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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Cladus: Commelinids
Ordo: Poales

Familia: Poaceae
Subfamilia: Chloridoideae
Tribus: Zoysieae
Subtribus: Sporobolinae
Genus: Sporobolus
Species: S. acinifolius – S. actinocladus – S. aculeatus – S. acuminatus – S. adustus – S. advenus – S. aeneus – S. africanus – – S. airiformis – S. airoides – S. albicans – S. aldabrensis – S. alopecuroides – S. alterniflorus – S. amaliae – S. anglicus – S. angustifolius – S. apiculatus – S. arcuatus – S. arenicola – S. atrovirens – S. australasicus – S. bahamensis – S. bakeri – S. balansae – S. bechuanicus – S. blakei – S. bogotensis – S. borszczowii – S. bosseri – S. brevipilis – S. brockmanii – S. buckleyi – S. caespitosus – S. camporum – S. capillaris – S. caroli – S. centrifugus – S. clandestinus – S. coahuilensis – S. coarctatus – S. collettii – S. compactus – S. compositus – S. confinis – S. congoensis – S. consimilis – S. contiguus – S. contractus – S. copei – S. cordofanus – S. coromandelianus – S. creber – S. crucensis – S. cryptandrus – S. cubensis – S. curtissii – S. cynosuroides – S. diandrus – S. dinklagei – S. discosporus – S. disjunctus – S. distichivaginatus – S. domingensis – S. durus – S. elatior – S. elongatus – S. engleri – S. erectus – S. eximius – S. factorovskyi – S. farinosus – S. fertilis – S. festivus – S. fibrosus – S. fimbriatus – S. flexuosus – S. floridanus – S. foliosus – S. fourcadei – S. geminatus – S. giganteus – S. gloeoclados – S. hadjikyriakou – S. hajrae – S. halophilus – S. hancei – S. harmandii – S. helvolus – S. heterolepis – S. hians – S. hintonii – S. hookerianus – S. humilis – S. indicus – S. infirmus – S. interruptus – S. ioclados – S. ivakoanyensis – S. junceus – S. kerrii – S. lanuginellus – S. lasiophyllus – S. latzii – S. laxus – S. lenticularis – S. linearifolius – S. linearis – S. longispicus – S. ludwigii – S. macer – S. macranthelus – S. macrospermus – S. maderaspatanus – S. maritimus – S. maximus – S. megalospermus – S. mendocinus – S. metallicola – S. michauxianus – S. micranthus – S. microprotus – S. mildbraedii – S. minarum – S. minimus – S. minor – S. minuartioides – S. minutus – S. mirabilis – S. mitchellii – S. mobberleyanus – S. molleri – S. monandrus – S. montanus – S. montevidensis – S. mopane – S. multinodis – S. multiramosus – S. myrianthus – S. natalensis – S. nealleyi – S. nebulosus – S. neglectus – S. nervosus – S. nesiotioides – S. niliacus – S. nitens – S. novoguineensis – S. nudiramus – S. olivaceus – S. oxyphyllus – S. palmeri – S. pamelae – S. panicoides – S. paniculatus – S. partimpatens – S. pauciflorus – S. paucifolius – S. pectinatus – S. pectinellus – S. pellucidus – S. perrieri – S. phleoides – S. pilifer – S. pinetorum – S. platensis – S. potosiensis – S. pseudairoides – S. pulchellus – S. pumilus – S. pungens – S. purpurascens – S. pyramidalis – S. pyramidatus – S. quadratus – S. recurvatus – S. reflexus – S. rhizomatosus – S. rigens – S. rigidifolius – S. rigidus – S. robustus – S. ruspolianus – S. salsus – S. sanguineus – S. scabridus – S. schoenoides – S. sciadocladus – S. scitulus – S. sessilis – S. silveanus – S. somalensis – S. spartinae – S. spicatus – S. spiciformis – S. splendens – S. stapfianus – S. stolzii – S. subglobosus – S. subtilis – S. subulatus – S. temomairemensis – S. tenellus – S. tenuissimus – S. teretifolius – S. testudinum – S. tetragonus – S. texanus – S. tourneuxii – S. trichodes – S. tsiafajavonensis – S. turkestanicus – S. uniglumis – S. vaginiflorus – S. vaseyi – S. versicolor – S. virginicus – S. viscidus – S. wallichii – S. welwitschii – S. wrightiiS. agrostoides

Nothospecies: S. × eatonianus – S. × townsendii


Sporobolus R.Br., Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holl.: 169. (1810) nom. cons.

Type species: Sporobolus indicus (L.) R.Br., Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holl.: 170. (1810)


Pallasia Scop., Intr. Hist. Nat.: 72 (1777), nom. illeg.
Crypsis Aiton, Hort. Kew. 1: 48 (1789)
Spartina Schreb., Gen. Pl., ed. 8[a], 1: 43 (1789)
Antitragus Gaertn., Fruct. Sem. Pl. 2: 7 (1791)
Trachynotia Michx., Fl. Bor.-Amer. 1: 63 (1803)
Limnetis Rich. in C.H.Persoon, Syn. Pl. 1: 72 (1805), nom. superfl.
Ponceletia Thouars, Esquisse Fl. Tristan d'Acugna: 36 (1808), nom. illeg.
Heleochloa Host ex Roem., Collecteana: 233 (1809)
Psammophila Schult., Mant. 1: 69, 231 (1822) vide Psammophiliella Ikonn. in Novosti Sist. Vyssh. Rast. 11: 116. (1976) (Caryophyllaceae)
Agrosticula Raddi, Agrostogr. Bras.: 33 (1823)
Bennetia Raf., Bull. Bot. (Geneva) 1: 220 (1830), nom. illeg.
Raddia Mazziari, Ionios Antologia 2: 448 (1834), nom. illeg. hom. non Raddia Bertol., Opusc. Sci. 3: 410 (1819) (Poaceae)
Triachyrum Hochst. ex A.Braun, Flora 24: 712 (1841)
Spermachiton Llanos, Fragm. Pl. Filip.: 25 (1851)
Solenachne Steud., Syn. Pl. Glumac. 1: 12 (1853)
Chauvinia Steud., Syn. Pl. Glumac. 1: 362 (1854)
Cryptostachys Steud., Syn. Pl. Glumac. 1: 181 (1854)
Ceytosis Munro, J. Proc. Linn. Soc., Bot. 6: 54 (1861), orth. var.
Diachyrium Griseb., Abh. Königl. Ges. Wiss. Göttingen 19: 257 (1874)
Bauchea E.Fourn., Mexic. Pl. 2: 87 (1886)
Calamovilfa (A.Gray) Hack. ex Scribn. & Southw., True Grasses: 113 (1890)
Torgesia Bornm., Mitth. Thüring. Bot. Vereins, n.f., 30: 83 (1913)
Thellungia Stapf, Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1920: 97 (1920)


Brown, R. 1810. Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae 169.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Sporobolus in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Nov. 20. Reference page.
Simon, B.K., Clayton, W.D., Harman, K.T., Vorontsova, M., Brake, I., Healy, D. & Alfonso, Y. 2013. GrassWorld, Sporobolus. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2013 Nov. 20.
Peterson, P.M., Romaschenko, K., 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 Paywall. JSTOR Paywall. ResearchGate Open access. Reference page.
Peterson, P.M., Romaschenko, K., Herrera Arrieta, Y. & Saarela, J.M. 2014. (2332) Proposal to conserve Sporobolus against Spartina, Crypsis, Ponceletia, and Heleochloa (Poaceae: Chloridoideae: Sporobolinae). Taxon 63: 1373–1374. DOI: 10.12705/636.23 Open access Reference page. 2013. Sporobolus. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2013 Nov. 20.
International Plant Names Index. 2013. Sporobolus. Published online. Accessed: 20 Nov. 2013.

Vernacular names
Afrikaans: Vleigrasse, Rotsterte
English: Dropseed and Cordgrasses
suomi: Karisteheinät
lietuvių: Drėbūnas

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.


While some dropseeds, such as prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), make nice gardening plants,[11] they are generally considered[who?] to make inferior pastures, 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]

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
Main article: List of Sporobolus species

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

Sporobolus airoides (Torr.) Torr. – alkali sacaton
Sporobolus caespitosus Kunth
Sporobolus caroli Mez – fairy grass, yakka grass
Sporobolus compositus (Poir.) Merr. – composite dropseed, tall dropseed
Sporobolus contractus Hitchc. – spike dropseed
Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) A.Gray – sand dropseed
†Sporobolus durus Brongn. (extinct)
Sporobolus fertilis (Steud.) Clayton
Sporobolus flexuosus (Thurb. ex Vasey) Rydb. – mesa dropseed
Sporobolus heterolepis (A.Gray) A.Gray – prairie dropseed
Sporobolus indicus (L.) R.Br. – smut grass
Sporobolus jacquemontii Kunth
Sporobolus junceus (P. Beauv.) Kunth – pineywoods dropseed
Sporobolus pyramidalis P.Beauv. – giant rat's-tail grass
Sporobolus spicatus Kunth – salt grass
Sporobolus texanus Vasey – Texas dropseed
Sporobolus vaginiflorus (Torr. ex A.Gray) Alph.Wood – poverty dropseed, poverty grass, sheathed dropseed
Sporobolus virginicus (L.) Kunth. – seashore dropseed, beach dropseed
Sporobolus wrightii Munro ex Scribn. – big sacaton, giant sacaton

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, Blepharoneuron, Eragrostis, Mosdenia, Muhlenbergia, Poa, Sacciolepis, Thysanolaena, and Urochondra.[4]
Giant parramatta grass (Sporobolus fertilis)
Madagascar dropseed (Sporobolus pyramidatus)

"Sporobolus". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2011-02-28.
lectotype designated by L.K.G. Pfeiffer, Nom. Bot. 2:1274 (1874)
"Sporobolus R. Br.". Tropicos. Missouri Botanical Garden.
"Sporobolus". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
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). 1. London: Richard Taylor. pp. 169-170. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.3678.
Wu, Zhen-lan; Phillips, Sylvia M. "Sporobolus". Flora of China. 22 – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
"Genere Sporobolus". Altervista Flora Italiana: includes photos and distribution maps for several species
"Sporobolus". County-level distribution maps from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology. IV R-Z. Taylor & Francis US. p. 2542. ISBN 978-0-8493-2678-3.
"Sporobolus". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
"Sporobolus heterolepis". Plant Finder. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
Lemessa, Dechassa (November 1999). "Prosperity Fades: Jimma and Illubabor Zones of Oromiya Region" (Field Report). UN Emergency Unit for Ethiopia. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
"Papel Picado, Papel Amate, and Popotillo". Festival of Mexico. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
J. H. Maiden (1889). The useful native plants of Australia (including Tasmania). Sydney: Turner and Henderson. p. 108. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.12190.
Wu, Zhen-lan; Sylvia M., Phillips. "Sporobolus". Flora of China. 22 – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
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.

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