Eragrostis atropioides

leaf Main Plant Information





Common Names

  • Hard-stem lovegrass
  • Hard-stemmed lovegrass
  • Hardstem lovegrass
  • Lovegrass

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Non-Woody, Spreading

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Grass-like, Medium, 1 to 2.5
  • Grass-like, Tall, Greater than or equal to 2.5

Mature Size, Width

This native grass can grow to five or six feet tall and just as wide. Spreads by rhizomes.

Life Span

No data available.

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Container
  • Erosion Control
  • Ground Cover

Additional Landscape Use Information

Unlike some of the other native lovegrasses (E. grandis, E. variabilis) which are more of a bunching type, the hard-stem lovegrass (E. atropioides) cover areas by spreading rhizomes to form thick dense plantings--a feature to keep in mind for landscaping.

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • White

Blooming Period

  • Sporadic
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • January
  • February
  • December

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

The blooming period and fruiting above are for cultivated plants. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Medium

Leaf Colors

  • Light Green
  • Medium Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Locusts and caterpillars can do minor to severe damage to this native grass.

leaf Growth Requirements


Native grasses do not appear to like too much fertilizer. However, excellent results come from fertilizing them lightly with fish or kelp emulsion monthly or every other month. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Pruning Information

Dead grass, usually near the base, and spent flower stalks can be removed for a cleaner landscape look.

Water Requirements

  • Dry
  • Moist

Additional Water Information

Naturally found in dry exposed areas. Does tolerant moist conditions with good drainage, but best kep on drier side. Water infrequently and deep.

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

Full sun is optimal. But it does tolerate partial sun, though it seems to flower less.

Spacing Information

Hard-stem lovegrass spreads by rhizomes. Spacing will depend on how dense the area will be planted. As a groundcover perhaps 1 to 3 feet apart; for accent perhaps six feet or more. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]


  • Drought
  • Wind
  • Heat


  • Sand
  • Cinder

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Lānaʻi
  • Maui
  • Hawaiʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 1000 to 1999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 2000 to 2999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 3000 to 3999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 4000 to 4999, 0 to 50 (Dry)


  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

Hard-stem lovegrass is found from about 395 to 6300 feet, but most abundant above 4000 feet in dry, exposed sites. [1]

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

The lovegrasses (Eragrostis spp.) comprise some 300 species in the Grass family (Poaceae). There are nine native species, of which eight are endemic. Of these, the Pacific lovegrass (Eragrostis deflexa) is rare, Fosberg's lovegrass (E. fosbergii) is endangered, and Maui lovegrass (E. mauiensis) is considered extinct.

There are also thirteen introduced and naturalized species.


The Latin genus name Eragrostis comes from the Greek eros, meaning love or loving (in an erotic sense), and Agrostis, a genus of fodder grasses.

Additional References

[1] "Grasses of Hawaii" by Peter P. Rotar, pages 157, 321.



leafMore Links

Back to Plant List

Plant List

This record is as complete as we can generate for this plant profile at this point. Please email if you wish to contribute to the data. Please include sources and references for all data submitted