Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

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Axonopus fissifolius

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Datasheet

Axonopus fissifolius

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 30 April 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Axonopus fissifolius
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • A. fissifolius is regarded as a useful pasture or turf grass on less fertile soils, and as such has been very widely introduced across Asia and the Pacific, but has proved unduly aggressive in many regions, com...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); invasive habit. Kahakapao Reservoir Haleakala Ranch, Maui.  March 17, 2009
TitleInvasive habit
CaptionAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); invasive habit. Kahakapao Reservoir Haleakala Ranch, Maui. March 17, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); invasive habit. Kahakapao Reservoir Haleakala Ranch, Maui.  March 17, 2009
Invasive habitAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); invasive habit. Kahakapao Reservoir Haleakala Ranch, Maui. March 17, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); invasive habit. White Lightning LZ East Maui, Maui.  November 20, 2009
TitleInvasive habit
CaptionAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); invasive habit. White Lightning LZ East Maui, Maui. November 20, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); invasive habit. White Lightning LZ East Maui, Maui.  November 20, 2009
Invasive habitAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); invasive habit. White Lightning LZ East Maui, Maui. November 20, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit and inflorescences. Kahakapao Reservoir LZ Haleakala Ranch, Maui. March 17, 2009
TitleHabit
CaptionAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit and inflorescences. Kahakapao Reservoir LZ Haleakala Ranch, Maui. March 17, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit and inflorescences. Kahakapao Reservoir LZ Haleakala Ranch, Maui. March 17, 2009
HabitAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit and inflorescences. Kahakapao Reservoir LZ Haleakala Ranch, Maui. March 17, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); runners at White Lightning LZ East Maui, Maui.  November 20, 2009
TitleRunners
CaptionAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); runners at White Lightning LZ East Maui, Maui. November 20, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); runners at White Lightning LZ East Maui, Maui.  November 20, 2009
RunnersAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); runners at White Lightning LZ East Maui, Maui. November 20, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit in road crack at Science City, Maui.  June 28, 2009
TitleTenacious habit
CaptionAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit in road crack at Science City, Maui. June 28, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit in road crack at Science City, Maui.  June 28, 2009
Tenacious habitAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit in road crack at Science City, Maui. June 28, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit at Kipahulu Valley Haleakala National Park, Maui.  February 04, 2009
TitlePlant detail
CaptionAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit at Kipahulu Valley Haleakala National Park, Maui. February 04, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit at Kipahulu Valley Haleakala National Park, Maui.  February 04, 2009
Plant detailAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit at Kipahulu Valley Haleakala National Park, Maui. February 04, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); Leaves at West Maui, Maui.  February 18, 2009
TitleLeaves
CaptionAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); Leaves at West Maui, Maui. February 18, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); Leaves at West Maui, Maui.  February 18, 2009
LeavesAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); Leaves at West Maui, Maui. February 18, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); flowering/seedhead at MISC LZ Piiholo, Maui.  January 21, 2009
TitleFlowering/seedhead
CaptionAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); flowering/seedhead at MISC LZ Piiholo, Maui. January 21, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); flowering/seedhead at MISC LZ Piiholo, Maui.  January 21, 2009
Flowering/seedheadAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); flowering/seedhead at MISC LZ Piiholo, Maui. January 21, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit and inflorescences. Kahakapao Reservoir LZ Haleakala Ranch, Maui.  March 17, 2009
TitleHabit and inflorescences
CaptionAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit and inflorescences. Kahakapao Reservoir LZ Haleakala Ranch, Maui. March 17, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Axonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit and inflorescences. Kahakapao Reservoir LZ Haleakala Ranch, Maui.  March 17, 2009
Habit and inflorescencesAxonopus fissifolius (common carpetgrass); habit and inflorescences. Kahakapao Reservoir LZ Haleakala Ranch, Maui. March 17, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Axonopus fissifolius (Raddi) Kuhlm.

Other Scientific Names

  • Axonopus affinis Chase
  • Axonopus ater Chase
  • Axonopus compressus var. affinis (Chase) M.R.Hend.
  • Axonopus fissifolius (Raddi) Chase
  • Axonopus flexilis (Mez) Henrard
  • Axonopus hirsutus G.A.Black
  • Axonopus purpusii (Mez) Chase
  • Axonopus stragulus Chase
  • Paspalum filifolium Kunth
  • Paspalum fissifolium Raddi
  • Paspalum flexile Mez
  • Paspalum xizangense B.S.Sun & H.Sun

International Common Names

  • English: common carpetgrass

Local Common Names

  • Australia: durrington grass; mat grass; narrowleaf carpet grass; narrow-leaved carpet grass
  • Brazil: caratao grass; grama são-carlos; grama-missioneira; pancuã
  • China: lei di tan cao
  • Germany: Teppichrasengras
  • Mexico: zacate amargo
  • Spain: gramalote
  • USA: Louisiana grass

Summary of Invasiveness

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A. fissifolius is regarded as a useful pasture or turf grass on less fertile soils, and as such has been very widely introduced across Asia and the Pacific, but has proved unduly aggressive in many regions, competing with more desirable pasture species and threatening native flora, especially in Australia, Hawaii and other Pacific islands. It scored a high 16 in a risk assessment for Hawaii, based on the Australian system (PIER, 2012). Holm et al. (1979) classify A. fissifolius as a 'principal' weed in Brazil and Malaysia.

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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This species has been widely known until recently as Axonopus affinis, but Axonopus fissifolius is now the preferred name, reflecting its original naming as Paspalum fissifolium.

PIER (2012) refers to the possibility of hybridization with A. compressus and in some areas plants with intermediate characters are noted, as in South Africa (Chippindall, 1955). However, no confirmation of such hybridization has been seen.

Description

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A. fissifolius is a perennial grass, initially tufted, with short rhizomes, but once established, spreads by above-ground runners, rooting at the nodes. Internodes flattened in section, glabrous. Nodes glabrous or slightly bearded. Leaf sheath compressed, usually glabrous; ligule a truncate fringed membrane 0.5 mm long. Leaves 5-20 cm long, 3-6 (-8) mm wide, folded in bud, then flat, obtuse or bluntly acute at the tip, with some marginal hairs on young leaves, otherwise glabrous. Inflorescence borne apically on a flattened culm up to 10-50 cm high, bearing 2-4 leaves. Nodes on culm glabrous. Inflorescence comprises 2-4 (-5) racemes slightly divergent, each 4-5 (-11) cm long, on a short common axis. Spikelets 1-5-2 mm long, 1 mm broad, borne alternately on a flattened rachis on pedicels <0.2 mm long. Glumes and sterile lemma sparsely pubescent on margins. Second glume and first (sterile) lemma equal, 2- to 4-nerved. Apex sub-acute. Fertile lemma yellow-brown. Caryopsis pale brown, somewhat flattened 1.4-1.8 mm long.

Plant Type

Top of page Biennial
Grass / sedge
Herbaceous
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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A. fissifolius occurs as a native in South and Central America from Argentina north to Mexico and the Caribbean. It is often assumed to be native also in southern USA but Watson and Burson (1985) state that it was introduced into the USA during the early colonial period. It has been further, very widely introduced across Asia and the Pacific and, to a lesser degree, to Europe and Africa.

Distribution Table

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

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

BhutanPresentIntroduced Not invasive GBIF, 2012
ChinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-Hong KongPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012
-TibetPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
IndiaPresentIntroducedBor, 1960
-AssamPresentIntroducedDutta et al., 2002
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
JapanPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
MyanmarPresentIntroducedBor, 1960
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
SingaporePresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
TaiwanPresentIntroduced Invasive Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2012

Africa

CameroonPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
LiberiaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
MalawiPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
MauritiusPresentIntroducedPIER, 2012
MozambiquePresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
Sierra LeonePresentIntroducedHutchinson et al., 1972
South AfricaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
SwazilandPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012

North America

MexicoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2012
-ArkansasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-CaliforniaLocalisedIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-FloridaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-HawaiiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012; USDA-NRCS, 2012Hawaii, Kaua’I, Lana’I, Maui and Moloka’I Islands
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-MississippiPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-North CarolinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-OklahomaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-South CarolinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-VirginiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012

Central America and Caribbean

BelizePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
Costa RicaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
CubaPresentNativeGiraldo-Cañas, 2008
Dominican RepublicPresentNativeGBIF, 2012
El SalvadorPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
GrenadaPresentNative Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2012
GuatemalaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
HondurasPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
NicaraguaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
PanamaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
Puerto RicoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNativeGBIF, 2012

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
BoliviaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
BrazilPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
-AlagoasPresentNativeGBIF, 2012
-AmazonasPresentNativeInstituto Agronómico Campinas, 2012
-BahiaPresentNativeGBIF, 2012
-GoiasPresentNativeGBIF, 2012
-MaranhaoPresentMissouri Botanical Garden, 2013
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeGBIF, 2012
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeGBIF, 2012
-ParaPresentNativeInstituto Agronómico Campinas, 2012
-ParanaPresentNativeGBIF, 2012
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeGBIF, 2012
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNative Not invasive Quadros et al., 2003
-RoraimaPresentMissouri Botanical Garden, 2013
-Santa CatarinaPresentNativeGBIF, 2012
-Sao PauloPresentNativeInstituto Agronómico Campinas, 2012
ColombiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
EcuadorPresentNativeGBIF, 2012
French GuianaPresentGBIF, 2012
GuyanaPresent, few occurrencesNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
ParaguayPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
SurinamePresentNativeGBIF, 2012
UruguayPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
VenezuelaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012

Europe

PortugalPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AzoresPresentIntroduced1972Hansen, 1972
-Portugal (mainland)PresentIntroduced2007Giraldo-Cañas, 2008
SpainLocalisedIntroduced2008Bartoli et al., 2007

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012Manu’a and Tutuila Islands
AustraliaPresentIntroduced1905GBIF, 2012
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroducedAtlas of Living Australia, 2012
-New South WalesPresentIntroducedPlantNET, 2012
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedPlantNET, 2012
-South AustraliaPresentIntroducedAtlas of Living Australia, 2012
-VictoriaPresentIntroducedAtlas of Living Australia, 2012
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedFlorabase, 2012
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012Raratonga Island
FijiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive GBIF, 2012Ovalau, Taveuni, Vanua Levu and Viti Levu Islands
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive GBIF, 2012Fatu Hiva, Nuku Hiva,Raiatea and Tahiti Islands
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive GBIF, 2012Ile Grande Terre
New ZealandPresentIntroduced Invasive GBIF, 2012Including Raoul Island
NiueReported present or known to be presentIntroduced Invasive GBIF, 2012; PIER, 2012
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive GBIF, 2012
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012
SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive GBIF, 2012; PIER, 2012Savai’I and Upolu Islands
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2012
TongaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2012; PIER, 2012
VanuatuPresentIntroducedPIER, 2012
Wallis and Futuna IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2012

History of Introduction and Spread

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In the USA it was first recorded in Louisiana and by 1985 had spread to Texas in the west and Virginia in the north (Watson and Burson, 1985). Spread to California as indicated by USDA-NRCS (2012) has presumably occurred since 1985. No data are readily available on exactly when or how this species has been introduced to other regions but there are first records for Australia in 1905, Bhutan in 1987, the Azores in 1972, Portugal in 2007 and Spain in 2008 (GBIF, 2012).

Although it is presumed that most introductions were deliberate, these are not well documented – nor whether they were for turf or pasture purposes. There are no doubt cases also of accidental introduction as a result of contamination of seed-lots, hay or other plant material but, again, these are not documented.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Australia Before 1905 Yes No Henskens (1997) First record for Australia, as a pasture seed contaminant, but already established
Azores Before 1972 Yes No Hansen (1972)
Bhutan Before 1987 Yes No Noltie (2000)
Portugal Before 2008 Yes No Giraldo-Cañas (2008)
Spain Before 2007 Yes No Bartoli et al. (2007)

Risk of Introduction

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Risk of introduction to further countries is high, given the popularity of this species as a pasture or turf grass and ready availability from plant suppliers.

Habitat

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A. fissifolius is a plant of the humid tropics and sub-tropics, occurring naturally in moist, low-lying situations on light soils or peaty bogs of low fertility, non-saline, neutral or acidic. It is mostly present in natural grasslands but also in the understory of sparse forest. It is only moderately shade-tolerant and does not occur in deep shade.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Freshwater
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Secondary/tolerated habitat
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Industrial / intensive livestock production systems Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Natural grasslands Principal habitat Natural
Riverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Wetlands Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Wetlands Principal habitat Natural
Scrub / shrublands Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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A. fissifolius rarely occurs in annual crops but occurs widely as a relatively undesirable species in pastures composed of more productive species.

Growth Stages

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

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Tolerated > 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 Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
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 Tolerated 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)
40 40

Air Temperature

Top of page
Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -10
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 8 30
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 35
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) -5

Rainfall

Top of page
ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration0number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall7504000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Summer
Uniform

Soil Tolerances

Top of page

Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral
  • very acid

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • shallow

Natural enemies

Top of page
Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Axonopus chlorotic streak virus Pathogen
Balansia strangulans Pathogen
Cerebella andropogonis Pathogen
Cochliobolus lunatus Pathogen
Cochliobolus ravenelii Pathogen
Colletotrichum axonopodi Pathogen
Gibberella zeae Pathogen
Herpetogramma licarsisalis Herbivore
Khuskia oryzae Pathogen
Meloidogyne Parasite
Phomatospora dinemasporium Pathogen
Pratylenchus pratensis Parasite
Radopholus similis Parasite
Tetraneura nigriabdominalis Herbivore Roots
Tetraplosphaeria tetraploa Pathogen
Thanatephorus cucumeris Pathogen
Xanthomonas axonopodis Pathogen

Notes on Natural Enemies

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The following fungi have been reported on A. fissifolius: Cerebella andropogonis, Balansia strangulans, Curvularia lunata [Cochliobolus lunatus], Dinemasporium graminum var. strigosulum [Phomatospora dinemasporium], Fusarium graminearum [Gibberella zea], Helminthosporium ravenelii [Cochliobolus ravenelii], Nigrospora sphaerica [Khuskia oryzae], Tetraploa aristata [Tetraplosphaeria tetraploa], Thanatephorus cucumeris. It is also parasitized by Striga asiatica (lutea). Nematodes isolated from carpetgrass include: Meloidogyne sp., Pratylenchus pratensis, and Radopholus similis. (Purdue University, 2012). Colletotrichum axonopodi and Xanthomonas axoponodis are also recorded. Colonies of Tetraneura nigriabdominalis infesting roots of A.fissifolius were observed when the host grew on moist, aerated, loose soil, in Sri Lanka (Wijerathna and Wederisinghe, 1995). It can also be affected by the lepidopteran Herpetogramma licarsisalis, and by Axonopus chlorotic streak virus in Papua New Guinea (CSIRO, 2012). There is however, no record of serious damage from natural enemies.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

Natural dispersal is achieved mainly by wind and water movement, especially flood irrigation (Henskens, 1997).

Vector Transmission

Seeds are readily dispersed by cattle and sheep, whether externally, or after having been ingested. Survival of seeds after ingestion is higher for A. fissifolius than for many other pasture species (Jones et al., 1991; Gardener et al.,1993).

Accidental Introduction

Accidental introduction could occur as a result of the contamination of seed lots of other pasture grasses, or in hay, on farm vehicles etc.

Intentional Introduction

Deliberate introduction continues to be a significant risk as it is widely used as a turf or pasture grass and readily available from many sources.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Animal production Yes Yes
Crop production Yes Yes
Digestion and excretion Yes
Forage Yes Yes
Internet sales Yes
Live food or feed trade Yes Yes
Seed trade Yes Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Aircraft Yes
Livestock Yes
Mail Yes
Water Yes
Wind Yes

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
True seeds (inc. grain) seeds Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye

Impact Summary

Top of page
CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive
Economic/livelihood Positive
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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The main economic impact from A. fissifolius is as a weed in grasslands and pastures where other more productive species are preferred. It can be a serious weed problem when sown species do not grow vigorously in the establishment year, in low fertility situations, or if a dense pasture cover is not maintained (Roe and Williams, 1993). Although it has been grown as a pasture in Australia, there are many reports of it as a problem in improved pastures, e.g. where it has invaded Pennisetum clandestinum pastures in rainforest areas in Queensland (Anderson  et al.,1983). It is most troublesome in low fertility situations and less so as nitrogen levels are raised, but Henskens (1997) notes that in Australia it may invade irrigated clover-rich pastures as well as less fertile situations. In addition to its use in pastures it is also sold commercially as a turfgrass.

Environmental Impact

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A. fissifolius is identified among a range of species which, between them, threaten a number of endangered native species in Hawaii, including Pteralyxia kauaiensis, Remya kauaiensis, Sanicula purpurea, Poa mannii and Phyllostegia hispida (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a,b,c; 2011a,b).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Phyllostegia hispida (hispid phyllostegia)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - shading; Competition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011a
Poa mannii (Mann's bluegrass)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shadingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a
Pteralyxia kauaiensis (Kauai pteralyxia)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - shading; Competition - stranglingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b; US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995
Remya kauaiensis (Kauai remya)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - shading; Competition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010c
Sanicula purpurea (purpleflower blacksnakeroot)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - shading; Competition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011c
Drosophila digressaUSA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiEcosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2013
Melicope christopherseniiEN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2013
Melicope hiiakaeNatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2013
Melicope makahaeEN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2013
Phyllostegia mannii (Mann's phyllostegia)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011b
Phyllostegia renovans (red-leaf phyllostegia)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - shadingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010d
Platydesma rostrataCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - smotheringUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010d
Pritchardia hardyi (Makaleha pritchardia)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - stranglingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010e
Pritchardia viscosa (stickybud pritchardia)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - stranglingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010e; US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1998
Psychotria grandiflora (large-flowered balsamo)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - stranglingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010d
Stenogyne purpurea (purplefruit stenogyne)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - stranglingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010e
Tetraplasandra flynniiNational list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - stranglingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - smothering
  • Competition - strangling
  • Competition
  • 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

Uses

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A. fissifolius is used widely as both a turfgrass and for grazing. Its low maintenance attributes make it a desirable turfgrass species for use in the southeastern USA (Wang et al., 2010). As a pasture grass, it has been utilized widely in its native areas in South America, Mexico and the USA. Productivity varies from 150-6000 kg/ha depending on soil conditions, somewhat less than Cynodon, Paspalum and Digitaria pasture species for example. Protein content is only about 7% and in sub-tropical areas digestibility and palatability decline as the plant flowers and matures after a relatively short growing season. Though never regarded as a high quality forage, it is of value on soils of low fertility (Campbell et al., 1996; CSIRO, 2012). Many aspects of the use of A. fissifolius as a forage are reviewed in detail by Henskens (1997).

Thanks to its tolerance of soil acidity, A. fissifolius has proved useful for the revegetation of highly acidic (pH 3.2) abandoned coal mine dumps (Lin et al., 1998). It is also used in erosion control (Markle et al., 1998).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage

Environmental

  • Amenity
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Revegetation

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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A. fissifolius is sometimes confused with A. compressus, but the latter has longer spikelets, 2-2.7 mm long, wider leaves, (6-) 8-10 mm, and culm nodes bearded (glabrous in A. fissifolius). Noltie (2000) also notes that margins of leaves are long-ciliate in A. compressus, not in A. fissifolius; the apex of the glume in A. compressus is acute, not overtopped by hairs; and the lowest raceme bears spikelets to the base in A. compressus, not in A. fissifolius.

In South America, this species could be distinguished from A. scoparius by the presence of unicellular macrohairs in the leaf blade upper epidermis of A. scoparius and the absence of these structures in A. fissifolius (Silva and Alquini, 2003).

Prevention and Control

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Cultural Control and Sanitary Measures

The competitiveness of A. fissifolius decreases as nitrogen levels are raised (CSIRO, 2012). It is also reduced by liming (Michalk and Huang, 1994). Livestock that may have eaten A. fissifolius should not be allowed onto uninfested land for a week.

Cattle and sheep were found more efficient than glyphosate for control of A. fissifolius in Eucalyptus plantations in Brazil. Sheep were preferable, causing less damage to the trees than cattle (Varella and Saibro, 1999).

Biological Control

No attempts at biological control have been seen.

Chemical Control

A. fissifolius is sensitive to glyphosate, dalapon, fluazifop and haloxyfop (Henskens, 1997); asulam was considered to be the most suitable herbicide for altering the balance between it and Paspalum dilatatum in Australia (Martin, 1983) whereas dalapon has helped to improve the clover content of mixed swards. A mixture of MSMA and dalapon has provided effective control in Sri Lanka (Yogaratnam, 1971). Sethoxydim and mefluidide have been used to suppress flowering in turf in USA (Fry and Wells, 1990). It is relatively resistant to fluroxypyr, halosulfuron, sulfentrazone and oxadiazon (Christofoletti and Aranda, 2001).

IPM

Herbicides combined with re-sowing, particularly with legumes, and/or fertilizer application are recommended by Henskens (1997).

References

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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.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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03/12/12 Original text by:

Chris Parker, Consultant, UK

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