Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Paspalum densum
(dense crowngrass)

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Datasheet

Paspalum densum (dense crowngrass)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Paspalum densum
  • Preferred Common Name
  • dense crowngrass
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • P. densum is a fast-growing grass species naturally distributed across Central and South America and the West Indies (Bru...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Paspalum densum (dense crowngrass); seeds.
TitleSeeds
CaptionPaspalum densum (dense crowngrass); seeds.
CopyrightPublic Domain - Released by Jose Hernandez, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Paspalum densum (dense crowngrass); seeds.
SeedsPaspalum densum (dense crowngrass); seeds.Public Domain - Released by Jose Hernandez, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Paspalum densum (dense crowngrass); seeds.
TitleSeeds
CaptionPaspalum densum (dense crowngrass); seeds.
CopyrightPublic Domain - Released by Jose Hernandez, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Paspalum densum (dense crowngrass); seeds.
SeedsPaspalum densum (dense crowngrass); seeds.Public Domain - Released by Jose Hernandez, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Paspalum densum Poir.

Preferred Common Name

  • dense crowngrass

Other Scientific Names

  • Paspalum densum var. ciliatum Döll
  • Paspalum paniceum Sm.

International Common Names

  • Spanish: caguazo; cortadera

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: capim-de-boi
  • Cuba: cortadera
  • Venezuela: caguazo

Summary of Invasiveness

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P. densum is a fast-growing grass species naturally distributed across Central and South America and the West Indies (Brummitt, 2013). Within its native distribution range, P. densum is described as a weed of roadsides, disturbed moist places, moist savannas, low open grounds, marshes, swamps and drainage ditches (Hitchcock, 1971; Quattrocchi, 2006). It is listed as invasive only in Cuba (Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012) and as a noxious weed in the region of Bahia in Brazil (Mori et al., 1980).

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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With about 330 species, Paspalum is one of the richest genera within the family Poaceae (Zuloaga and Morrone, 2005; Stevens, 2012). This genus is primarily distributed across the Americas with species inhabiting ecologically diverse habitats such as savannas, coastal dunes, tropical and temperate forests, and prairies (Giussani et al., 2009). Centres of highest diversity have been recognized in the Brazilian Cerrados and grasslands in 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 (Chase, 1929; Rua et al., 2010).

Description

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P. densum is a perennial grass; culms 0.8-2 m high, robust, thick and succulent at the base, compressed, the nodes glabrous to densely appressed-hirsute; sheaths much longer than the internodes, keeled, broad and loose, glabrous or hirsute on the collar, the margins sometimes ciliate toward the summit, the lower ones equitant, purplish, spongy, reticulate in drying; ligule 1.5-3 mm long; blades 50-100 cm long, 1-2 cm wide, firm, folded at the base, long-acuminate, glabrous with a few hairs just above the ligule, the margins sharply serrate; panicles 12-40 cm long, rather narrow, tapering, dense, composed of 50-100 crowded, finally spreading racemes, the lower ones 5-9 cm long with conspicuous tufts of hairs in the axils; rachis 1.2-1.5 mm wide, sharply serrate, the margins papillose-ciliate with rather stiff hairs 2-5 mm long; spikelets 1.9-2.2 mm long, paired, on slender scabrous pedicels, suborbicular or obovate, sometimes tinged with purple; glume and sterile lemma equal, thin, glabrous; fruit covered or slightly exposed, 1.8 mm long, pale, minutely striate (Flora of Panama, 2016).

Distribution

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P. densum occurs in Mexico, Nicaragua, the West Indies and tropical South America (Acevedo-Rodriquez and Strong, 2012; Brummitt, 2013; Clayton et al., 2016).

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

North America

MexicoPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016

Central America and Caribbean

CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012; Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
Dominican RepublicPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
GuadeloupePresentNativeBroome et al., 2007
HaitiPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
JamaicaPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
NicaraguaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
Puerto RicoPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNativeBroome et al., 2007
Sint MaartenPresentNativeBroome et al., 2007
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
United States Virgin IslandsPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012St Thomas

South America

BoliviaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
BrazilPresentNativeOliveira and Valls, 2015
-BahiaPresentNativeMori et al., 1980; Oliveira and Valls, 2015
-CearaPresentNativeOliveira and Valls, 2015
-Distrito FederalPresentNativeOliveira and Valls, 2015
-Espirito SantoPresentNativeOliveira and Valls, 2015
-MaranhaoPresentNativeOliveira and Valls, 2015
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeOliveira and Valls, 2015
-ParaPresentNativeOliveira and Valls, 2015
-ParanaPresentNativeOliveira and Valls, 2015
-PernambucoPresentNativeOliveira and Valls, 2015
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeOliveira and Valls, 2015
-RondoniaPresentNativeOliveira and Valls, 2015
-Sao PauloPresentNativeOliveira and Valls, 2015
-TocantinsPresentNativeOliveira and Valls, 2015
ColombiaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
French GuianaPresentNativeFunk et al., 2007
GuyanaPresentNativeFunk et al., 2007
SurinamePresentNativeFunk et al., 2007
VenezuelaPresentNativeFunk et al., 2007

History of Introduction and Spread

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P. densum is reported as introduced only in Cuba. However, the origin of P. densum on this island is uncertain. While some authors have listed this species as native (Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012; Clayton et al., 2016), others consider it to be alien to Cuba (Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012).

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of introduction of P. densum is uncertain. There are no productive uses described for this species and therefore it is not commercialized/promoted for agricultural or horticultural purposes. In the case of Cuba, if P. densum reached this island through the activities of man, then it was either accidentally or intentionally introduced, but such information is lacking.

Habitat

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P. densum is a weed of roadsides, moist disturbed places, moist savannas, low open grounds, marshes, swamps and drainage ditches (Chase, 1929; Hitchcock, 1971; Quattrocchi, 2006). In Brazil it grows in Amazonian and Mata Atlântica forests and in Cerrado grasslands (Oliveira and Valls, 2015). In Bolivia it grows in rainforest, semi-deciduous forests and dry forest grasslands (Bolivia Catalogue, 2016).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Wetlands Present, no further details Natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for P. densum is 2n=20 (Caponio and Quarin, 1993).

Reproductive Biology

P. densum is a sexual diploid grass species. Controlled hand-pollination experiments showed that seed-set under self-pollination ranged from 0 to 2.2% suggesting that P. densum is highly self-incompatible with limited potential for asexual reproduction (Caponio and Quarin, 1993).

Physiology and Phenology

P. densum is a C4 grass with high photosynthetic rates. In Nicaragua, P. densum has been recorded flowering and fruiting in July (Flora of Nicaragua, 2016).

Longevity

P. densum is a fast-growing perennial grass (Clayton et al., 2016).

Associations

P. densum is a host of the tropical rust Puccinia substriata, a pathogen infecting pearl millet (Yun, 2016), and a host to sugar cane borers within the genus Diatraea (Myers, 1932).

Environmental Requirements

P. densum prefers to grow in wet and humid habitats. In Bolivia it grows at elevations ranging from sea level to 500 m (Bolivia Catalogue, 2016). As with other tropical Paspalum species, it cannot tolerate freezing conditions (Quattrocchi, 2006).

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])

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
23 15

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 20 34

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall8002500mm; lower/upper limits

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Puccinia substriata var. substriata Pathogen Other/All Stages not specific

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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P. densum spreads by seeds. Water movement, wind and animals could disperse seeds (Chase, 1929; Hitchcock, 1971; Quattrocchi, 2006).

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Environmental Impact

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At the present, P. densum is listed as invasive only in Cuba where it is considered a habitat transformer species (Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012). In Brazil it is listed as a noxious weed growing in cultivated lands (Mori et al., 1980).

There are no particular impacts on habitats or biodiversity associated with this grass species. Myers (1932) found that P. densum is a host to sugar cane borers within the genus Diatraea in a moist part of tropical America.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • 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
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Gregarious
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field

Uses

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There are no known productive uses reported for P. densum. Caponio and Quarin (1993) suggested that although it is not of forage value, it is closely related enough to Paspalum urvillei to be regarded as a secondary gene source for genetic improvement.

References

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

Bolivia Catalogue, 2016. Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Bolivia. Tropicos website. http://tropicos.org/Project/BC

Broome R, Sabir K, Carrington S, 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

Brummitt N, 2013. Paspalum densum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T44393305A44453309 http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-2.RLTS.T44393305A44453309.en

Caponio I, Quarin CL, 1993. Cytology and reproduction of Paspalum densum and its genomic relationship with P. intermedium and P. urvillei., Journal of Heredity, 84(3):220-222

Chase A, 1929. The North American species of Paspalum., Contributions from the United States National Herbarium:46-52

Clayton WD, Govaerts R, Harman KT, Williamson H, Vorontsova M, 2016. World Checklist of Poaceae. http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/

Flora of Nicaragua, 2016. Flora of Nicaragua, Tropicos website. http://tropicos.org/Project/FN

Flora of Panama, 2016. Flora of Panama (WFO), Tropicos website. http://www.tropicos.org/Project/FOPWFO

Funk, V., Hollowell, T., Berry, P., Kelloff, C., Alexander, S. N., 2007. Checklist of the plants of the Guiana Shield (Venezuela: Amazonas, Bolivar, Delta Amacuro; Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana)., Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, 55:584 pp.

Giussani, L. M., Zuloaga, F. O., Quarín, C. L., Cota-Sánchez, J. H., Ubayasena, K., Morrone, O., 2009. Phylogenetic relationships in the genus Paspalum (Poaceae: Panicoideae: Paniceae): an assessment of the Quadrifaria and Virgata informal groups., Systematic Botany, 34(1):32-43

Hitchcock AS, 1971. Manual of the grasses of the West Indies (Vol. 2). Miscellaneous Publication No. 243. Washington DC, USA: United States Department of Agriculture.

Mori, S. A., Silva, L. A. M., Lisboa, G., Pereira, R. C., Santos, T. S. dos, 1980. Studies of weedy plants of southern Bahia 1. Productivity and phenology., Boletim Tecnico, Centro de Pesquisas do Cacau:18 pp.

Myers, J. G. , 1932. The original Habitat and Hosts of three major Sugar-cane Pests of Tropical America (Diatraea, Castnia and Tomaspis)., Bulletin of Entomological Research, 23(pt. 2):257-271

Oliveira RC, Valls JFM, 2015. Paspalum in Lista de Espécies da Flora do Brasil. http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/jabot/floradobrasil/FB13455

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.

Quattrocchi U, 2006. CRC world dictionary of grasses: common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Boca Raton, Florida, USA: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis. 2384 pp..

Rua, G. H., Speranza, P. R., Vaio, M., Arakaki, M., 2010. A phylogenetic analysis of the genus Paspalum (Poaceae) based on cpDNA and morphology., Plant Systematics and Evolution, 288(3/4):227-243 http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=104878

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

Yun HY, 2016. Invasive Fungi. Eggplant-pearl millet rust - Puccinia substriata. http://nt.ars-grin.gov/taxadescriptions/factsheets/index.cfm?thisapp=Pucciniasubstriatasubstriata

Zuloaga, F. O., Morrone, O., 2005. Revision of Paspalum species from southern South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Southern Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay)., In: Revisión de las especies de Paspalum para América del Sur austral (Argentina, Bolivia, Sur del Brasil, Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay). Missouri Botanical Garden Press. vii + 297 pp..

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
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.

Contributors

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06/10/16 Original text by:

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

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