Invasive Species Compendium

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Danthonia decumbens
(heath grass)

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Datasheet

Danthonia decumbens (heath grass)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 14 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Danthonia decumbens
  • Preferred Common Name
  • heath grass
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Danthonia decumbens is a tufted perennial grass, usually associated with heath and acid grassland. It is native to Europe, temperate areas of northern Africa, the Azores and Madeira Islands, and parts of wester...

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Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Danthonia decumbens (L.) DC

Preferred Common Name

  • heath grass

Other Scientific Names

  • Avena spicata All. ex Kunth
  • Brachatera decumbens (L.) Desv.
  • Bromus decumbens (L.) Koeler
  • Danthonia decipiens Á. Löve & D. Löve, nom. inval.
  • Danthonia glaberrima (Post) Valdés & H. Scholz
  • Festuca decumbens L.
  • Melica decumbens (L.) Weber
  • Melica rigida Wibel, nom. illeg.
  • Poa decumbens (L.) Scop
  • Sieglingia decumbens L.
  • Triodia decumbens (L.) Beauv.
  • Triodia glaberrima Post
  • Triodon decumbens (L.) Baumg., nom. inval.

International Common Names

  • English: common heath grass; common heathgrass; heath-grass
  • French: danthonie (décombante); danthonie retombante

Local Common Names

  • Finland: hina
  • Germany: Brachgras; Dreizahn(-gras)
  • Italy: danthonia minore
  • Netherlands: tandjesgras
  • Sweden: Knägräs
  • USA: heather grass; mountain heath grass

Summary of Invasiveness

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Danthonia decumbens is a tufted perennial grass, usually associated with heath and acid grassland. It is native to Europe, temperate areas of northern Africa, the Azores and Madeira Islands, and parts of western Asia. It was deliberately introduced to Australia as a fodder plant and is now naturalized there. It is also naturalized in New Zealand and parts of North America, with one report from South America (Chile). It is not generally regarded as invasive, but there is a report of invasiveness in Oregon, USA, where it is thought that the spread of D. decumbens (together with other non-native plants) is threatening native plant species that are food sources for the threatened Oregon Silverspot Butterfly (Speyeria zerene hippolyta).

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Classification information for Danthonia decumbens is given by Linder et al. (2010) as: Danthonia decumbens (L.) DC, Fl. Franc. (DC. & Lamarck), ed. 3, 3: 33. 1805.

D. decumbens is sometimes referred to as Sieglingiadecumbens (L.) Bernh. (Edgar and Connor, 2000; Darbyshire, 2003), and it has several synonyms including: Bromus decumbens, Poa decumbens, Festuca decumbens, Melica decumbens and Triodia decumbens (The Plant List, 2013).

Several subspecies, varieties and forms are listed by Missouri Botanical Garden (2015):

Danthonia decumbens

(L.) DC.

1805

Danthonia decumbens fo. breviglumis

Hack.

1877

Danthonia decumbens var. breviglumis

(Hack.) Hack.

1880

Danthonia decumbens subsp. decipiens

O. Schwarz & Bassler

1977

Danthonia decumbens subsp. decumbens

-

-

Danthonia decumbens fo. longiglumis

-

-

Danthonia decumbens var. longiglumis

Hack.

1877

Danthonia decumbens subsp. provincialis

Bonnier & Layens

1894

 

The following list of subspecies, varieties and forms are all considered synonyms by Roskov et al. (2015):

Avena spicata

All. ex Kunth

Brachatera decumbens

(L.) Desv.

Bromus decumbens

(L.) Koeler

Danthonia decipiens

Á. Löve & D. Löve, nom. inval.

Danthonia decumbens var. breviglumis

(Hack.) Willk.

Danthonia decumbens f. breviglumis

Hack.

Danthonia decumbens subsp. decipiens

O. Schwarz & Bässler

Danthonia decumbens f. longiglumis

Hack.

Danthonia decumbens subsp. mauritanica

(Maire) Dobignard

Danthonia glaberrima

(Post) Valdés & H. Scholz

Festuca decumbens

L.

Melica decumbens

(L.) Weber

Melica rigida

Wibel, nom. illeg.

Poa decumbens

(L.) Scop.

Sieglingia decumbens

(L.) Bernh.

Sieglingia decumbens var. breviglumis

(Hack.) Maire

Sieglingia decumbens subsp. decipiens

Tzvelev, nom. inval

Sieglingia decumbens f. gigantea

Buia

Sieglingia decumbens var. longiglumis

(Hack.) Maire

Sieglingia decumbens f. longiglumis

(Hack.) Soó

Sieglingia decumbens subsp. mauritanica

Maire

Triodia decumbens

(L.) P. Beauv.

Triodia decumbens var. breviglumis

(Hack.) Rouy

Triodia decumbens var. longiglumis

(Hack.) Rouy

Triodia glaberrima

Post

Triodon decumbens

(L.) Baumg., nom. inval.

 

Description

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This section has been completed using descriptions given by Darbyshire (2003), Breitweiser et al. (2010), Clayton et al. (2015), Edgar and Connor (2000), and Fitter et al. (1989).

D. decumbens is a perennial grass with a decumbent, caespitose habit (it forms dense flattened tufts). Some sources suggest that it is normally erect rather than decumbent (Darbyshire, 2003).

It has pale dull green flat or involute leaves (5–25 cm long, 2–4 mm wide), with soft hairs or glabrous, tapering to a sharp point.

Stems are up to 70cm long, with a ligule that is a ring of 0.3–0.7 mm hairs, often forming a contra-ligule. Internodes are smooth except for a few prickle teeth on angles beneath the panicle.

The inflorescence is a few-branched panicle or a raceme with up to 15 almost globular/elliptic/oblong alternate spikelets, often purple tinged, with 4–6 flowers, green or purplish. Flowers have 2 lodicules with 3 anthers (0.2–0.5 mm) that are retained within the florets. Chasmogamous florets have anthers of up to 2 mm (Darbyshire, 2003). Ovary 0.5-0.75 mm, glabrous; stigma-styles are 1.5 mm long. The species can reproduce asexually via cleistogamous florets (Clayton et al., 2015), and some sources suggest that it is mostly cleistogamous (Darbyshire, 2003).

Glumes are persistent, equal, lanceolate or ovate, 1–keeled above, 3–5 veined and awnless. Lemma is 5–8 mm, 7–9-veined, elliptic, rounded, glabrous (but with a line of hairs at each margin from base to midway), and awnless.

Spikelets have diminished florets at the apex and break up at maturity, disarticulating below each fertile floret.

The seed is an ellipsoid caryopsis (length 2.1–2.5 mm; width 1.1–1.8 mm) with adherent pericarp. Hilum is linear and is typically a quarter of the length of the caryopsis. Embryo is approx. 0.8 mm. Occasionally with elaiosomes at the base of the palea in both cleistogamous and chasmogamous florets (Chater, 2007)

Scanning electron microscopy has shown that the abaxial leaf epidermis of D. decumbens has bicellular microhairs (with same-length cells), but is free from macrohairs, prickle hairs, intercostal silica bodies, and abaxial stomata (Reimer and Cota-Sánchez, 2007).

Plant Type

Top of page Grass / sedge
Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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D. decumbens is native to Europe, the Azores and the Madeira Islands, north Africa and parts of western Asia. It is naturalized in Australia, New Zealand and North America; in South America it has been reported in Chile.

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

Georgia (Republic of)PresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
TurkeyPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015

Africa

AlgeriaPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
MoroccoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
TunisiaPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015

North America

CanadaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015East and west
-British ColumbiaLocalisedIntroducedDarbyshire, 2003; USDA-NRCS, 2015South coastal area
-Newfoundland and LabradorLocalisedIntroducedDarbyshire, 2003; USDA-NRCS, 2015East coastal areas of Newfoundland
-Nova ScotiaLocalisedIntroducedDarbyshire, 2003; USDA-NRCS, 2015
Saint Pierre and MiquelonPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015
USAPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015West
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-NRCS, 2015
-OregonLocalisedIntroduced Invasive US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2001; Darbyshire, 2003; Roskov et al., 2015; USDA-NRCS, 2015Coastal areas
-WashingtonLocalisedIntroducedDarbyshire, 2003; Roskov et al., 2015; USDA-NRCS, 2015Coastal areas

South America

ChileLocalisedIntroduced2009Rúgolo de Agrasar et al., 2009Near Puerto Montt in southern Chile; thought to be the first record of this grass in South America

Europe

AlbaniaPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
AustriaPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
BelarusPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
BelgiumPresentNativeFitter et al., 1989; USDA-ARS, 2015
BulgariaPresentNativeTashev et al., 2013; Roskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
CroatiaPresentNativeSegulja, 1977; USDA-ARS, 2015
Czech RepublicPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
DenmarkWidespreadNativeFitter et al., 1989; Roskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
EstoniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
FinlandPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
FranceWidespreadNativeFitter et al., 1989; Roskov et al., 2015; Tela Botanica, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-CorsicaPresentRoskov et al., 2015
GermanyPresentNativeFitter et al., 1989; Roskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
GreeceLocalisedBergmeier, 1988Kato Olimbos, NE Thessaly
HungaryPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
IcelandPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
IrelandWidespreadNativeFitter et al., 1989; Byrne, 1997; Roskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
ItalyPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015Including Sardiinia
LatviaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
LithuaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
NetherlandsPresentNativeFitter et al., 1989; Roskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
NorwayPresentNativeFitter et al., 1989; Roskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015Widespread in the south and west near coastal areas
PolandPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
PortugalPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-AzoresPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-MadeiraPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
RomaniaPresentNativeTogor and Burescu, 2013; Roskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
Russian FederationPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015European Russia and western Siberia
-Central RussiaPresentRoskov et al., 2015
-Northern RussiaPresentRoskov et al., 2015
-Southern RussiaPresentRoskov et al., 2015
-Western SiberiaPresentRoskov et al., 2015
SlovakiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
SloveniaPresentNativeAccetto, 2001; Zelnik and Carni, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2015
SpainPresentNativeOnaindia and Amezaga, 2000; Roskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
SwedenPresentNativeFitter et al., 1989; Roskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015Widespread in the south
SwitzerlandPresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
UKPresentNativeThompson, 1986; Fitter et al., 1989; National Museums Northern Ireland, 2010; USDA-ARS, 2015
UkrainePresentNativeRoskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015
-New South WalesPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2015
-TasmaniaLocalisedIntroduced Not invasive Mallett, 2005; Alfonso, 2010; Roskov et al., 2015Introduced from Europe as a fodder grass; rare in Tasmania (West Coast, South West)
-VictoriaLocalisedMallett, 2005; Alfonso, 2010; Roskov et al., 2015Gippsland Plain, Wilsons Promontory
New ZealandPresentIntroduced1883Edgar et al., 1991; Edgar and Connor, 2000; NZPCN, 2015; Roskov et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015Scattered throughout much of North Island; in parts of South Island

History of Introduction and Spread

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D. decumbens has been widely introduced from Europe into temperate regions (Alfonso, 2010), principally in North America, Australia and New Zealand, although it is rarely an aggressive invader (Alfonso, 2010). In Australia at least, its introduction was for use as a fodder grass (Alfonso, 2010; Mallett, 2005).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
New Zealand Europe 1883 Yes Edgar et al. (1991); NZPCN (2015); NZPCN (New Zealand Plant Conservation Network) (2015)
Tasmania Europe   Forage (pathway cause) Yes Alfonso (2010); Mallett (2005) Established but rare
Victoria Europe   Forage (pathway cause) Yes Alfonso (2010); Mallett (2005) Established but rare

Risk of Introduction

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There is no indication that the species is currently deliberately planted as a fodder grass.

Habitat

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In the UK and Northern Europe D. decumbens is found on heaths and acid grassland, especially on sand and peat (Fitter at al., 1989), and also on calcareous grassland (lowland and montane) where the root system can access acidic conditions (Biological Records Centre, 2015). Darbyshire (2003) says that it grows in heath lands, sandy or rocky meadows, clearings and sometimes along roadsides. It prefers low NH4+/NO3 ratios and slightly buffered soil conditions and is considered to be an acid-sensitive species (Berg et al., 2008). It is sometimes found in wetlands (USDA-NRCS, 2015; Biological Records Centre, 2015; Grime et al., 1988), and has been reported in coniferous plantations (Onaindia et al., 2000). It is described as a habitat generalist by Baltzinger et al. (2011).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Principal habitat Natural
Wetlands Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Scrub / shrublands Principal habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The karyotype of D. decumbens is listed as 2n = 24, 36, 124 by Darbyshire (2003), and as 2n = 36 by Gadella and Kliphuis (1971).

Reproductive Biology

D. decumbens has fertile spikelets with florets, and produces ellipsoid caryopses with adherent pericarps (Clayton et al., 2015). Embryo is a third of the length of caryopsis. Hilum is linear and is a quarter the length of caryopsis. The species also reproduces asexually via cleistogamous (self-pollinating) florets (Clayton et al., 2015); other sources suggest that it is mostly cleistogamous (Darbyshire, 2003), with only a small amount of wind pollination (Grime et al., 1988). It can also propagate vegetatively by tillering (Grime et al., 1988).

In northern Europe flowering occurs in June–August (Fitter et al., 1989).

Physiology and Phenology

Danthonia spp. are C3 grasses, which grow best in spring and autumn in Australia when day length is shorter and temperatures are lower (Mallett, 2005). In Australia D. decumbens flowers Nov–Dec (Mallett, 2005). It is perennial.

The cyanogenic glucoside present in D. decumbens has been identified as triglochinin (Tjon, 1977).

In laboratory experiments, D. decumbens seeds showed sensitivity to thermal shock treatment, which had inhibitory or lethal effects on the seeds at medium and high intensities, respectively (Rivas et al., 2006); this might affect the ability of the species to withstand fire

In further laboratory experiments, D. decumbens showed high resistance to aluminium (26 µM {Al3+}50), consistent with its ability to grow in acidic soils (Poozesh et al., 2007).

Longevity

D. decumbens is perennial.

Nutrition

No specific nutrient requirements are noted for this species.

Associations

Some D. decumbens seeds have elaiosomes, although it is not clear how important ants are for seed dispersal in this species (Thomson, 1986; Chater, 2007); it has been referred to in the literature as a myrmecochorous species (Dostál, 2005).

Environmental Requirements

D. decumbens is found in temperate regions. It grows mainly on moderately acid soils but is able to survive on more acidic, or neutral to basic soils (Hill et al., 1999). In the UK, it is mostly found on grassland and heath and prefers moist and damp soils (Hill et al., 1999). It grows well on infertile soils and can tolerate partial shade, but it prefers well-lit places (Hill et al., 1999), and is not tolerant of saline conditions (Hill et al., 1999; Biological Records Centre, 2015). In some areas, its persistence may depend on grazing (Hill et al., 1992).

Ellenberg’s indicator values for D. decumbens, on a 9-point scale indicating characteristics of the plant's ecological niche (such as light, moisture and soil acidity), are provided in Hill et al. (1999).

The figures for air temperature and rainfall tolerances given in those tables are based on where the species grows in the British Isles (Biological Records Centre, 2015); they may be different in other parts of the world.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Tolerated Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
64 35

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 10 16
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) -2 7

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall5333200mm; lower/upper limits

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Blumeria graminis Pathogen not specific
Heterococcus nudus Herbivore not specific
Luzulaspis luzulae Herbivore not specific
Peliococcus balteatus Herbivore not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Scale insects that are noted as being parasitic on D. decumbens include: Heterococcus nudus, Luzulaspis luzulae, and Peliococcus balteatus (Ben-Dov et al., 2015).

The fungus Blumeria graminis has been noted as parasitizing living D. decumbens and Stagonospora subseriata has been found on dead stems of the grass (Storey, 2015).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

D. decumbens disperses via seeds and seems to have a persistent seed bank (Biological Records Centre, 2015). As a perennial grass, it also spreads laterally via tillering (Grime et al., 1988).

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

Seeds of D. decumbens have been found clumped together in areas of vegetation where the plants are not present in the ground cover (Thomson, 1986). Since the seeds are thought to be too big to be eaten by earthworms, possible explanations for this distribution are that they may have a long survival rate in soil, may become concentrated in animal dung, or could be dispersed in whole inflorescences broken off by trampling animals (Thomson, 1986).

Some D. decumbens seeds have elaiosomes, although it is not clear how important ants are for seed dispersal in this species (Thomson, 1986; Chater, 2007); it has been referred to in the literature as a myrmecochorous species (Dostál, 2005).

Accidental Introduction

No definite records of accidental introduction have been identified.

Intentional Introduction

Danthonia decumbens is known to have been introduced to Australia from Europe as a fodder grass (Alfonso, 2010; Mallet, 2005).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
ForageIntroduced to Tasmania and Victoria from Europe as a fodder grass Yes Alfonso, 2010; Mallett, 2005

Economic Impact

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The estimated cost of the recovery plan for the Oregon Silverspot butterfly (Speyeria zerene hippolyta), which is threatened by exotic plant species including D. decumbens, is US$ 13,950,000 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2001), although D. decumbens is presumably only one among many factors contributing to this cost. There appear to be no other recorded adverse economic effects of D. decumbens (although it contains a cyanogenic glucoside (Tjon, 1977), there are no reports of toxicity in livestock).

Environmental Impact

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The Oregon Silverspot butterfly (Speyeria zerene hippolyta, Edwards, 1879) is under threat in its natural range on the west coast of the USA because of changes in habitat (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2001). One of the causes of habitat change is the invasion of exotic plant species, including D. decumbens, which are taking the place of the caterpillar’s food plant (Viola adunca) and plants that the adults use as nectar sources (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2001).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Speyeria zerene hippolyta (Oregon silverspot butterfly)USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened speciesOregonUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2001

Social Impact

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There are no recorded social impact effects of D. decumbens.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant

Uses

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Economic Value

It is possible that D. decumbens has value as a fodder plant for grazing livestock (Hill et al., 1992; Alfonso, 2010). In an assessment of expert opinions on grazing on acid grassland, it was the fourth preferred species (out of 12) for grazing by sheep (Pollock et al., 2007).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Forage

Detection and Inspection

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No methods are described, but D. decumbens is an easily identified species.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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D. decumbens can be distinguished from D. compressa, D. sericea and D. spicata by its lack of awns.

Prevention and Control

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Prevention

No SPS, early warning or rapid response measures are described for D. decumbens. Spread to new areas is by seed dispersal, and seeds may persist (Biological Records Centre, 2015), so any plant material or soil transferred from areas near D. decumbens stands could be checked for seed.

Eradication

No successful eradication techniques are described specifically for D. decumbens.

Containment/Zoning

No containment/zoning techniques are described for D. decumbens.

Control

No control techniques are described specifically for D. decumbens. Removing grazing sheep from an area in Wales, UK, caused a decline in D. decumbens (Hill et al., 1992).

Physical/mechanical control

In a study in Oregon, USA, mowing temporarily reduced the height of exotic grasses including D. decumbens, but did not contribute to eradication and may well have increased grass density (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2001). In the same study, burning also proved ineffective as a means of eradicating the grasses and may also have increased their density.

In laboratory experiments, D. decumbens seeds showed sensitivity to thermal shock treatment, which had inhibitory or lethal effects on the seeds at medium and high intensities, respectively (Rivas et al., 2006).

Chemical control

No chemical control methods are described specifically for D. decumbens. It seems likely that herbicides that work against other grasses could be effective against D. decumbens, but there are few studies on this, and the fact that it is often found on moist and wet soils could limit the range of chemicals that can be used.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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There are currently few identified cases where D. decumbens is considered to be invasive and detrimental to local habitats/environments. Because of this there is little research on successful ways to manage and control the spread on this species. Long-term investigations monitoring the success of management techniques such as clearance, mowing, burning, reducing grazing, etc. are required. It is assumed that herbicides affecting other grasses could be effective against D. decumbens, but there are few studies on this.

No information is available on how and why D. decumbens was introduced to New Zealand, North America and Chile (although it would not be surprising if it was introduced as a fodder grass as in Australia).

References

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Accetto M, 2001. Novelties in the flora of the Kocevsko area and Bela Krajina. (Nova spoznanja o rastlinstvu Kocevske in Bele krajine.) Gozdarski Vestnik, 59(5/6):248-259.

Alfonso Y, 2010. Danthonia decumbens. AusGrass2 [ed. by Simon, B. K. \Alfonso, Y.]. http://ausgrass2.myspecies.info/content/danthonia-decumbens

Baltzinger M; Archaux F; Gosselin M; Chevalier R, 2011. Contribution of forest management artefacts to plant diversity at a forest scale. Annals of Forest Science, 68(2):395-406. http://www.springerlink.com/content/ck4x5223218j3530/fulltext.html

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24/06/15 Original text by:

Vicki Cottrell, consultant, UK

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