Aeluropus (Aeluropus lagopoides)

GenusAeluropus (1)
SizeStem length: 5 - 30 cm (2) (3)
Leaf length: 0.5 - 4 cm (3) (4)
Leaf width: 0.2 - 0.4 cm (3) (4)
Inflorescence length: 2 cm (4)

Aeluropus lagopoides has yet to be classified by the IUCN.

Aeluropus lagopoides is a creeping perennial grass with grey-green, lance-shaped leaves, which grow along the stem in two opposite rows (2) (3) (4). The rigid leaves are folded lengthways (2) (4), with hairs covering the surface (4). Aeluropus lagopoides has widely-spreading rhizomes which enable the plant to form thick mats (3) (4), and it produces dense, spherical inflorescences consisting of small clusters of ‘spikelets’ at the head of the stem (2) (3) (4). 

Aeluropus lagopoides has a large range, which spans southeast Europe, North Africa from Morocco to Somalia, the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula, and central Asia, including India and Pakistan (3) (5). 

Aeluropus lagopoides inhabits damp, saline soil (2) (4) on the fringes of salt-marshes and sulphurous springs, as well as on waste land and areas previously used for cultivation (5). In these areas it is usually the dominant plant species (2) (6). 

Aeluropus lagopoides has many adaptations that enable itto exist in high-salinity habitats that are uninhabitable to many other plant species. The plant itself has a very low salt content (7), and it is able to expel the salt it gains from the highly saline soil through glands on the leaves (4) (6) (7). The small waxy leaves and strong root network also help this species to survive in stressful salty environments (6), especially throughout the summer months when there is a three-fold increase in soil salinity (7) (8).

A perennial species, Aeluropus lagopoides produces flowers throughout the year (4). It propagates vegetatively by underground roots called ‘rhizomes’ after monsoon rains, which produce roots and shoots identical to the parent plant (6) (7). Sexual reproduction also occurs in Aeluropus lagopoides, with numerous seeds and flowers produced between April and October (7) (8). 

Threats to Aeluropus lagopoides include being grazed by livestock during times of low food availability (2) (4). However, little else is known about other potential threats to this species. It is considered to be locally common in the United Arab Emirates (4).

There are not known to be any specific conservation measures currently in place for Aeluropus lagopoides

Find out more about grass species:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1.  UNEP-WCMC (January, 2012)
  2. Mahmoud, T. (2010) Desert Plants of Egypt’s Wadi El Gemal National Park. The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo, Egypt.
  3. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: GrassBase - Aeluropus lagopoides (January, 2012)
  4. Jongbloed, M. (2003) The Comprehensive Guide to the Wildflowers of the United Arab Emirates. Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency, Abu Dhabi.
  5. Flora of Pakistan - Aeluropus lagopoides (January, 2012)
  6. Ahmed, M.Z., Gilani, S.A., Kikuchi, A., Gulzar, S., Khan, M.A. and Watanabe, K.N. (2011) Population diversity of Aeluropus lagopoides: a potential cash crop for saline land. PakistanJournal of Botany, 43: 595-605.
  7. Gulzar, S. and Khan, M.A. (2001) Seed germination of a halophytic grass Aeluropus lagopoides. Annals of Biology, 87: 319-324.
  8. Mohsenzadeh, S., Malboobi, M.A., Razavi, K. and Farrahi-Aschtiani, S. (2006) Physiological and molecular responses of Aeluropus lagopoides (Poaceae) to water deficit. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 56: 314-322.