Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Paspalum conjugatum
(buffalo grass)

Rojas-Sandoval J, 2018. Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass). Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CABI. DOI:10.1079/ISC.38951.20203483180

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Datasheet

Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 29 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Paspalum conjugatum
  • Preferred Common Name
  • buffalo grass
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Paspalum conjugatum is a vigorous, creeping perennial grass with long stolons and dense culms that may grow up to 1 m tall. It has been extensively introduced as a forage and lawn grass and it can now be found naturalized across tropical...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Nihoku Mokolea Pt Kilauea Pt NWR, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. March 2013.
TitleHabit
CaptionPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Nihoku Mokolea Pt Kilauea Pt NWR, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. March 2013.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Nihoku Mokolea Pt Kilauea Pt NWR, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. March 2013.
HabitPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Nihoku Mokolea Pt Kilauea Pt NWR, Kauai, Hawaii, USA. March 2013.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Kaapahu Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2009.
TitleHabit
CaptionPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Kaapahu Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2009.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Kaapahu Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2009.
HabitPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Kaapahu Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2009.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit, in a lawn situation. Arakoon, New South Wales, Australia. June 2014.
TitleHabit
CaptionPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit, in a lawn situation. Arakoon, New South Wales, Australia. June 2014.
Copyright©Harry Rose (Macleay Grass Man)/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit, in a lawn situation. Arakoon, New South Wales, Australia. June 2014.
HabitPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit, in a lawn situation. Arakoon, New South Wales, Australia. June 2014.©Harry Rose (Macleay Grass Man)/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2007.
TitleHabit
CaptionPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2007.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2007.
HabitPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2007.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2007.
TitleHabit
CaptionPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2007.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2007.
HabitPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); habit. Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2007.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); leaves. Kaapahu Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2009.
TitleLeaves
CaptionPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); leaves. Kaapahu Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2009.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); leaves. Kaapahu Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2009.
LeavesPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); leaves. Kaapahu Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2009.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); leaves. Kipahulu Forest Reserve, Maui, Hawaii, USA. August 2018.
TitleLeaves
CaptionPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); leaves. Kipahulu Forest Reserve, Maui, Hawaii, USA. August 2018.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); leaves. Kipahulu Forest Reserve, Maui, Hawaii, USA. August 2018.
LeavesPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); leaves. Kipahulu Forest Reserve, Maui, Hawaii, USA. August 2018.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); sheath, margins are hairy. Leaves are generally short and broad, with a distinct midrib and two, fainter lateral veins.
TitleSheath
CaptionPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); sheath, margins are hairy. Leaves are generally short and broad, with a distinct midrib and two, fainter lateral veins.
Copyright©Harry Rose (Macleay Grass Man)/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); sheath, margins are hairy. Leaves are generally short and broad, with a distinct midrib and two, fainter lateral veins.
SheathPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); sheath, margins are hairy. Leaves are generally short and broad, with a distinct midrib and two, fainter lateral veins.©Harry Rose (Macleay Grass Man)/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); nodes are hairy; occasionally hairless. Arakoon, New South Wales, Australia. June 2014.
TitleNodes
CaptionPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); nodes are hairy; occasionally hairless. Arakoon, New South Wales, Australia. June 2014.
Copyright©Harry Rose (Macleay Grass Man)/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); nodes are hairy; occasionally hairless. Arakoon, New South Wales, Australia. June 2014.
NodesPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); nodes are hairy; occasionally hairless. Arakoon, New South Wales, Australia. June 2014.©Harry Rose (Macleay Grass Man)/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seedhead. Flowerheads are digitate, with two fine diverging racemes (8-12cm long) that have spikelets arranged in two rows along the branches. North Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia. June 2012.
TitleSeedhead
CaptionPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seedhead. Flowerheads are digitate, with two fine diverging racemes (8-12cm long) that have spikelets arranged in two rows along the branches. North Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia. June 2012.
Copyright©Harry Rose (Macleay Grass Man)/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seedhead. Flowerheads are digitate, with two fine diverging racemes (8-12cm long) that have spikelets arranged in two rows along the branches. North Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia. June 2012.
SeedheadPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seedhead. Flowerheads are digitate, with two fine diverging racemes (8-12cm long) that have spikelets arranged in two rows along the branches. North Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia. June 2012.©Harry Rose (Macleay Grass Man)/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seedhead., section. Spikelets are arranged in two rows, small (1.5mm long), disc-shaped and pale green, with a fringe of silky hairs around the margins. North Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia. June 2012.
TitleSeedhead
CaptionPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seedhead., section. Spikelets are arranged in two rows, small (1.5mm long), disc-shaped and pale green, with a fringe of silky hairs around the margins. North Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia. June 2012.
Copyright©Harry Rose (Macleay Grass Man)/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seedhead., section. Spikelets are arranged in two rows, small (1.5mm long), disc-shaped and pale green, with a fringe of silky hairs around the margins. North Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia. June 2012.
SeedheadPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seedhead., section. Spikelets are arranged in two rows, small (1.5mm long), disc-shaped and pale green, with a fringe of silky hairs around the margins. North Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia. June 2012.©Harry Rose (Macleay Grass Man)/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seeds (ex. Indonesia, Java). Note scale.
TitleSeeds
CaptionPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seeds (ex. Indonesia, Java). Note scale.
CopyrightPublic Domain - Released by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database/original image by Steve Hurst.
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seeds (ex. Indonesia, Java). Note scale.
SeedsPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seeds (ex. Indonesia, Java). Note scale.Public Domain - Released by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database/original image by Steve Hurst.
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seeds adhering to a boot, showing potential for dispersion. Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2009.
TitleInvasive pathway
CaptionPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seeds adhering to a boot, showing potential for dispersion. Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2009.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seeds adhering to a boot, showing potential for dispersion. Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2009.
Invasive pathwayPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); seeds adhering to a boot, showing potential for dispersion. Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2009.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); a) Leaflet; b) flower; c) pod intact; d) persistent suture after joint of pod are shed; e) seed and its cross section.
TitleMorphology
CaptionPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); a) Leaflet; b) flower; c) pod intact; d) persistent suture after joint of pod are shed; e) seed and its cross section.
Copyright©SEAMEO-BIOTROP
Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); a) Leaflet; b) flower; c) pod intact; d) persistent suture after joint of pod are shed; e) seed and its cross section.
MorphologyPaspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass); a) Leaflet; b) flower; c) pod intact; d) persistent suture after joint of pod are shed; e) seed and its cross section.©SEAMEO-BIOTROP

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Paspalum conjugatum P.J. Bergius

Preferred Common Name

  • buffalo grass

Other Scientific Names

  • Digitaria conjugata (P.J.Bergius) Schult.
  • Panicum conjugatum (P.J.Bergius) Roxb.
  • Paspalum africanum Poir.
  • Paspalum ciliatum Lamk.
  • Paspalum hirsutum Poir.
  • Paspalum longissimum Hochst. ex Steud.
  • Paspalum renggeri Steud.
  • Paspalum sieberianum Steud.

International Common Names

  • English: buffalo grass; carabao grass; hilo grass; sour grass; sour paspalum; T grass; yellow grass
  • Spanish: cambute; cañamazo amargo; caraconga; grama; grama de antena; horquetilla; pasta horqueta; pasto amargo; pasto de burro; pata de conejo; torourco; trensilla
  • French: herbe créole; herbe de tauère; herbe sure
  • Chinese: liang er cao

Local Common Names

  • Australia: cow grass
  • Bahamas: two-spiked paspalum
  • Brazil: capim-de-marreca; capim-forquilla; capim-gordo; capim-noxo; grama comum; grama-forquilla; grama-tê
  • Cuba: cañamazo hembra
  • Dominican Republic: cañamazo
  • Fiji: Thurston grass; ti grass; yellow grass
  • Germany: Fransenblättrige; Futterhirse
  • Haiti: z'herbe sure
  • India: banhaptia
  • Indonesia: rumput pait
  • Jamaica: Jamaican sour grass
  • Japan: ogasawara suzume no hie
  • Mexico: pata de conejo trensila
  • Philippines: bantotan; kanat-kanat; kauad-kauaran; kulape; sacate
  • Puerto Rico: horquetilla blanca
  • Suriname: buta grasse
  • Taiwan: mu-yin-chywe-bai
  • Thailand: ya-heb
  • Venezuela: paja mala
  • Vietnam: co san cap

EPPO code

  • PASCO (Paspalum conjugatum)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Paspalum conjugatum is a vigorous, creeping perennial grass with long stolons and dense culms that may grow up to 1 m tall. It has been extensively introduced as a forage and lawn grass and it can now be found naturalized across tropical and subtropical regions. P. conjugatum tolerates high levels of disturbance and pollution, grows vigorously under partial shade, spreads easily by seeds and stolons, and can withstand acidic and low-nutrient soils. Once established, this grass behaves as an aggressive weed in active pastures and agricultural lands, but also in disturbed and undisturbed natural forests and grasslands. It forms a dense ground cover that competes with and inhibits the establishment of other plant species, including other grasses and crops. In the Pacific region, it has been stated that some native forests have become extinct due to this grass pest.

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Paspalum is a large genus with nearly 400 species, primarily distributed across the Americas with species inhabiting ecologically diverse habitats such as savannas, coastal dunes, prairies and tropical and temperate forests (Giussani et al., 2009). Centres of highest diversity have been recognized in the Brazilian Cerrados and in grasslands along Argentina, Uruguay, and southern Brazil (Zuloaga and Morrone 2005; Rua et al., 2010). A few Paspalum species are found in Africa, Asia, and Oceania, but the genus is thought to have originated in tropical South America (Rua et al., 2010). Many Paspalum species have been used as pasture in tropical and subtropical regions and some are economically important turf and ornamental grasses. P. conjugatum is easily recognized by the combination of its stoloniferous growth habit and its distinctive inflorescence, composed of a pair of widely spreading racemes with small, pale, fringed spikelets (Flora of China, 2018).

Description

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The following description is adapted from Flora of China (2018) and Flora of Panama (2018).

Perennial with long stolons. Culms in small tufts along the stolons, compressed, nearly solid, 30–60 cm (sometimes up to 1 m) tall. Leaf sheaths keeled, glabrous or pilose along upper margins and mouth, a line of hairs abaxially at junction with blade; leaf blades lanceolate-linear, thin, 5–20 × 0.5–1 cm, glabrous or papillose-pilose along margins, apex acute. Inflorescence digitate; racemes 2, divaricate, very slender, 6–12 cm; spikelets single, in 2 rows; rachis 0.5–1 mm wide. Spikelets pale yellowish, ovate to suborbicular, 1.5–1.8 mm, abruptly acute; upper glume hyaline, 2-veined with the veins marginal, ciliate along margins with long silky hairs; lower lemma similar but not ciliate; upper lemma pallid at maturity, ovate, as long as spikelet, crustaceous, obscurely striate.

Plant Type

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Grass / sedge
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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Paspalum conjugatum is native to tropical and subtropical America. It occurs naturally from the southern United States and the West Indies to South America (Clayton et al., 2018; USDA-ARS, 2018). It has been introduced in Asia, Africa, Australia and on many islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans (Manidool, 1992; Clayton et al., 2018; GRIIS, 2018; PIER, 2018; USDA-ARS, 2018). 

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

AngolaPresentIntroduced
BeninPresentIntroduced
Burkina FasoPresentIntroduced
BurundiPresentIntroduced
CameroonPresentIntroduced
Central African RepublicPresentIntroduced
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentIntroduced
Congo, Republic of thePresent, WidespreadIntroduced
Côte d'IvoirePresent, WidespreadIntroduced
Equatorial GuineaPresentIntroduced
EthiopiaPresentIntroduced
GabonPresentIntroduced
GhanaPresent, WidespreadIntroduced
GuineaPresent, WidespreadIntroduced
Guinea-BissauPresentIntroduced
LiberiaPresentIntroduced
MadagascarPresentIntroduced
MalawiPresentIntroduced
MauritiusPresentIntroducedInvasive
NigeriaPresent, WidespreadIntroduced
RwandaPresentIntroduced
SeychellesPresentIntroduced
Sierra LeonePresentIntroduced
TanzaniaPresentIntroduced
TogoPresentIntroduced
UgandaPresentIntroduced

Asia

BangladeshPresentIntroduced
BhutanPresent, WidespreadIntroduced
BruneiPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasive
CambodiaPresentIntroduced
ChinaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-FujianPresentIntroducedInvasive
-GuangdongPresentOriginal citation: Wang et al. (1990)
-GuangxiPresentIntroducedInvasive
-HainanPresentIntroducedInvasive
-YunnanPresentIntroducedInvasive
Hong KongPresentIntroducedInvasive
IndiaPresent, WidespreadIntroduced
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroduced
-Andhra PradeshPresent
-AssamPresentIntroduced
-KarnatakaPresentIntroduced
-KeralaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroduced
IndonesiaPresent
-JavaPresentIntroduced
-Lesser Sunda IslandsPresentIntroduced
-Maluku IslandsPresentIntroduced
-SulawesiPresentIntroduced
-SumatraPresentIntroduced
JapanPresentPresent based on regional distribution
-Bonin IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasive
LaosPresentIntroduced
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentIntroduced
-SabahPresent, WidespreadIntroduced
-SarawakPresent, WidespreadIntroduced
MyanmarPresentIntroducedInvasive
NepalPresentIntroduced
PhilippinesPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasive
SingaporePresentIntroducedInvasive
Sri LankaPresent, WidespreadIntroduced
TaiwanPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasive
ThailandPresent, WidespreadIntroduced
VietnamPresentIntroduced

North America

AnguillaPresentNative
Antigua and BarbudaPresentNative
BahamasPresentNative
BarbadosPresentNative
BelizePresentNative
BermudaPresentNative
Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba
-Sint EustatiusPresentNative
Costa RicaPresentNativeOriginal citation: Davidse et al. (1994)
CubaPresent
DominicaPresentNative
Dominican RepublicPresentNative
El SalvadorPresentNativeOriginal citation: Davidse et al. (1994)
GrenadaPresentNative
GuadeloupePresentNative
GuatemalaPresentNativeOriginal citation: Davidse et al. (1994)
HaitiPresentNative
HondurasPresentNativeOriginal citation: Davidse et al. (1994)
JamaicaPresentNative
MartiniquePresentNative
MexicoPresentNativeOriginal citation: Davidse et al. (1994)
MontserratPresentNative
Netherlands AntillesPresentNative
NicaraguaPresentNativeOriginal citation: Davidse et al. (1994)
PanamaPresentNativeOriginal citation: Davidse et al. (1994)
Puerto RicoPresentNative
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentNative
Saint LuciaPresentNative
Saint MartinPresentNative
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNative
Sint MaartenPresentListed as a weed
Trinidad and TobagoPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasive
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentNative
United StatesPresent
-AlabamaPresentNative
-FloridaPresentNative
-HawaiiPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasive
-LouisianaPresentNative
-MississippiPresentNative
-TexasPresentNative
-UtahPresent

Oceania

American SamoaPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasive
AustraliaPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasive
-New South WalesPresentIntroducedInvasive
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedInvasive
Christmas IslandPresentIntroducedInvasive
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasive
Federated States of MicronesiaPresentIntroducedInvasiveKosrae
-ChuukPresentIntroducedInvasive
-PohnpeiPresentIntroducedInvasive
-YapPresentIntroducedInvasive
FijiPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasive
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
GuamPresentIntroducedInvasive
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasive
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedInvasive
New ZealandPresentIntroducedInvasive
NiuePresentIntroducedInvasive
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasive
PalauPresentIntroducedInvasive
Papua New GuineaPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasive
PitcairnPresentIntroducedInvasive
SamoaPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasive
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasive
TongaPresentIntroduced
VanuatuPresentIntroducedInvasive
Wallis and FutunaPresentIntroduced

South America

ArgentinaPresentNative
BoliviaPresentNative
BrazilPresentNative
-AcrePresentNative
-AlagoasPresentNative
-AmapaPresentNative
-AmazonasPresentNative
-BahiaPresentNative
-CearaPresentNative
-Distrito FederalPresentNative
-Espirito SantoPresentNative
-GoiasPresentNative
-MaranhaoPresentNative
-Mato GrossoPresentNative
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNative
-Minas GeraisPresentNative
-ParaPresentNative
-ParaibaPresentNative
-ParanaPresent
-PernambucoPresentNative
-PiauiPresentNative
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNative
-Rio Grande do NortePresentNative
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNative
-RondoniaPresent
-RoraimaPresentNative
-Santa CatarinaPresentNative
-Sao PauloPresentNative
-SergipePresentNative
-TocantinsPresentNative
ColombiaPresent, WidespreadNative
EcuadorPresentNative
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasive
French GuianaPresentNative
GuyanaPresentNative
ParaguayPresentNative
PeruPresent, WidespreadNative
SurinamePresentNative
VenezuelaPresentNative

Habitat

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Paspalum conjugatum grows in open places in forests, forest margins, moist grasslands and shrublands and along riverbanks, at elevations from near sea level to 1700 m (Flora of China, 2018; Useful Tropical Plants, 2019). It can be found naturalized under plantation crops, in pastures, along stream banks and ditches, at roadsides and in disturbed areas (PIER, 2018; Queensland Government, 2018; Useful Tropical Plants, 2019). It also grows in seasonally flooded places, marshes, paddy fields and draining plantations (Rehel, 2011). It often grows gregariously (Manidool, 1992Rehel, 2011; Useful Tropical Plants, 2019). 

Hosts/Species Affected

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Paspalum conjugatum is listed as a serious agricultural weed, especially important in rice, tea, rubber, African oil palm, cocoa, banana and citrus plantations, and in active cultivated pastures and vineyards (Manidool, 1992; Más and García-Molinari, 2006; Queensland Government, 2018). For example, stem diameters of rubber can be reduced 37-54% by competition with P. conjugatum (Pamplona, 1975). Soedarsan et al. (1976) noted marked competitive effects on tea within 2 months of establishment of the weed. Paspalum conjugatum is also an alternative host for crop pests and diseases, including the sugarcane leaf scald Xanthomonas albilineans (Persley, 1973).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContextReferences
Ananas comosus (pineapple)BromeliaceaeMain
    Camellia sinensis (tea)TheaceaeMain
      Citrus spp.Main
        Coffea (coffee)RubiaceaeMain
          Elaeis guineensis (African oil palm)ArecaceaeMain
            Hevea brasiliensis (rubber)EuphorbiaceaeMain
              Musa spp.MusaceaeMain
                Oryza sativa (rice)PoaceaeMain
                  Psidium guajava (guava)MyrtaceaeMain
                    Theobroma cacao (cocoa)MalvaceaeMain

                      Biology and Ecology

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                      Genetics

                      The chromosome number reported for P. conjugatum is 2n = 20, 40, 80 (Honfi et al., 1990; Manidool, 1992; Flora of China, 2018).

                      Reproductive biology

                      There is no information on the reproductive biology of P. conjugatum; however, other closely related Paspalum species have both sexual and apomictic modes of reproduction (Cidade et al., 2013).

                      Physiology and phenology

                      In P. conjugatum, flowering starts 4-5 weeks after seedling emergence and in tropical areas flowering continues all year round (Manidool, 1992). In China, it has been recorded flowering and fruiting from May to September (Flora of China, 2018).

                      Environmental requirements

                      Paspalum conjugatum is adapted to both dry and semi-arid habitats and to wet and humid climates. It can thrive in both shaded and open, sunny conditions. It can also grow in a wide range of soils including acidic, low-nutrient soils, and both wet and drier soils (Pamplona, 1975; Somarriba and Somarriba, 1988Manidool, 1992Más and García-Molinari, 2006; Useful Tropical Plants, 2019). Flowering occurs freely and does not depend on any critical day length (Sauerborn, 1985). Optimum temperature for germination is 25-35°C (Sauerborn and Koch, 1988). Dormancy has not been detected but new seeds need light for germination (Pamplona, 1975). Viability was shown to decline after about 1 year (Sauerborn, 1985). Germination occurs mainly in the top 2.5 cm of the soil (Horng and Leu, 1978).

                      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])
                      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 Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
                      Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

                      Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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

                      Air Temperature

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                      Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
                      Mean annual temperature (ºC) 15 30

                      Rainfall

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                      ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
                      Mean annual rainfall700>2500mm; lower/upper limits

                      Rainfall Regime

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                      Bimodal
                      Summer
                      Uniform
                      Winter

                      Soil Tolerances

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                      Soil drainage

                      • seasonally waterlogged

                      Soil reaction

                      • acid
                      • neutral

                      Soil texture

                      • light
                      • medium

                      Special soil tolerances

                      • infertile

                      Natural enemies

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                      Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
                      Brachycyttarus griseus Herbivore Other/All Stages not specific
                      Cleitodiplosis graminis Herbivore Other/All Stages not specific

                      Notes on Natural Enemies

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                      Natural enemies include the gall-forming fly Cleitodiplosis graminis and the grass bagworm (Brachycyttarus griseus) (Waterhouse, 1994).

                      Means of Movement and Dispersal

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                      Paspalum conjugatum spreads by seeds and by stolons in which new shoots are developed at every rooted node. Seeds are small and probably dispersed by humans and animals on clothing and fur (Manidool, 1992; PIER, 2018). P. conjugatum has been intentionally introduced as a forage and lawn grass (Manidool, 1992; USDA-ARS, 2018).

                      Pathway Causes

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                      CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
                      Animal productionCultivated as forage and cut-and-carry systems Yes Yes Manidool, 1992
                      Crop productionWeed in crop, tree plantations and pastures Yes Yes Queensland Government, 2018
                      DisturbanceWeed in disturbed sites, roadsides, ruderal areas, etc Yes Yes PIER, 2018
                      Escape from confinement or garden escapeEscaped from cultivation/pastures/lawns Yes Yes Queensland Government, 2018
                      ForageCultivated as forage and cut-and-carry systems Yes Yes Manidool, 1992
                      Garden waste disposalSeeds and stem fragments in garden waste dumps Yes Yes Manidool, 1992
                      Habitat restoration and improvementPlanted for erosion control in plantations Yes Yes Manik et al., 2002
                      Intentional releaseCultivated as forage and cut-and-carry systems and lawn grass Yes Yes Manidool, 1992
                      Medicinal useUsed as medicinal herb Yes Yes Manidool, 1992
                      Ornamental purposesPlanted as lawn grass Yes Yes Manidool, 1992

                      Pathway Vectors

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                      VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
                      Clothing, footwear and possessionsSeeds Yes Yes PIER, 2018
                      Debris and waste associated with human activitiesSeeds and stem fragments from gardens, pastures and agricultural lands Yes Yes Manidool, 1992
                      LivestockSeeds adhered to animal fur Yes Yes Manidool, 1992
                      Host and vector organismsSeeds adhered to animal fur Yes Yes PIER, 2018

                      Economic Impact

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                      Paspalum conjugatum is an aggressive weed in plantation crops, orchards, vineyards, paddy fields and active cultivated pastures across tropical and subtropical regions. It grows vigorously under partial shade and may compete seriously with tree crops (PIER, 2018; Manidool, 1992Queensland Government, 2018).

                      Environmental Impact

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                      In Australia, P. conjugatum is listed as a serious weed of cultivated lands, orchards, vineyards, irrigation channels, parks, lawns, roadsides, disturbed sites, waste areas and pastures. It also invades natural vegetation such as rainforest gaps and margins, watercourses and riparian areas (Queensland Government, 2018).

                      In Hawaii and other islands in the Pacific region, P. conjugatum is an invasive grass that rapidly colonizes and dominates wet habitats and forms a dense ground cover even on acidic, low-nutrient soils. It has been stated that some native forests on this region have become extinct due to this grass pest (PIER, 2018).

                      Threatened Species

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                      Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
                      Peucedanum sandwicense (makou)NatureServe; USA ESA listing as threatened speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011a
                      Phyllostegia glabra var. lanaiensis (ulihi phyllostegia)USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995
                      Phyllostegia knudsenii (Waimea phyllostegia)NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009b
                      Phyllostegia wawrana (fuzzystem phyllostegia)NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009a
                      Pittosporum napaulenseNo DetailsHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - smotheringUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009a
                      Platydesma rostrataCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - smotheringUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009a
                      Pritchardia viscosa (stickybud pritchardia)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - stranglingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1998
                      Psychotria hobdyi (Hobdy's wild-coffee)USA ESA listing as endangered species; USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - stranglingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010
                      Schiedea hookeri (sprawling schiedea)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011b
                      Schiedea kauaiensis (Kauai schiedea)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008a
                      Schiedea nuttalliiCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - smotheringUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009d
                      Pteris lidgatei (Lidgate's brake)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009c
                      Viola helenae (Wahiawa stream violet)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified); Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008b

                      Risk and Impact Factors

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                      Invasiveness
                      • Proved invasive outside its native range
                      • Has a broad native range
                      • Abundant in its native range
                      • Highly adaptable to different environments
                      • Is a habitat generalist
                      • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
                      • Pioneering in disturbed areas
                      • Tolerant of shade
                      • Highly mobile locally
                      • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
                      • Long lived
                      • Fast growing
                      • Has high reproductive potential
                      • Gregarious
                      • Reproduces asexually
                      Impact outcomes
                      • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
                      • Monoculture formation
                      • Negatively impacts agriculture
                      • Reduced native biodiversity
                      • Threat to/ loss of native species
                      • Damages animal/plant products
                      Impact mechanisms
                      • Competition - monopolizing resources
                      • Competition - smothering
                      • Competition - strangling
                      • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
                      • Rapid growth
                      • Rooting
                      Likelihood of entry/control
                      • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
                      • 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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                      Paspalum conjugatum is used as forage or in cut-and-carry systems (Beetle, 1974). It is occasionally used as a lawn grass. The Iban of Borneo use leaf decoctions in the treatment of wounds and sores, and in the Sepik area of Papua New Guinea crushed spikelets are used for the same purpose (Rehel, 2011; Manidool, 1992). In the Philippines, P. conjugatum and Cynodon dactylon are used as organic bio-fertilizer in lettuce plantations (Janssen and Abug, 2017). In Indonesia, P. conjugatum and other natural weeds have been used as cover crops under coffee trees to control soil erosion (Manik et al., 2002).

                      Uses List

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                      Animal feed, fodder, forage

                      • Fodder/animal feed
                      • Forage

                      Environmental

                      • Amenity
                      • Erosion control or dune stabilization

                      Medicinal, pharmaceutical

                      • Traditional/folklore

                      Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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                      A number of other Paspalum species have somewhat similar inflorescence, but these rarely have the same spreading habit and confusion is unlikely.

                      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.

                      Paspalum conjugatum is suppressed by nitrogen application in pastures (Caille, 1994) but is not suppressed by slashing or sheep grazing (Ahmad-Faiz, 1992). In sufficiently humid situations, legume cover crops are the main means of control in rubber, oil palm, etc. Some legumes may have an allelopathic effect on the weed as well as shading it (Sahid et al., 1993). Increasing soil temperature by solarization has given good suppression for up to 3 months (Ragone and Wilson, 1988).

                      Chemical Control

                      Herbicides such as MSMA, DSMA, dicamba, bromacil, paraquat, metsulfuron, glyphosate and amitrole have been used to control P. conjugatum when growing as a weed in crops and pastures (Donado and Fullerton, 1974; Wuan et al., 1982; Pamplona, 1975Sandbrink et al., 1993; Purea, 1985; Lee, 1984;.Chung and Chang, 1990; Teng and Teh, 1990).

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                      Top of page

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                      GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

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                      24/07/2018 Updated by:

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

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