, compact, many-floreted spikelets that readily shed their tiny yellowish to orange kernels at maturity.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 01 June 2000
Last Reviewed: 01 November 2003