Genotypic diversity of kikuyugrass (Pennisetum clandestinum) populations in California.
Using starch gel electrophoresis, the genetic variability of kikuyugrass collected from three golf course sites (Palo Alto, Nipomo and Riverside) within its geographical range in California was examined. These experiments were conducted to determine the method of spread of kikuyu grass in areas where it is considered invasive. Samples from roughs and fairways of each of these locations were compared. Of the 354 plants examined, 12 genotypes were identified by isoenzyme analysis, and only three of the nine putative loci varied among the genotypes. Two genotypes, representing 73% of the plants examined, were found at all three geographic locations. The results imply that under common golf course conditions, kikuyugrass is maintained by clonal reproduction. It is concluded that low genetic variation does not preclude a plant species from being an aggressive invader.