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Useful Tropical Plants

Sporobolus contractus

Hitchc.

Poaceae

+ Synonyms

Sporobolus cryptandrus strictus Scribn.

Sporobolus strictus (Scribn.) Scribn.

Common Name: Spike Dropseed

Sporobolus contractus
Flowering stem. Plant growing at Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley, California
Photograph by: John Rusk
Creative Commons License
Sporobolus contractus Sporobolus contractus

General Information

Sporobolus contractus is a perennial, clump-forming grass with erect culms 2 - 3mm in diameter and 40 - 110cm tall.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials. It is use in soil stabilization projects within its native range.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.

Range

South-western N. America - California to Colorado, south to northern Mexico and Texas

Habitat

Mesas, dry bluffs and sandy soils[
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
,
235
Title
An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada
Publication
 
Author
Britton. N. L. Brown. A.
Publisher
Dover Publications. New York.
Year
1970
ISBN
0-486-22642-5
Description
Reprint of a 1913 Flora, but still a very useful book.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitPerennial
Height0.80 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

A plant mainly of the temperate and subtropical zones, just entering the tropics in Mexico.
Succeeds in any well drained soil in a sunny position[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The plant is adapted to a wide range of soil types, but performs best on loamy fine, silty and sandy loam soils[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].

Edible Uses

Seed - raw or cooked. It can be ground into a flour and used to make gruel, bread, biscuits etc[
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
,
161
Title
Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
Publication
 
Author
Yanovsky. E.
Publisher
U.S. Depf of Agriculture.
Year
 
ISBN
-
Description
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
,
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
]. The seed is small and very fiddly to utilize[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

None known

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant can be used as a component of a seeding mixture for critical area plantings and conservation cover. It is a bunchgrass with very thick vegetation near the soil surface which can be used to stabilize sandy eroding soils[
277
Title
Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plants.usda.gov/java/factSheet
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database with an excellent collection of fact sheets about native N. American plants.
].

Other Uses

Bunches of the grass leaves have been fastened together to make mats for covering doorways etc in the home[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.
Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-09-23. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Sporobolus+contractus>

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