Sporobolus is a nearly cosmopolitan genus of plants in the grass family.[5][3][6][7][8] The name Sporobolus means "seed-thrower", and is derived from Ancient Greek word σπόρος (spóros), meaning "seed", and the root of βάλλειν (bállein) "to throw", referring to the dispersion of seeds.[9] Members of the genus are usually called dropseeds[10] or sacaton grasses. They are typical prairie and savanna plants, occurring in other types of open habitat in warmer climates. At least one species (S. caespitosus from Saint Helena) is threatened with extinction, and another (S. durus from Ascension Island) is extinct.

Sporobolus virginicus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Chloridoideae
Tribe: Zoysieae
Subtribe: Sporobolinae
Genus: Sporobolus
Type species
Sporobolus indicus
  • Agrosticula Raddi
  • Bauchea E. Fourn.
  • Bennetia Raf.
  • Cryptostachys Steud.
  • Diachyrium Griseb.
  • Heleochloa Host ex Roem.
  • Spermachiton Llanos
  • Spermatochiton Pilg., alternate spelling
  • Thellungia Stapf
  • Triachyrum Hochst.

Uses edit

While some dropseeds, such as prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), make nice gardening plants,[11] they are generally considered[who?] to make inferior pastures,[citation needed] but seeds of at least some species are edible and nutritious; they were used as food, for example, by the Chiricahua Apaches. Other species are reported to be used as famine foods, such as Sporobolus indicus in parts of the Oromia Region of Ethiopia, where it is known as muriy in Oromiffa.[12]

Known as popote de cambray, Sporobolus grasses are used in popotillo art or straw mosaics, a Mexican folk art with pre-Columbian origins.[13]

The 1889 book The Useful Native Plants of Australia records that Sporobolus actinocladus is a "Perennial; seeds in October and November. A much esteemed pasture grass of the back country, common on rich loamy soil; stock of all kinds are very fond of it."[14]

Ecology edit

Caterpillars of the small moth Bucculatrix sporobolella have only been found on alkali sacaton (Sporobolus airoides). The Laysan dropseed noctuid moth (Hypena laysanensis) on Laysan Island apparently became extinct with the local eradication of S. virginicus by feral rabbits. Seed-eating birds including American sparrows (genus Aimophila) feed on sacaton seeds. S. wrightii is a critical resource for Botteri's sparrow (Aimophila botterii) which at one time was extirpated from Arizona.

Selected species edit

About 160 species are placed in the genus, including:[15][4]

This list does not include numerous species moved from other genera to Sporobolus after a 2014 taxonomic revision, including species in Crypsis, Eragrostis, Thellungia, Calamovilfa, and Spartina.[16]

Numerous species have been moved from Sporobolus to other genera: Agrostis, Arctagrostis, Eragrostis, Mosdenia, Muhlenbergia, Poa, Sacciolepis, Thysanolaena, and Urochondra.[4]

Giant parramatta grass (Sporobolus fertilis)
Madagascar dropseed (Sporobolus pyramidatus)

References edit

  1. ^ "Genus Sporobolus R. Br". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
  2. ^ lectotype designated by L.K.G. Pfeiffer, Nom. Bot. 2:1274 (1874)
  3. ^ a b "Sporobolus R. Br.". Tropicos. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  4. ^ a b c "Sporobolus". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  5. ^ Brown, Robert (1810). Prodromus florae Novae Hollandiae et Insulae Van-Diemen, exhibens characteres plantarum [Forerunner of the Flora of New Holland and the Island of Van Diemen, showing the characteristics of its plants] (in Latin). Vol. 1. London: Richard Taylor. pp. 169-170. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.3678.
  6. ^ Wu, Zhen-lan; Phillips, Sylvia M. "Sporobolus". Flora of China. Vol. 22 – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  7. ^ "Genere Sporobolus". Altervista Flora Italiana. Includes photos and distribution maps for several species.
  8. ^ "Sporobolus". County-level distribution maps from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  9. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology. Vol. IV R-Z. Taylor & Francis US. p. 2542. ISBN 978-0-8493-2678-3.
  10. ^ "Sporobolus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
  11. ^ "Sporobolus heterolepis". Plant Finder. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  12. ^ Lemessa, Dechassa (November 1999). "Prosperity Fades: Jimma and Illubabor Zones of Oromiya Region" (Field Report). UN Emergency Unit for Ethiopia. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
  13. ^ "Papel Picado, Papel Amate, and Popotillo". Festival of Mexico. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
  14. ^ J. H. Maiden (1889). The useful native plants of Australia (including Tasmania). Sydney: Turner and Henderson. p. 108. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.12190.
  15. ^ Wu, Zhen-lan; Sylvia M., Phillips. "Sporobolus". Flora of China. Vol. 22 – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  16. ^ Peterson, Paul M.; Romaschenko, Konstantin; Herrera Arrieta, Y.; Saarela, J. M. (2014). "A molecular phylogeny and new subgeneric classification of Sporobolus (Poaceae: Chloridoideae: Sporobolinae)". Taxon. 63 (6): 1212–1243. doi:10.12705/636.19.