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Datasheet

Chloris virgata (feather finger grass)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 05 October 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Chloris virgata
  • Preferred Common Name
  • feather finger grass
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Chloris virgata is a widespread and very variable weedy annual grass (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015). T...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Chloris virgata (feather finger grass); seeding habit. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
TitleHabit
CaptionChloris virgata (feather finger grass); seeding habit. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2008 - CC BY 4.0
Chloris virgata (feather finger grass); seeding habit. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
HabitChloris virgata (feather finger grass); seeding habit. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.©Forest & Kim Starr-2008 - CC BY 4.0
Chloris virgata (feather finger grass); seeding habit. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
TitleHabit
CaptionChloris virgata (feather finger grass); seeding habit. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2008 - CC BY 4.0
Chloris virgata (feather finger grass); seeding habit. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
HabitChloris virgata (feather finger grass); seeding habit. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.©Forest & Kim Starr-2008 - CC BY 4.0
Chloris virgata (feather finger grass); seedheads. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
TitleSeedheads
CaptionChloris virgata (feather finger grass); seedheads. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2008 - CC BY 4.0
Chloris virgata (feather finger grass); seedheads. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
SeedheadsChloris virgata (feather finger grass); seedheads. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.©Forest & Kim Starr-2008 - CC BY 4.0
Chloris virgata (feather finger grass); close-up of inflorescense. Puu Pehe, Lanai, Hawaii, USA. April 2006.
TitleInflorescense
CaptionChloris virgata (feather finger grass); close-up of inflorescense. Puu Pehe, Lanai, Hawaii, USA. April 2006.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2006 - CC BY 4.0
Chloris virgata (feather finger grass); close-up of inflorescense. Puu Pehe, Lanai, Hawaii, USA. April 2006.
InflorescenseChloris virgata (feather finger grass); close-up of inflorescense. Puu Pehe, Lanai, Hawaii, USA. April 2006.©Forest & Kim Starr-2006 - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Chloris virgata Sw.

Preferred Common Name

  • feather finger grass

Other Scientific Names

  • Agrostomia barbata Cerv.
  • Chloris alba J.Presl
  • Chloris alba var. aristulata Torr.
  • Chloris albertii Regel
  • Chloris barbata var. decora (Steud.) Benth.
  • Chloris barbata var. meccana (Hochst. ex Steud.) Asch. and Schweinf.
  • Chloris caudata Trin.
  • Chloris compressa DC.
  • Chloris decora Nees ex Steud.
  • Chloris elegans Kunth
  • Chloris gabrielae Domin
  • Chloris madagascariensis Steud.
  • Chloris meccana Hochst. ex Steud.
  • Chloris multiradiata Hochst.
  • Chloris notocoma Hochst.
  • Chloris penicillata Jan ex Trin.
  • Chloris polydactyla subsp. multiradiata (Hochst.) Chiov.
  • Chloris pubescens Lag.
  • Chloris rogeonii A.Chev.
  • Chloris tibestica Quézel

International Common Names

  • English: feather windmill grass; feathertop grass; feathery grass; old land grass; sweet grass
  • Spanish: barba de chivo; barbas de indio; cebadilla; pasto blanco ; verdillo plumerito; zacate mota; zacate pluma
  • Chinese: hu wei cao

Local Common Names

  • Australia: feathertop Rhodes grass
  • Cuba: barba de indio
  • Kenya: blackseed grass
  • Mexico: escobilla; paragüitas; pastito de la motita; zacate cola de zorra
  • South Africa: feather-top chloris
  • USA: feather fingergrass

Summary of Invasiveness

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Chloris virgata is a widespread and very variable weedy annual grass (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015). This species is a particularly aggressive invader of bare areas and degraded or disturbed native vegetation, and it has the potential to out-compete native vegetation in these habitats (Smith, 2002; Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012; Weeds of Australia, 2015). This weedy grass spreads from cultivation, pastures, gardens, disturbed areas and roadsides to nearby disturbed forest, creeks and riversides, native grasslands and coastal habitats such as coastal forests and sand dunes (Weeds of Australia, 2015; FAO, 2015; PIER, 2015). It also grows as a weed in agricultural lands (Vibrans, 2009). Currently, this species is regarded as an invasive and environmental weed in northern Australia (i.e., Queensland and the Northern Territory; Weeds of Australia, 2015) and as an invasive grass in Cuba, Palau, New Caledonia, the Galapagos Islands, and Hawaii (Wagner et al., 1999; Charles Darwin Foundation, 2008; Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012; PIER, 2015). 

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Monocotyledonae
  •                     Order: Cyperales
  •                         Family: Poaceae
  •                             Genus: Chloris
  •                                 Species: Chloris virgata

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Poaceae is a species-diverse family in the Angiosperms including 707 genera and over 11,000 species widely distributed in all regions of the world (Stevens, 2012). The subfamily Chloridoideae includes 130 genera and about 1721 species, most abundant in dry, tropical and subtropical regions. Almost all species within this subfamily have a C4 photosynthesis pathway. Chloris is a tropical to subtropical genus of 55-60 species. It is most abundant in the Southern Hemisphere. Species within this genus tolerate drought and saline conditions (Barkworth, 2003, Stevens, 2012). 

Description

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The following description is taken from Flora of China Editorial Committee (2015):

Annual grass, culms tufted, erect or geniculately ascending, slightly flattened, 15–100 cm tall. Basal leaf sheaths strongly keeled, glabrous; leaf blades flat or folded, 5–30 cm, 2–7 mm wide, glabrous, adaxial surface scabrous, apex acuminate; ligule 0.5–1 mm, glabrous or ciliate. Racemes digitate, 5–12, erect or slightly slanting, 2–10 cm, silky, pale brown or tinged pink or purple; rachis scabrous or hispid. Spikelets with 2 or 3 florets, 2-awned; lower glume 1.8–2.2 mm; upper glume 3–4 mm, acuminate; lemma of fertile floret obovate-lanceolate in side view, 2.8–3.5 mm, keel gibbous, conspicuously bearded on upper margins with a spreading tuft of 2.5–3.5 mm silky hairs, margins, keel and flanks silky-ciliate or glabrous; awn 5–15 mm; second floret sterile, oblong, glabrous, awn 4–10 mm; third floret occasionally present, reduced to a small clavate scale, awnless. 

Plant Type

Top of page Annual
Grass / sedge
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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C. virgata is a widespread species that grows in many habitats, from tropical to temperate areas with hot summers (Barkworth, 2003). The native distribution range of this grass species is still uncertain, however this datasheet follows the most widely accepted view among botanists that considers this species as native to the Americas, occurring naturally from the United States in North America to Argentina in South America, and introduced elsewhere (Barkworth, 2003; Zuloaga et al., 2008; Clayton et al., 2015). 

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

AfghanistanPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
AzerbaijanPresentUSDA-ARS, 2015Probably introduced
BangladeshPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
BhutanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
China
-GansuPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-HebeiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-HeilongjiangPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-HenanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-JiangsuPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-JilinPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-LiaoningPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-Nei MengguPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-NingxiaPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-QinghaiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-ShandongPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-ShanxiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-SichuanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-XinjiangPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-YunnanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
IndiaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-Arunachal PradeshPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-BiharPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-ChandigarhPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-ChhattisgarhPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-Dadra and Nagar HaveliPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-DamanPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-GoaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-GujaratPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-HaryanaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-Indian PunjabPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-Jammu and KashmirPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-JharkhandPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-KarnatakaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-KeralaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-Madhya PradeshPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-MaharashtraPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-OdishaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-PuducherryPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-RajasthanPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-SikkimPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
-West BengalPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
IranPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
IraqPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
IsraelPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2015
JapanPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
KazakhstanPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
Korea, DPRPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
Korea, Republic ofPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
KyrgyzstanPresentUSDA-ARS, 2015Probably introduced
LebanonPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
MongoliaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
MyanmarPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
NepalPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
OmanPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
PakistanPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
PalestinePresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
Saudi ArabiaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
TaiwanPresentUSDA-ARS, 2015Probably introduced
TurkmenistanPresentUSDA-ARS, 2015Probably introduced
UzbekistanPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
VietnamPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
YemenPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015

Africa

AlgeriaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
AngolaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
BotswanaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
Burkina FasoPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
CameroonPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
Cape VerdePresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
Central African RepublicPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
ChadPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
EgyptPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
EritreaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
KenyaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
LesothoPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
LibyaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
MadagascarPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
MalawiPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
MaliPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
MauritaniaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
MoroccoPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
MozambiquePresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
NamibiaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
NigerPresentUSDA-ARS, 2015Probably introduced
NigeriaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
Saint HelenaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
SeychellesPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
SomaliaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
South AfricaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015Naturalized
SwazilandPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
TogoPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
TunisiaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2015Probably introduced
UgandaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
ZambiaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015

North America

MexicoPresentNativeVillaseñor and Espinosa, 1998Aguascalientes, Baja California Norte, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Distrito Federal, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Estado de México, Michoacán, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luís Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Yucatán, Zacatecas
USA
-AlabamaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-ArizonaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-ArkansasPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-CaliforniaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-ColoradoPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-FloridaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-GeorgiaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Wagner et al., 1999
-KansasPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-KentuckyPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-LouisianaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-MainePresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-MarylandPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-MassachusettsPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-MississippiPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-MissouriPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-NebraskaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-NevadaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-New MexicoPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-New YorkPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-North DakotaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-OklahomaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-South CarolinaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-TexasPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2015

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Origin uncertain
Antigua and BarbudaPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Origin uncertain
ArubaPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Origin uncertain
BarbadosPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Origin uncertain
BonairePresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Origin uncertain
Costa RicaPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced2008Lobo, 2008Collected for first time in 2008 along a highway in San Jose
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
CuraçaoPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Origin uncertain
Dominican RepublicPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Origin uncertain
El SalvadorPresentNativeClayton et al., 2015
MartiniquePresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Origin uncertain
NicaraguaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2015
PanamaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2015

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeZuloaga et al., 2008Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Chaco, Córdoba, Corrientes, Distrito Federal, Entre Ríos, Jujuy, La Pampa, La Rioja, Mendoza, Río Negro, Salta, Sgo. del Estero, Santa Fe, San Juan, San Luis, Tucumán
BoliviaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2015
Brazil
-AlagoasPresentNativeFilgueiras and Valls, 2015
-BahiaPresentNativeFilgueiras and Valls, 2015
-CearaPresentNativeFilgueiras and Valls, 2015
-MaranhaoPresentNativeFilgueiras and Valls, 2015
-ParaibaPresentNativeFilgueiras and Valls, 2015
-PernambucoPresentNativeFilgueiras and Valls, 2015
-PiauiPresentNativeFilgueiras and Valls, 2015
-Rio Grande do NortePresentNativeFilgueiras and Valls, 2015
-SergipePresentNativeFilgueiras and Valls, 2015
ChilePresentNativeZuloaga et al., 2008Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Chaco, Córdoba, Corrientes, Distrito Federal, Entre Ríos, Jujuy, La Pampa, La Rioja, Mendoza, Río Negro, Salta, Sgo. del Estero, Santa Fe, San Juan, San Luis, Tucumán
ColombiaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2015
EcuadorPresentNativeClayton et al., 2015
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Charles Darwin Foundation, 2008
ParaguayPresentNativeZuloaga et al., 2008Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Chaco, Córdoba, Corrientes, Distrito Federal, Entre Ríos, Jujuy, La Pampa, La Rioja, Mendoza, Río Negro, Salta, Sgo. del Estero, Santa Fe, San Juan, San Luis, Tucumán
PeruPresentNativeClayton et al., 2015
VenezuelaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2015

Europe

BelgiumPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2015
Czech RepublicPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2015
FrancePresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2015
Portugal
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2015
Russian Federation
-Russian Far EastPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015Amur, Khabarovsk, Primorye
-Southern RussiaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015North Caucasus, Transcaucasus
SpainPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2015
UKPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2015

Oceania

Australia
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2015
-New South WalesPresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2015
-QueenslandPresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2015
-South AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2015
-VictoriaPresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2015
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive Weeds of Australia, 2015
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Florence et al., 2013
NauruPresentIntroducedFosberg et al., 1987
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive MacKee, 1994
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroducedFosberg et al., 1987
PalauPresentIntroduced Invasive Space et al., 2009
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2015
US Minor Outlying IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2015Midway Atoll
VanuatuPresentIntroducedPIER, 2015

History of Introduction and Spread

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Because the native distribution range of C. virgata is still unclear, for many regions of the world where this species occurs it is not certain if it represents a natural occurrence or if it was introduced (i.e., human-assisted introduction). During the 1960s, this species was promoted in Africa (i.e., Kenya) and India as an optimal grass for reseeding denuded rangelands and highly disturbed areas in saline and alkaline soils (Bor, 1960; Bogdan and Pratt, 1967). 

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of further spread of C. virgata is very high. This grass is an aggressive invader with the capability to grow in a wide rage of climates and soil types. It is a prolific seed producer and seeds can be easily dispersed by wind and water and as a seed contaminant in hay and crop seeds (Weeds of Australia, 2015; FAO, 2015; PIER, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015). 

Habitat

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C. virgata is a widespread and aggressive weed. In China, it has been described as a common weed on stony slopes, steppe, sandy riversides, roadsides, fields, plantations, and frequent on walls and roofs in areas from sea level to 3700 metres (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015). In Hawaii, it can be found naturalized along roadsides, in dry pastures, and in open, mesic shrubland, at elevations from 0 to 410 m (Wagner et al., 1999). In the Galápagos Islands, it grows in arid lowlands (McMullen, 1999). In Australia, it grows in a variety of habitats, particularly disturbed areas and roadsides; also levee banks, creek lines, coastal areas, sand dunes and gardens (Smith, 2002; Weeds of Australia, 2015). Within its native distribution range in the USA and Mexico, this species also grows as a weed in ruderal areas, along roadsides, and in open and disturbed sites in grasslands, pastures, and rangelands (Barkworth, 2003; Vibrans, 2009). 

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Deserts Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Deserts Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Deserts Present, no further details Natural
Deserts Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
semi-natural/Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
semi-natural/Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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C. virgata is a common weed in alfalfa (Medicago sativa) fields of the southwestern USA (Barkworth, 2003) and maize and sorghum plantations in Mexico (Vibrans, 2009). 

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Medicago sativa (lucerne)FabaceaeMain
Sorghum bicolor (sorghum)PoaceaeMain
Zea mays (maize)PoaceaeMain

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Post-harvest, Vegetative growing stage

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for C. virgata varies from 2n = 14, 20, 26, 30, to 2n = 40 (Barkworth, 2003; Roodt and Spies, 2003; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015).

Reproductive Biology

C. virgata is primarily cross-pollinating, but it is also self-compatible. It is mostly wind-pollinated.

Physiology and Phenology

In Mexico, C. virgata has been recorded flowering throughout the year (Vibrans, 2009). In China, it produces flowers and fruits from June to October (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015).

Environmental Requirements

C. virgata grows in arid, dry, and moist habitats from sea level to 2500 m in elevation with mean annual temperatures around 25-30°C (Vibrans, 2009). It is able to grow in dry areas with mean annual rainfall ranging from 500 mm to 750 mm, but it is also adapted to arid environments where the minimum rainfall is about 375 mm. It prefers heavy soils, but has a wide soil range including saline, alkaline, and dark clay soils (Weeds of Australia, 2015). 

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 20 30

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration04number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall3751500mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Uniform

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • saline

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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C. virgata spreads by seed and vegetatively by stolons. It produces abundant seeds that are easily transported by wind and water and as seed contaminants in hay and adhering to animal fur. Livestock movements can also spread seeds and stolons (FAO, 2015; PIER, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015; Weeds of Australia, 2015). 

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productionPotential seed contaminant Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2015
DisturbanceWeed on disturbed open areas Yes Yes Barkworth, 2003
ForageForage, fodder, hay production Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2015
Habitat restoration and improvementHas been used for reseeding denuded rangeland Yes Yes FAO, 2015

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesStolons and seeds can be carried by wind, vehicles or by adhering to animal fur Yes Yes FAO, 2015
Soil, sand and gravelSeed contaminants Yes Yes PIER, 2015
WaterSeeds Yes Yes PIER, 2015
WindSeeds Yes Yes PIER, 2015

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive and negative
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Economic Impact

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C. virgata is an aggressive weed of agricultural lands and gardens. It is a weed of alfalfa, maize and sorghum plantations in Mexico and the USA (Barkworth, 2003; Vibrans, 2009).

Environmental Impact

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C. virgata is considered a weed of agricultural areas and gardens, but it is also an aggressive environmental weed (Randall, 2012; PIER, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015). It has escaped from cultivation, pastures, gardens, disturbed areas and roadsides to nearby creek lines, riverbanks, native grasslands, and coastal forests including sand dunes (Weeds of Australia, 2015). This species is a particularly aggressive invader of bare areas and degraded or disturbed native vegetation, and has the capability to out-compete native species in these habitats (Weeds of Australia, 2015).

Risk and Impact Factors

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Impact mechanisms

  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting

Impact outcomes

  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of fire regime
  • Modification of hydrology
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species

Invasiveness

  • Abundant in its native range
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Fast growing
  • Gregarious
  • Has a broad native range
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc

Likelihood of entry/control

  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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C. virgata is used as a revegetator, fodder, and forage grass (USDA-ARS, 2015). It is one of the first grasses to colonize bare ground, and has been used for reseeding denuded rangeland in Kenya and highly disturbed areas in arid and semiarid regions (Bogdan and Pratt, 1967; FAO, 2015). 

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage

Environmental

  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Soil conservation

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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C. virgata can be easily confused with Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) and purpletop Rhodes grass (Chloris inflata). Weeds of Australia (2015) lists the following differences between these species:

  • C. virgata has very feathery seed-heads that are initially greyish-green in colour and usually borne in a more upright position. Its flower spikelets of have two relatively large awns (5-15 mm long) and are hairy towards their tips.
  • C. gayana has seed-heads that are initially greenish-brown in colour and spreading or drooping in nature. Its flower spikelets have one small and one very small awn (both usually less than 6 mm long) and are not very hairy.
  • C. inflata has seed-heads that are initially purplish in colour and spreading or drooping in nature. Its flower spikelets have three relatively small awns (all less than 7 mm long) and are hairy towards their tips.

Prevention and Control

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Chloris species are generally susceptible to herbicides such as atrazine and glyphosate. However, resistance to glyphosate and possibly other Group G/9 herbicides (EPSP synthase inhibitors) has appeared in C. virgata in Australia, first recorded in plants occurring on roadsides in 2015 (Heap, 2017).

Even when mature, Chloris is readily controlled with the selective grass herbicide haloxyfop (Cook et al., 2005). 

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Barkworth ME, 2003. Chloris Sw. Flora of North America vol. 25 [ed. by Barkworth, M. E. \Capels, K. M. \Long, S. \Piep, M. B.]. http://herbarium.usu.edu/webmanual/

Bogdan AV, Pratt DJ, 1967. Reseeding denuded pastoral land in Kenya., Republic of Kenya: Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, 48 pp.

Bor NL, 1960. The Grasses of Burma, Ceylon, India and Pakistan (Excluding Bambusae). Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press.

Charles Darwin Foundation, 2008. Database inventory of introduced plant species in the rural and urban zones of Galapagos. Database inventory of introduced plant species in the rural and urban zones of Galapagos. Galapagos, Ecuador: Charles Darwin Foundation, unpaginated.

Clayton WD, Govaerts R, Harman KT, Williamson H, Vorontsova M, 2015. World Checklist of Poaceae. Richmond, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/

Cook BG, Pengelly BC, Brown SD, Donnelly JL, Eagles DA, Franco MA, Hanson J, Partridge IJ, Peter M, Schultze-Kraft R, 2005. Tropical Forages: an interactive selection tool. Brisbane, Australia: CSIRO, DPI&F, CIAT, ILRI. http://www.tropicalforages.info/

DAISIE, 2015. Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe. European Invasive Alien Species Gateway. www.europe-aliens.org/default.do

FAO, 2015. Grassland species profiles. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. http://www.fao.org/ag/agp/AGPC/doc/Gbase/Default.htm

Filgueiras TS, Valls JFM, 2015. Chloris in Lista de Espécies da Flora do Brasil (Chloris in the list of species of the flora of Brazil). http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/jabot/floradobrasil/FB20354

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015. Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Florence J, Chevillotte H, Ollier C, Meyer J-Y, 2013. Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP) (Botanical database of the Nadeaud Herbarium of French Polynesia). http://www.herbier-tahiti.pf

Fosberg FR, Sachet M-H, Oliver R, 1987. A geographical checklist of the Micronesian monocotyledonae. Micronesia 20: 1-2, 19-129.

Heap I, 2017. The International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds. Online. www.weedscience.org

Lobo Cabezas S, 2008. First record of Chloris virgata (Poaceae) in Costa Rica. (Primera documentación de Chloris virgata (Poaceae) en Costa Rica.) Brenesia, 69:71-72.

MacKee HS, 1994. Catalogue of introduced and cultivated plants in New Caledonia. (Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie.) Paris, France: Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, unpaginated.

McMullen CK, 1999. Flowering plants of the Galápagos. Ithaca, New York, USA: Comstock Publisher Assoc., 370 pp.

Oviedo Prieto R, Herrera Oliver P, Caluff MG, et al. , 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 6(Special Issue 1):22-96.

PIER, 2015. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

Randall RP, 2012. A Global Compendium of Weeds. Perth, Australia: Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, 1124 pp. http://www.cabi.org/isc/FullTextPDF/2013/20133109119.pdf

Roodt R, Spies JJ, 2003. Chromosome studies in the grass subfamily Chloridoideae. I. Basic chromosome numbers. Taxon, 52(3):557-566.

Smith NM, 2002. Weeds of the wet/dry tropics of Australia - a field guide., Australia: Environment Centre NT, Inc, 112 pp.

Space JC, Lorence DH, LaRosa AM, 2009. Report to the Republic of Palau: 2008 update on Invasive Plant Species. Hilo, Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, 227. http://www.sprep.org/att/irc/ecopies/countries/palau/48.pdf

Stevens PF, 2012. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/

USDA-ARS, 2015. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2015. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/

Vibrans H, 2009. Ficha Informativa par la especie Chloris virgata. Malezas de Mexico ([English title not available]). http://www.conabio.gob.mx/malezasdemexico/2inicio/home-malezas-mexico.htm

Villaseñor JL, Espinosa-Garcia FJ, 1998. Catálogo de malezas de México ([English title not available])., Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Wagner WI, Herbst DR, Sohmer SH, 1999. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawaii, revised edition. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: University of Hawaii Press.

Weeds of Australia, 2015. Weeds of Australia, Biosecurity Queensland Edition. http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/03030800-0b07-490a-8d04-0605030c0f01/media/Html/search.html?zoom_query=

Zuloaga FO, Morrone O, Belgrano MJ, 2008. Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares del Cono Sur: (Argentina, Sur de Brasil, Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay) ([English title not available])., USA: Missouri Botanical Garden Press, 3348 pp.

Contributors

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03/05/16 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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