African love grass

Common name:  African love grass
Scientific name:  Eragrostis curvula
Management programme:  Progressive containment

Why is it a pest?

While its common name may make it sound friendly, unfortunately African love grass isn’t very loving to Otago’s bare and disturbed land which it can invade very fast. Once it has invaded, it forms thick stands (groups of plants) and overpowers herbaceous plants (a plant that doesn’t have much wood). It produces lots of seeds, sheep don’t like to eat it and it’s difficult to spot. We currently we only have 20 known sites of African love grass across Otago.

What does it look like?

African love grass spreads the love well, forming clumps of grass up to 1.5m tall. It is thickly tufted with thin leaves (harsh to touch) that are usually curly at the tips. The leaves are bright green to blue-green (leaves turn bronze-red after a hard frost). Leaf sides roll inwards and are usually hairless. It has threadlike roots that can grow down to 50cm deep. The flower heads (panicles) are pyramid shaped with small, white flowers. Its blackish, olive purple seeds are attached to arching stems that are over 1m long.

What are the rules?

There are no rules for landowners in Otago regarding African love grass. Over the life of the pest plan (10 years), the goal is to progressively contain and reduce the spread of how much of African love grass there is at known sites (click here to see maps in the plan) in Otago to minimise or prevent negative effects on economic well-being and the environment. If you think you have spotted African love grass, let us know by calling 0800 474 082 or emailing

How can I control it?

Generally, ORC will carry out the necessary control work to remove African love grass. Let us know if you think you spot African love grass outside of the known sites by calling 0800 474 082 or emailing​.

Management programme