Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Paspalum vaginatum
(seashore paspalum)

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Datasheet

Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 25 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Paspalum vaginatum
  • Preferred Common Name
  • seashore paspalum
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Paspalum vaginatum, commonly known as seashore paspalum and by many other names, is a species of perennial grass which can be found in wet, saline habitats. Reported to have originated from the Americas, it can be a serious weed of rice i...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit, on rocks. Hilo Bay, Liliuokalani Park, Hawaii, Hawaii, USA. July 2012.
TitleHabit
CaptionPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit, on rocks. Hilo Bay, Liliuokalani Park, Hawaii, Hawaii, USA. July 2012.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2012- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit, on rocks. Hilo Bay, Liliuokalani Park, Hawaii, Hawaii, USA. July 2012.
HabitPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit, on rocks. Hilo Bay, Liliuokalani Park, Hawaii, Hawaii, USA. July 2012.©Forest & Kim Starr-2012- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kealia Pond, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2013.
TitleHabit
CaptionPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kealia Pond, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2013.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2013- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kealia Pond, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2013.
HabitPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kealia Pond, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2013.©Forest & Kim Starr-2013- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Popoia, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. February 2005.
TitleHabit
CaptionPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Popoia, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. February 2005.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2005- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Popoia, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. February 2005.
HabitPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Popoia, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. February 2005.©Forest & Kim Starr-2005- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kilauea Pt NWR, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. March 2013.
TitleHabit
CaptionPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kilauea Pt NWR, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. March 2013.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2013- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kilauea Pt NWR, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. March 2013.
HabitPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kilauea Pt NWR, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. March 2013.©Forest & Kim Starr-2013- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kilauea Pt NWR, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. March 2013.
TitleHabit
CaptionPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kilauea Pt NWR, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. March 2013.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2013- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kilauea Pt NWR, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. March 2013.
HabitPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kilauea Pt NWR, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. March 2013.©Forest & Kim Starr-2013- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kapapa, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. April 2005.
TitleHabit
CaptionPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kapapa, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. April 2005.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2005- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kapapa, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. April 2005.
HabitPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); habit. Kapapa, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. April 2005.©Forest & Kim Starr-2005- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); leaves. Kealia Pond, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2013.
TitleLeaves
CaptionPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); leaves. Kealia Pond, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2013.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2013- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); leaves. Kealia Pond, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2013.
LeavesPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); leaves. Kealia Pond, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2013.©Forest & Kim Starr-2013- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); close view of leaf sheaths and leaf bases. Kealia Pond, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2013.
TitleLeaves
CaptionPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); close view of leaf sheaths and leaf bases. Kealia Pond, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2013.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2013- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); close view of leaf sheaths and leaf bases. Kealia Pond, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2013.
LeavesPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); close view of leaf sheaths and leaf bases. Kealia Pond, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July 2013.©Forest & Kim Starr-2013- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); seedheads. Hilo Bay, Liliuokalani Park, Hawaii, USA. July 2012.
TitleSeedheads
CaptionPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); seedheads. Hilo Bay, Liliuokalani Park, Hawaii, USA. July 2012.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2012- CC BY 3.0
Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); seedheads. Hilo Bay, Liliuokalani Park, Hawaii, USA. July 2012.
SeedheadsPaspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum); seedheads. Hilo Bay, Liliuokalani Park, Hawaii, USA. July 2012.©Forest & Kim Starr-2012- CC BY 3.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Paspalum vaginatum Sw.

Preferred Common Name

  • seashore paspalum

Other Scientific Names

  • Digitaria foliosa Lag.
  • Digitaria paspalodes var. longipes (Lange) Willk. & Lange
  • Digitaria tristachya (Lacomte) Schult.
  • Digitaria vaginata (Sw. Philippe)
  • Digitaria vaginata (Sw.) Magner
  • Paspalum boryanum J.Presl
  • Paspalum distichum subsp. vaginatum (Sw.) Maire
  • Paspalum distichum var. littorale (R. Br. ) F. M. Bailey
  • Paspalum distichum var. nanum (Döll) Stapf
  • Paspalum distichum var. tristachyum (Schult.) Alph. Wood
  • Paspalum distichum var.anpinense Hayata
  • Paspalum foliosum (Laq.) Kunth
  • Paspalum furcatum var. fissum Döll
  • Paspalum gayanum E. Desv.
  • Paspalum inflatum A.Rich.
  • Paspalum jaguaense León
  • Paspalum kleinianum J. Presl.
  • Paspalum littorale R. Br.
  • Paspalum squamatum Steud.
  • Sanguinaria vaginata (Sw.) Bubari

Local Common Names

  • English: biscuit grass; knot grass; knottweed; salt grass; saltwater couch; saltwater paspalum; seashore grass; silt grass; swamp couch
  • French: herbe rampante
  • Spanish: grama de costa; grama de mar; gramilla; gramilla blanca; gramón
  • China: hai que bai
  • Cook Islands: mauku t a‘atai; mauku ta‘atai; mauku vairakau
  • Fiji: kambutu
  • French Polynesia: motie; mutie
  • French Polynesia/Marquesas: matie; mutie
  • Kiribati: te utiuti
  • Marshall Islands: katejukjuk; wûjooj
  • Micronesia, Federated states of: dimur; dumwur; timoor
  • Niue: mosie kalalahi
  • Samoa: mutia
  • Tonga: mohuku ano

Summary of Invasiveness

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Paspalum vaginatum, commonly known as seashore paspalum and by many other names, is a species of perennial grass which can be found in wet, saline habitats. Reported to have originated from the Americas, it can be a serious weed of rice in West Africa. In coastal habitats, it can spread at 1-2 m per year and become dominant over native vegetation. In New Zealand, it is of concern having invaded the nesting areas of the endangered New Zealand fairy tern (Sterna nereis), threatening a range of uncommon or endangered plant species, and possibly affecting fish breeding. PIER (2016) assesses it as a 'High Risk' species (score 7) for the Pacific islands and confirms it as invasive in Hawaii (on golf courses) and the Marshall Islands, also on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. In Spain it is classed as a species with ‘clear invasive behaviour; dangerous (causing ecological damage or alteration) for natural ecosystems’ (Dana et al., 2007). Similarly it is regarded as a threat to native vegetation in California, USA (Riefner and Columbus, 2008).

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Paspalum vaginatum Sw. was originally named by O.G Swartz in 1788. It has been known by many other synonyms (as listed in the Identity section), especially as varieties or subspecies of the closely related Paspalum distichum L. For some time between 1976 and 1983 it was even known as P. distichum and later as P. paspaloides (Michx.) Scribn., but there is now widespread agreement that this was incorrect. A number of varieties and subspecies have been described and are listed in The Plant List (2013). Also, numerous commercial varieties have been developed, mainly for turf, including ‘Aloha’, ‘Salam’, ‘Seadwarf’, ‘Sea Isle 1’, ‘Sea Isle 2000’, ‘Seaspray’ ‘Neptune’, ‘Sea Isle Supreme’, ‘Seaway’ and ‘Seagreen’ (Brosnan and Deputy, 2009).

Description

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Perennial with short rhizomes (a few cm only) and long above-ground runners (up to 2 m long), rooting at each node. Culms solitary or tufted, many-noded, 10-50 cm tall. Leaf sheaths imbricate, often keeled, margins membranous; leaf blades distichous, linear, rather stiffly ascending, 2.5-15 × 0.3-0.8 cm, apex acute; ligule 0.5-1 mm. Inflorescence of (1-)2(-3) racemes arising together at culm apex; racemes 2-5 cm, usually closely approximate when young, later spreading; spikelets single, in 2 rows; rachis 1-2 mm wide. Spikelets pale brownish green, narrowly lanceolate-oblong, strongly flattened, 3.5-4 mm, acute; lower glume absent or rarely a tiny vestige; upper glume thinly papery, weakly 5-veined, midvein often suppressed, glabrous; lower lemma resembling upper glume; upper lemma pale green, 2.5-3 mm, shorter than spikelet, cartilaginous, apex minutely pubescent. Caryopsis narrowly obovate, slightly concavo-convex, 2.5-3 mm long, subacute (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016; PIER, 2016).

Rhizomes are often mentioned in descriptions of P. vaginatum but their depth and abundance are not stated. They are generally neither long nor deep, and certainly most of the spreading and recovery properties of the weed are attributable to the above ground stolons/runners.

Plant Type

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Grass / sedge
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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P. vaginatum is generally believed to have originated in the Americas, though Chen et al. (2005) studied the range of genetic diversity and concluded that its origin could be in Africa. ISSG (2016) indicated it is native only in USA and Ecuador and introduced everywhere else, but Lansdown et al. (2013) and most other sources now consider it to be native not only throughout the Americas and Africa but also in much of Asia (including Australia), and introduced to Europe, northern Africa, the Azores, New Zealand, Hawaii and Fiji. In the Pacific, PIER (2016) indicated it is native across many islands but definitely introduced to others, including Hawaii. It is widely grown as a turf grass and almost certainly occurs in many areas where it has not necessarily naturalized, such as some provinces of China.

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.

Last updated: 25 Feb 2021
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AlgeriaPresentIntroduced
AngolaPresentNative
BeninPresentNative
Cabo VerdePresentIntroduced
CameroonPresentNative
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentNative
Equatorial GuineaPresentNative
EthiopiaPresentNative
GabonPresentNative
GambiaPresentNative
GhanaPresentNative
GuineaPresentNativeAlso on Kabak Island
KenyaPresentNative
MadagascarPresentNative
MauritiusPresentNative
MoroccoPresentIntroduced
MozambiquePresentNative
NigeriaPresentNative
RéunionPresentNative
SenegalPresentNative
SeychellesPresentNative
Sierra LeonePresentNative
SomaliaPresentNative
South AfricaPresentNative
TanzaniaPresentNative
-Zanzibar IslandPresentNative
TunisiaPresentIntroduced
UgandaPresentNative

Asia

BahrainPresentNative
British Indian Ocean TerritoryPresentIntroducedInvasiveDiego Garcia
CambodiaPresentNative
ChinaPresent, Localized
-HainanPresentNative
-YunnanPresentNative
Cocos IslandsPresentNative
Hong KongPresentNative
IndiaPresent, LocalizedNativeLow sandy coasts of southern India
-OdishaPresentNative
IndonesiaPresentNative
JapanPresent, LocalizedNative
-Ryukyu IslandsPresentNative
LaosPresentNative
MalaysiaPresentNative
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresent
MaldivesPresentNativeMale Atoll
MyanmarPresentNative
OmanPresentNative
PhilippinesPresentNative
Saudi ArabiaPresentNativeSerious infestations in the northeastern Arabian Peninsula
SingaporePresentNative
South KoreaPresentNative
Sri LankaPresentNative
TaiwanPresentNative
ThailandPresentNative
VietnamPresentNative
YemenPresentNativeIncluding Socotra

Europe

FrancePresentIntroduced
ItalyPresentIntroducedIncluding Sicily and Sardinia
PortugalPresentIntroduced
-AzoresPresentIntroduced
SpainPresentIntroduced
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroduced

North America

Antigua and BarbudaPresentNative
BahamasPresentNative
BarbadosPresentNative
BelizePresentNative
British Virgin IslandsPresentNative
Cayman IslandsPresentNative
Costa RicaPresentNative
CubaPresentNative
Dominican RepublicPresentNative
El SalvadorPresentNative
GuadeloupePresentNative
GuatemalaPresentNative
HaitiPresentNative
HondurasPresentNative
MartiniquePresentNative
MexicoPresentNativeSan Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Baja Sur
NicaraguaPresentNative
PanamaPresentNative
Puerto RicoPresentNative
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNative
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNative
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentNative
United StatesPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaPresentNative
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-FloridaPresentNative
-GeorgiaPresent, LocalizedNative
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedInvasiveHawaii, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Oahu
-LouisianaPresentNative
-MississippiPresentNative
-New MexicoPresentNative
-North CarolinaPresentNative
-South CarolinaPresentNative
-TexasPresentNative

Oceania

American SamoaPresentTa’u, Tatuila
AustraliaPresentNative
-Lord Howe IslandPresentPossibly native. Has not been recorded for about a century
-New South WalesPresentNative
-Northern TerritoryPresentNative
-QueenslandPresentNative
-South AustraliaPresentNative
-VictoriaPresentNative
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroduced
Cook IslandsPresentNativeNassau, Aitutaki, Mangaia, Raratonga islands
Federated States of MicronesiaPresentNativeKosrae, Pohnpei
FijiPresentIntroduced
French PolynesiaPresentNativeAgakauitai, Aukena, Makaroa, Mangareva, Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oas, Nuku Hivca, Ua Huka, Ua Pou, Bora Bora, Huahine, Maupiti, Moorea, Raiatea, Taha’a, Tahiti, Tupai, Makatea, Niau, Rangiroa, Takapoto, Tepoto, Raivavae, Rapa, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai islands
GuamPresent
KiribatiPresentButaritari, Tarawa islands
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasiveKili, Kwajalein, Arno, Majuro, Mili, Wotje
New ZealandPresentIntroducedInvasiveOccasionally spreads into pasture
NiuePresentNative
PalauPresent
Papua New GuineaPresent
SamoaPresentNative
TongaPresentNative
TuvaluPresentIntroducedInvasive
VanuatuPresentNative

South America

ArgentinaPresentNative
BoliviaPresentNative
BrazilPresentNative
-AlagoasPresentNative
-BahiaPresentNative
-CearaPresentNative
-Espirito SantoPresentNative
-MaranhaoPresentNative
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNative
-ParaPresentNative
-ParaibaPresentNative
-ParanaPresentNative
-PernambucoPresentNative
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNative
-Rio Grande do NortePresentNative
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNative
-Santa CatarinaPresentNative
-Sao PauloPresentNative
-SergipePresentNative
ChilePresentNative
ColombiaPresentNative
EcuadorPresentNative
-Galapagos IslandsPresentNativeIsabela, San Cristobal islands
French GuianaPresentNative
GuyanaPresentNative
ParaguayPresentNative
PeruPresentNative
UruguayPresentNative
VenezuelaPresentNative

History of Introduction and Spread

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Although there is some uncertainty about the exact native range of P. vaginatum, it is now widespread and regarded as native across the Americas and much of Asia and Africa. In Benin, it has replaced mangroves which were dominant in coastal swamps up to 3000 years ago, but it is not clear how early it established there (Tossou et al., 2008). It has, however, almost certainly been introduced relatively recently into several less tropical countries of northern Africa, also into southern Europe and the Azores, and to Hawaii, Fiji and New Zealand. In USA, Riefner and Columbus (2008) refer to it as probably being deliberately introduced to California in the 1970s. FloraBase (2016) also treats it as introduced to Western Australia. But in none of these cases is there reliable information on the date of introduction.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Balearic Islands 1952 GBIF (2016) Majorca. Earliest herbarium specimen
California 1970s Yes Riefner and Columbus (2008) Possibly introduced from Southern USA
Cape Verde 1987 Basto (1987) First reported
Fiji 1921 GBIF (2016) Earliest herbarium specimen
New Zealand 1877 Graeme and Kendal (2001) Earliest herbarium specimen
Spain 1953 GBIF (2016) Earliest herbarium specimen

Risk of Introduction

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P. vaginatum is not likely to be introduced accidentally but there is some risk of intentional introduction as a turf grass, as forage or for soil binding and soil remediation in coastal areas.

Habitat

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P. vaginatum is almost invariably associated with wet, saline conditions whether coastal or inland. It is found in coastal salt marshes of the tropics and sub-tropics. On various islands in the Pacific region, P. vaginatum is found in coastal sunny areas, near beaches and sometimes on the beach, in brackish marshy areas and mangrove swamps (PIER, 2016). It is best suited to compacted inorganic marsh soils of moderate salinity and is tolerant of drought, salt, a wide range of soil pH, extended periods of low light intensity, and flooding or extended wet periods (ISSG, 2016). In New Zealand, P. vaginatum grows on the open coast, but is most widespread in sheltered estuaries, lagoons and creeks that are influenced by tidal fluxes. It is found in coastal, often brackish areas. It often forms swards near the edge of mud flats, or on sandy and shingly shores, occasionally spreading into pasture nearby. It grows on estuarine mudflats, fine gravel, silty sand, sand; and in dryer situations above the high tide mark along exposed rocky coastlines, in crevices or beside brackish pools. It is not known inland (Graeme and Kendall, 2001).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
BrackishInland saline areas Secondary/tolerated habitat
Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Secondary/tolerated habitat
Terrestrial ManagedManaged grasslands (grazing systems) Secondary/tolerated habitat
Terrestrial ManagedIndustrial / intensive livestock production systems Present, no further details
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details
Terrestrial ManagedRail / roadsides Present, no further details
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalWetlands Principal habitat
LittoralCoastal areas Principal habitat
LittoralCoastal dunes Secondary/tolerated habitat
LittoralMangroves Present, no further details
LittoralMud flats Principal habitat
LittoralIntertidal zone Present, no further details
LittoralSalt marshes Principal habitat
Freshwater Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Freshwater Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
FreshwaterRivers / streams Present, no further details
BrackishEstuaries Secondary/tolerated habitat
BrackishLagoons Secondary/tolerated habitat
MarineInshore marine Present, no further details

Hosts/Species Affected

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In many regions, P. vaginatum is a serious weed of rice, especially in saline and brackish soils (Bernard, 1988; Terry, 1981).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContextReferences
Oryza sativa (rice)PoaceaeMain
    turfgrassesOther

      Growth Stages

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      Flowering stage, Pre-emergence, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage

      Biology and Ecology

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      Genetics

      According to IPCN (2016), the chromosome number of P. vaginatum is 2n=20, but Lonard et al. (2015) report that tetraploidy (2n=40), hexaploidy (2n=60) and aneuploidy (2n=18) may also occur.

      A range of 69 accessions of P. vaginatum showed three main genetic clusters. Those from Hawaii showed the least variability and those from Africa the highest, with those from North America intermediate (Chen et al., 2005).

      A comprehensive transcriptone analysis has been reported by Jia et al. (2014). A total of 81,220 unigenes containing 8,7542,503 bp sequence information were formed by initial sequence splicing, with an average read length of 1,077 bp.

      Reproductive Biology

      Seed viability is apparently low and few were found in a seed bank in a densely-infested site in Lousiana, USA (Lonard et al., 2015). This may be partly attributed to the self-incompatibility reported by Carpenter (1958), who found that only one of four Australian and South African populations studied was self-fertile. Lonard et al. (2015) reported that a germination rate of less than 5% at room temperature was improved by a constant 35°C temperature or by an alternating temperature regime of 25°C to 35°C. Shin et al. (2006) and Shim et al. (2008) also found alternating 25/35°C to be optimal, together with KNO3, but also found benefit from light. Serena et al. (2012) report that germination is unaffected by salinity levels up to 12.5 dS.m-1.

      Physiology and Phenology

      P. vaginatum has C4 photosynthesis.

      Shonubi (2010) describes how P. vaginatum is able to accumulate salt in older leaves and store water to keep salinity to tolerable levels in the younger ones – not demonstrated in the related Paspalum scrobiculatum. Liu et al. (2012) conclude that the high salinity tolerance in P. vaginatum could be associated with a high abundance of proteins involved in ROS detoxification and energy metabolism.

      Sexual reproductive phases occur during the summer, autumn and early winter throughout southwest USA.

      P. vaginatum Flowers and fruits from June to September (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016).

      Longevity

      No specific information has been seen but established swards are likely to persist for many years. No information on seed longevity has been found.

      Nutrition

      In studies in Egypt, P. vaginatum was highly responsive to nitrogen as nitrate (but not as ammonium), showing increased growth up to the maximum 17.5 g/m2 (El-Maadawy et al., 2006). For turf, the optimal dose of nitrogen is about 150 kg/ha per annum (Gates, 2003; Shadow, 2016). However, P. vaginatum is also tolerant of infertile conditions.

      Associations

      Lonard et al. (2015) provide extensive lists of species associated with P. vaginatum in a range of territories in North and South America and in West Africa. They also note that there is commonly an association with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Garcia and Mendoza (2008) further confirmed that greatest arbuscular colonization was associated with the highest nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in plant tissue, suggesting a correspondence with increases in the rate of nutrient transfer between the symbiotic partners.

      Graeme and Kendall (2001) also describe a wide range of plant associations in New Zealand including mangrove, saltmarsh and backswamp communities involving Juncus krausii subsp.australiensis, Leptocarpus similis (Apodasmia similis), Sarcocornia quinqueflora, Suaeda novae-zealandiae, Samolus repens, Selliera radicans, Leptinella spp., Triglochin striata, Isolepis cernua, Schoenus nitens, Plagianthus divaricatus, Baumea juncea (Machaerina juncea), Coprosma propinqua, Olearia solandri, Leptospermum scoparium, Phormium tenax and Cortaderia toetoe. Also spinifex-shorebindweed sandfield with associated Pimelea arenaria (Pimelea villosa subsp. arenaria) and Desmoschoenus spiralis (Ficinia spiralis); and Juncus maritimus-Leptocarpus similis Rushland with Mimulus repens.

      Environmental Requirements

      P. vaginatum tolerates a wide range of environmental soil and climatic conditions, especially being highly tolerant of salinity, up to 600 mM NaCl, (35 ppt salinity) the natural level in undiluted sea water and even hyper-saline conditions (up to 50 ppt) although growth may be inhibited at these levels. Its growth is best at low salinity levels (Lonard, 2016). In Australia Barrett-Lennard et al, (2013) found the optimum salinity level for P. vaginatum to be 6-16 dS/m (seawater has 50 dS/M). Gaetani et al. (2013) also found it to grow best at about 2/3rd the full salinity of sea water in Italy. It enjoys water-logged conditions and survives a water table at or above soil level for at least 10 months of the year. It also tolerates seasonal flooding to a depth of 50 cm or more for at least 45 days (Lonard et al., 2015). Some turf-grass varieties can tolerate drought, but Barrett-Lennard et al. (2013) found that its growth increased many-fold as the watertable depth rose from 1.3 to 0.9 m below the soil surface. It can also tolerate temporary freezing conditions.

      It responds well to nitrogen up to 17.5 g/m2, but is also tolerant of infertile conditions (Brosnan and Deputy, 2008).

      Climate

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      ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
      Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
      Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
      As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
      Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
      BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
      BW - Desert climate Tolerated < 430mm annual precipitation
      Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
      Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
      Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

      Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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      Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
      0-44 0-40

      Air Temperature

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      Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
      Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -10
      Mean annual temperature (ºC) 15
      Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 0

      Rainfall Regime

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      Bimodal
      Summer
      Uniform
      Winter

      Soil Tolerances

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      Soil drainage

      • impeded
      • seasonally waterlogged

      Soil reaction

      • acid
      • alkaline
      • neutral
      • very alkaline

      Soil texture

      • heavy
      • light
      • medium

      Special soil tolerances

      • infertile
      • saline
      • shallow
      • sodic

      Natural enemies

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      Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
      Belonolaimus longicaudatus Parasite not specific
      Bipolaris Pathogen not specific
      Curvularia Pathogen not specific
      Drechslera Pathogen not specific
      Euphoria sepulcralis Predator not specific
      Fusarium Pathogen not specific
      Gaeumannomyces graminis var. graminis Pathogen not specific
      Helicotylenchus pseudorobustus Parasite not specific
      Helminthosporium Pathogen not specific
      Hoplolaimus galeatus Parasite not specific
      Laetisaria fuciformis Pathogen not specific
      Marasmiellus mesosporus Pathogen not specific
      Meloidogyne marylandi Parasite not specific
      Microdochium paspali Pathogen not specific
      Popillia japonica Predator not specific
      Rice yellow mottle virus Pathogen not specific
      Schizaphis graminum Predator not specific
      Sclerotinia homoeocarpa Pathogen not specific
      Sphenophorus arizonensis Predator not specific
      Sphenophorus venatus Predator not specific
      Spodoptera frugiperda Predator not specific
      Sporisorium paspali-notati Pathogen not specific

      Notes on Natural Enemies

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      Gaeumannomyces graminis, an ectotrophic pathogen on roots and stolons, is found in turfgrass plots in Florida and in China. This species also commonly infects wheat, rice, and other cereals. Dollar spot, Sclerotinia homoeocarpa, is the most economically important turfgrass disease in North America, while Helminosporium spp., Bipolaris spp., Drechslera spp, and Fusarium sp. have also been reported as pathogens. Basidiomycetes Rhizoctonia solani, and Waitea circinata, have been identified as pathogens of P. vaginatum in South Africa (Lonard et al., 2015). In Sri Lanka, a turf yellowing disease is caused by a Curvularia sp. (Malkanthi et al., 2014). In China, red thread caused by Laetisaria fuciformis is reported by Zhang Wu et al. (2015b); a leaf blight caused by new species, Microdochium paspali (Zhang et al., 2015a); and W. circinata by Zhang et al. (2014). Marasmiellus mesosporus has been recorded from the Dominican Republic (Miller et al., 2010).

      Rice yellow mottle Sobemovirus has been identified from P. vaginatum in Nigeria (Salaudeen et al., 2008).

      As many as 10 genera of parasitic nematodes have been identified associated with cultivars of P. vaginatum, the most damaging being Belonolaimus longicaudatus and Hoplolaimus galeatus. These, and Helicotylenchus pseudorobustus cause stunted root growth, decreased water and nutrient absorption, and necrotic lesions on aerial shoots. B. longicaudatus and H. galeatus populations were absent when seawater was used for irrigation (Lonard et al., 2015). Helicotylenchus, Mesocriconema and Pratylenchus species are recorded in turf grasses in Barbados (McGroary et al., 2014) and Meloidogyne marylandi in Israel (Oka et al., 2004)

      Lonard et al. (2015) note that P. vaginatum is relatively resistant to many insect but report damage from the aphid Schizaphis graminum in Florida, USA, through feeding and through transmission of plant viruses. It is also relatively susceptible to army worms Spodoptera frugiperda, and to the beetle Euphoria sepulcralis. The Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica is also recorded from Florida (Braman and Raymer, 2006). The beetles Sphenophorus arizonensis and S. venatus are reported from Mexico (León-García et al., 2012; Ordaz-González et al., 2014).

      Means of Movement and Dispersal

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      Natural Dispersal

      This may occur along coastlines by the break-up and transfer of stolon fragments. On a local basis it may spread up to 2 m per year from established patches. Seeds could also be spread by water movement.

      Vector Transmission (Biotic)

      No certain vectors have been identified but seeds and vegetative parts may be spread by animals that feed on it, including turtles, manatees, etc. Seeds may also be spread by wading birds but no instances have been documented.

      Accidental Introduction

      Accidental introduction may occur on a local basis through movement of turf and garden waste. Long-distance accidental introduction is very unlikely.

      Intentional Introduction

      Intentional introduction for turf, forage or other purposes has been the major cause of spread in the past and is likely to continue.

      Pathway Causes

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      CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
      Crop productionVia cultivation equipment Yes
      Disturbance Yes
      Forage Yes Yes
      Garden waste disposal Yes
      Habitat restoration and improvement Yes Yes
      Landscape improvement Yes Yes
      Seed trade Yes Yes

      Pathway Vectors

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      VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
      Floating vegetation and debris Yes Yes
      Land vehicles Yes
      Machinery and equipment Yes
      Water Yes

      Impact Summary

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

      Economic Impact

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      P. vaginatum has most economic impact as a weed of rice in brackish situations. Terry (1981) refers to it as the most serious weed of mangrove rice in Gambia. It has similarly been a major weed of coastal rice in Sierra Leone (Bernard, 1988). In the Philippines, Ar et al. (1982) recorded 15% yield reduction in transplanted rice when P. vaginatum was introduced 3 weeks after transplanting.

      It must also have an economic impact where it invades golf courses, though it is not clear what control methods are used and at what cost.

      Environmental Impact

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      Impact on Habitats

      Williams et al. (2000) list potential effects of P. vaginatum in New Zealand to include modified hydrological and nutrient regimes, and changes in erosion and deposition. ISSG (2016) refers to modification of hydrology/water regulation, purification and quality /soil moisture and general habitat degradation. Graeme and Kendal (2001) comment that P. vaginatum ‘may cause sediment build-up and change open sandy/mud flats into vegetated areas’. Invasion of P. vaginatum is associated with an increase in sediment accumulation and changing hydrology in New Zealand estuaries (Shaw and Allen, 2003; ISSG, 2016).

      Impact on Biodiversity

      P. vaginatum can form dense monospecific groundcover in brackish marshes and estuaries, and affect the abundance of native species. This can lead to changes in invertebrate communities - in the Galapagos it is associated with a move from aquatic to more terrestrial communities (Siemens, 2006), and this in turn can impact on foraging habitat and food resources for waterbirds. In South Africa, concern has been expressed about the invasion of P. vaginatum on the sand and mud-flats of the Wilderness Lakes wetland (a designated Ramsar site), which are considered to be rendered unsuitable for wading birds due to this and other grasses (Graeme and Kendal, 2001). In New Zealand, it is of concern having invaded the nesting areas of the endangered New Zealand fairy tern (Sternula nereis) (Brooks et al., 2011). Williams et al. (2000) list other potential effects of P. vaginatum in New Zealand to include changes in vegetation structure and composition, suppression of native species regeneration, facilitation of other weed invasion, changes in plant and animal biodiversity, and altered animal/bird behaviour. Plant species uncommon or endangered in New Zealand, considered to be at risk of replacement by P. vaginatum, include Eleocharis neozelandica, Mimulus repens and Suadea novae-zelandiae (Graeme and Kendal, 2001). They also comment that P. vaginatum is of particular concern for its competitiveness with native low-growing sea meadow species including Samolus repens, Selliera radicans, and Sarcocornia quinqueflora. These species often inhabit only a thin band of the saltmarsh on estuary margins, and are therefore at risk of being completely out-competed by P. vaginatum. Fish breeding may also be detrimentally affected.

      Threatened Species

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      Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
      Sternula nereis davisaeUSA ESA listing as endangered speciesNew ZealandCompetitionBrooks et al. (2011) Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration

      Social Impact

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      P. vaginatum-dominated swamps are described by Gelfand (1955) as a dangerous source of the mosquito Anopheles gambiae in Mauritius.

      Risk and Impact Factors

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      Invasiveness
      • Invasive in its native range
      • Proved invasive outside its native range
      • Has a broad native range
      • Abundant in its native range
      • Pioneering in disturbed areas
      • Long lived
      • Fast growing
      • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
      • Reproduces asexually
      • Has high genetic variability
      Impact outcomes
      • Altered trophic level
      • Damaged ecosystem services
      • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
      • Host damage
      • Increases vulnerability to invasions
      • Modification of hydrology
      • Modification of nutrient regime
      • Modification of successional patterns
      • Monoculture formation
      • Negatively impacts agriculture
      • Negatively impacts human health
      • Negatively impacts livelihoods
      • Negatively impacts aquaculture/fisheries
      • Reduced native biodiversity
      • Soil accretion
      • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
      • Threat to/ loss of native species
      Impact mechanisms
      • Competition - monopolizing resources
      • Rapid growth
      Likelihood of entry/control
      • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
      • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
      • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
      • Difficult/costly to control

      Uses

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      Economic Value

      P. vaginatum has a wide range of uses, including as a forage, for landscaping and turf, especially for golf courses, and for erosion control (Lansdown et al., 2013). Much of the literature relates to its use as a turf, in USA, Hawaii and elsewhere, including Malaysia. Brosnan and Deputy (2008) provide a useful guide to its propagation and care in Hawaii. As a turf grass it has the great merit of being tolerant of irrigation with sea water. As a forage for livestock, P. vaginatum can provide dry matter at a rate of 4-10 tonnes per hectare per year It has also been widely tested and used for phytoremediation of soils to reduce salinity, sodicity and oil pollution (Lonard et al., 2015).

      Social Benefit

      P. vaginatum provides aesthetic satisfaction as an attractive turf grass in domestic gardens. It is not known to have any significant therapeutic uses.

      Environmental Services

      P. vaginatum provides food for green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) in Hawaii (McDermid et al., 2015) and for hippopotamus in Gabon (Michez et al., 2013). Also for wild geese, ducks, other water birds, manatees, nutria, rabbits etc. (Lonard et al., 2015). In Nigeria, it provides shelter for the breeding of the Palaemonid prawns Macrobrachium macrobrachion, Nematopalaemon hastatus and Palaemon maculatus (Eniade and Bello-Olusoji, 2011). In Brazil, it is used to stabilise sand dunes (Rocha et al., 2002). In New Zealand P. vaginatum is believed to be beneficial for the breeding of inanga fish (Galaxias maculatus).

      Uses List

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      Animal feed, fodder, forage

      • Fodder/animal feed
      • Forage

      Environmental

      • Amenity
      • Boundary, barrier or support
      • Erosion control or dune stabilization
      • Land reclamation
      • Landscape improvement
      • Revegetation
      • Soil conservation

      Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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      P. vaginatum may be confused with the closely related P. distichum but the latter has more turgid spikelets, a prominent middle nerve on the lower lemma, absent in P. vaginatum, the upper glume being minutely hairy and the presence of a distinct if variable lower glume. They also differ in habitat, P. distichum rarely occurring in saline conditions. The latter is also more temperate in its distribution. The loose papery leaf sheaths of P. vaginatum may also be a helpful distinguishing feature (Graeme and Kendal, 2001).

      Many other species of Paspalum can also occur as weeds. One of the most widespread of these is a complex of closely-related taxa which include P. commersonii and P. orbiculare but which are usually known as P. scrobiculatum (qv). This is widespread in Asia and Africa. It is not likely to be confused with P. distichum as it has a tufted habit whether spreading or erect; annual or perennial, but without runners or rhizomes. The inflorescence also differs in having spikelets almost round in outline.

      Prevention and Control

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      Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

      Control

      Physical/mechanical control

      Mechanical control alone is not really an option as it can so readily regenerate from rhizome and stolon fragments. However, cultivation, mowing and fire have all been used in conjunction with herbicide to achieve integrated control (see IPM section).

      Biological control

      There have been no attempts at biological control.

      Chemical control

      P. vaginatum is not readily controlled by herbicides. Dalapon can be relatively ineffective while glyphosate followed by burning or slashing before ploughing and puddling gave effective control before planting rice in Sierra Leone (Bernard, 1988). These treatments gave better weed control between April and June than in March. Parker (1982) reported that fluazifop-butyl and sethoxydim were superior to glyphosate in pot experiments. Brosnan and Breeden (2009), in experiments to destroy a turf-grass variety, had disappointing results from glyphosate and fluazifop-butyl but succeeded with dazomet granules. A combination of MSMA plus triclopyr plus clopyralid ‘suppressed’ P. vaginatum turf grasses but did not kill them (Johnson and Duncan, 2001). Asulam was effective against P. vaginatum but was not selective in Cynodon dactylon turf (Davis et al., 1997). Atrazine, bispyribac-sodium, and trifloxysulfuron proved too damaging for selective control of Poa annua in P. vaginatum turf but probably not damaging enough for full control (McCullough et al., 2012). Seedlings being established for turf were damaged by MSMA, imazaquin, fluazifop, triclopyr, siduron, and ethofumesate (Patton et al., 2009) but again, these may not be fully effective for control.

      For control of other weeds in P. vaginatum turf, clopyralid, halosulfuron, metsulfuron, quinclorac, carfentrazone were found safe on seedlings (Patton et al., 2009). Bentazone, clopyralid, dicamba, halosulfuron, imazaquin, mecoprop+2,4-D+dicamba, metsulfuron, and quinclorac were also reported selective by Unruh et al. (2006). In Hawaii, three-way mixtures of 2,4-D, MCPP, and dicamba are labeled for use on P. vaginatum turf and provide postemergence control of many broadleaf weeds while halosulfuron and sulfosulfuron are registered for control of sedges. Sea water can also be used to control e.g. Digitaria sanguinalis and Mimosa strigillosa (Wiecko, 2003).

      A turf-grass type of P. vaginatum has been developed with resistance to the herbicide glufosinate-ammonium (Kim et al., 2009).

      IPM

      Slashing or burning P. vaginatum followed by paraquat or glyphosate has given good control. Ploughing and puddling the first year followed by glyphosate and puddling the second year also gave effective P. vaginatum control in Sierra Leone (Bernard, 1988).

      References

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      29/04/2016 Original text by:

      Chris Parker, Consultant, UK

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