Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Eragrostis plana
(South African lovegrass)

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Datasheet

Eragrostis plana (South African lovegrass)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 03 January 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Eragrostis plana
  • Preferred Common Name
  • South African lovegrass
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Eragrostis plana is a perennial grass native to southern African savannas. It is invasive in grassland ecosystems in southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. In Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, where it was accidental...

  • Principal Source
  • Draft datasheet under review

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Eragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit.
TitleHabit
CaptionEragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit.
Copyright©Silvia Renate Ziller/The Horus Institute, Brazil
Eragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit.
HabitEragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit.©Silvia Renate Ziller/The Horus Institute, Brazil
Eragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit.
TitleHabit
CaptionEragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit.
Copyright©Silvia Renate Ziller/The Horus Institute, Brazil
Eragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit.
HabitEragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit.©Silvia Renate Ziller/The Horus Institute, Brazil
Eragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit.
TitleHabit
CaptionEragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit.
Copyright©Silvia Renate Ziller/The Horus Institute, Brazil
Eragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit.
HabitEragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit.©Silvia Renate Ziller/The Horus Institute, Brazil
Eragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit, flowering head.
TitleFlower spike
CaptionEragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit, flowering head.
Copyright©Silvia Renate Ziller/The Horus Institute, Brazil
Eragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit, flowering head.
Flower spikeEragrostis plana (South African lovegrass); habit, flowering head.©Silvia Renate Ziller/The Horus Institute, Brazil

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Eragrostis plana Nees

Preferred Common Name

  • South African lovegrass

Other Scientific Names

  • Diplachne hackeliana Thell.

International Common Names

  • English: African love grass
  • French: éragrostide; éragrostis

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: capim annoni 2; capim-annoni-2
  • South Africa: fan love grass
  • Uruguay: capin annoni
  • Zimbabwe: tough love grass

Summary of Invasiveness

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Eragrostis plana is a perennial grass native to southern African savannas. It is invasive in grassland ecosystems in southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. In Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, where it was accidentally introduced as a seed contaminant in the 1950s, it was then planted across the area as a forage alternative, but has since outcompeted native species in pastures. The species is currently established on more than two million hectares of grasslands in southern Brazil. There, it flowers every three weeks in the warm months, tolerates frost and resprouts if mowed or grazed. E. plana thrives over compacted soil, being common on roadsides and parking lots, as well as in grazing areas. It is allelopathic and outcompetes native grasses for resources. Seeds remain viable in the soil more than 24 years. It has proven a poor forage species and its invasion has resulted in economic losses to cattle ranchers.

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Eragrostis is a large and taxonomically complex genus, comprising more than 350 species, present mainly in tropical and subtropical regions (PROTA, 2015). E. plana has two varieties, E. plana var. hackeliana, accepted as a synonym of the species, and E. plana var. probstii (The Plant List, 2013). In Brazil, E. plana was initially wrongly identified as E. abyssinica, a synonym of E. tef (Kissmann, 1997). A related species, also considered invasive, is E. curvula (Nakayama et al., 2007), often used for ornamental purposes.

Description

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Densely caespitose perennial without rhizomes or stolons; culms up to 90 (100) cm tall, strongly compressed below, erect, unbranched, glabrous at the nodes, eglandular; basal leaf sheaths glabrous, chartaceous, strongly compressed, keeled and usually flabellate, eglandular, persistent; ligule a line of hairs; leaf laminas 10-80 cm x 1.5-4 mm, linear, flat or folded, glabrous, eglandular or with punctate glands along the midnerve. Panicle 10-35 cm long, narrowly oblong to narrowly ovate, the branches ascending or spreading, the spikelets appressed to the branchlets on pedicels 1.5-2 mm long, the primary branches not in whorls (but sometimes loosely clustered), terminating in a fertile spikelet, glabrous or thinly pilose in the axils, eglandular. Spikelets 6-13.5 x 0.5-2 mm, linear to narrowly oblong, laterally compressed, 9-13-flowered, the lemmas disarticulating from below upwards, the rhachilla persistent; glumes unequal, keeled, oblong-lanceolate in profile, scaberulous on the keel, acute at the apex, the inferior 0.5-0.8 mm long, reaching to about 1/3 the way along the adjacent lemma, the superior 0.9-1.5 mm long, shorter than the adjacent rhachilla internode or just exceeding the base of the adjacent lemma; lemmas 1.8-2.5 mm long, keeled, semi-ovate in profile (with straight or rarely concave keel and gibbous margins), membranous with prominent lateral nerves, appressed to the rhachilla, those in opposite rows not overlapping, the rhachilla visible between them, olive-green, glabrous but with punctate glands on the nerves, subacute at the apex; palea persistent, glabrous on the flanks, the keels slender, wingless and glabrous to scaberulous or slightly thickened with punctate glands; 3 anthers, (0.9)1.6-2 mm long. Caryopsis (0.8)0.9-1.2 mm long, oblong to elliptic (Cope, 1999).

Plant Type

Top of page Grass / sedge
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated

Distribution

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E. plana is native to southern Africa, from Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa (Cope, 1999), Lesotho and Swaziland (PROTA, 2015). The species has been introduced to Brazil, where it is present as a ruderal species in several states and is highly invasive in Rio Grande do Sul, southern Brazil. It is also invasive in Uruguay and Argentina (Comité Nacional de Especies Exóticas Invasoras, 2010). The species has also been introduced to India (PROTA, 2015), Belgium, France (DAISIE, 2015) and South Carolina, USA (USDA-NRCS, 2015).

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

IndiaPresentIntroduced Not invasive PROTA, 2015

Africa

LesothoPresentNative Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2012; PROTA, 2015
MalawiPresentNative Not invasive Cope, 1999; USDA-ARS, 2012
MozambiquePresentNative Not invasive Cope, 1999; USDA-ARS, 2012
South AfricaPresentNative Not invasive Cope, 1999; Oudtshoorn, 2002; USDA-ARS, 2012
SwazilandPresentNative Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2012; PROTA, 2015
ZambiaPresentNative Not invasive Cope, 1999; USDA-ARS, 2012
ZimbabwePresentNative Not invasive Cope, 1999; USDA-ARS, 2012

North America

USAPresentIntroducedBased on regional distribution
-South CarolinaPresentIntroducedDunn and Jones, 1981; USDA-NRCS, 2015

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Medeiros and Focht, 2007
BrazilPresentIntroducedBased on regional distribution
-BahiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Zenni and Ziller, 2011
-Mato GrossoPresentIntroduced Invasive Zenni and Ziller, 2011
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentIntroduced Invasive Zenni and Ziller, 2011
-ParaPresentIntroduced Invasive Zenni and Ziller, 2011
-ParanaPresentIntroduced Invasive Kissmann, 1997; Zenni and Ziller, 2011Behaves mainly as a ruderal species, along roadsides and compacted soils
-Rio Grande do SulWidespreadIntroduced1950s Invasive Reis, 1993; Kissmann, 1997; Medeiros et al., 2004; Medeiros and Focht, 2007; Zenni and Ziller, 2011Established on more than two million hectares of mostly degraded or overgrazed steppes
-Santa CatarinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Kissmann, 1997; Zenni and Ziller, 2011Behaves mainly as a ruderal species, along roadsides and compacted soils
-Sao PauloPresentIntroduced Invasive Zenni and Ziller, 2011
-TocantinsPresentIntroduced Invasive Zenni and Ziller, 2011
UruguayWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Pereira Machín, 2008; Comité Nacional de Especies Exóticas Invasoras, 2010Heavier invasions along the border with Brazil. Spreads along roadsides

Europe

BelgiumPresentIntroduced Not invasive DAISIE, 2015Not established
FrancePresentIntroduced Not invasive DAISIE, 2015Not established

History of Introduction and Spread

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E. plana was introduced to southern Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul) in the 1950s, as a contaminant of the forage grasses Andropogon gayanus and E. curvula (Nascimento, 1976). E. curvula and A. gayanus seeds imported by Proagro to Brazil in 1958 were contaminated with E. plana seeds. Part of this seed lot was acquired by the Rio Grande do Sul Secretary of Agriculture and distributed to experimental stations in Montenegro, Tupanciretã, Uruguaiana and Carazinho, the latter belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture, from where the species started to spread (Reis, 2008). It was first grown at the Tupanciretã Zootechnical Experimental Station, and later the farmer Ernesto José Annoni, upon finding the species in his property, grew and disseminated it as a promising forage grass (Nascimento, 1976; Reis, 1993). The species was grown as an economic alternative to Aristida species, which dominated native grasslands at the time and which were not appreciated as forage grasses. Seeds were later distributed and commercialized, reaching other states such as Santa Catarina and Paraná (Kissmann, 1997). In 1979, its commerce and transport was prohibited by the Brazil Ministry of Agriculture, as its invasive potential was recognized, but no efficient control measures were set in place to contain its spread or control the existing populations. E. plana is now estimated to occupy two million hectares of native grasslands in Rio Grande do Sul (Medeiros et al., 2004).

E. plana invaded the Uruguayan grasslands from the border with Brazil, associated with the transit of vehicles and agricultural machinery. It was initially detected at the Cerro Largo Department in the 1980s. By 2000, several foci of invasion were observed in Uruguay and, in 2001, a campaign to raise awareness about this problem was launched by the Agronomy College among farmers and technical agents (Comité Nacional de Especies Exóticas Invasoras, 2010).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Brazil 1958 Hitchhiker (pathway cause) ,
Seed trade (pathway cause)
Yes No Nascimento (1976); Reis (2008)
Uruguay Brazil 1980s Hitchhiker (pathway cause) Yes No Reis (1993); Comité Nacional de Especies Exóticas Invasoras (2010)

Risk of Introduction

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Further introductions and spread are likely to occur through different pathways, such as cattle movement (seeds remain viable in animals digestive tract), roads (species is well adapted to compacted soil) and farm vehicles and machinery (Kissmann, 1997).

In southern Brazil, where it is highly invasive, there are no consistent measures to prevent further spread or intercept active pathways or dispersal vectors, so the species will probably thrive as long as there is suitable habitat to invade. A risk analysis performed in this country rated the species as ‘high risk’ (Instituto Hórus, 2015). 

Habitat

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In its native range, E. plana occurs in dambo, floodplain and montane grassland, sandy soils, shallow laterite pans and disturbed areas, such as abandoned cultivation fields, roadsides and nutrient rich sites. It is present from 390 to 2000 m of altitude (Cope, 1999). Populations grow denser in managed areas (Focht, 2008) and its common occurrence in pastures is considered an indicator of overgrazing or too much burning (Oudtshoorn, 2002).

In South Africa, the species is limited to the easternmost part of the country, where it is well adapted to acidic soils. In southern Brazil and Uruguay, E. plana occurs along disturbed and compacted ground at roadsides and in natural grasslands, being especially dominant in somewhat disturbed grazing areas (I3N Brasil, 2015).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedManaged grasslands (grazing systems) Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Principal habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number of E. plana is n = 10. This species is common in degraded areas and thus not liable to genetic erosion (PROTA, 2015).

Reproductive Biology

E. plana is a perennial grass that reproduces by seed. Seeds are abundant, one adult plant producing up to 500,000 seeds, which remain viable for many years. Seeds remain unaltered after passing through livestock digestive tracts, making grazing animals important dispersal vectors. Seeds remain dormant during the summer; low winter temperatures break their dormancy and they germinate in spring (Reis, 1993).  

In Brazil, seed germination after two years was 4.5% on soil surface and 40.3% when buried 20 cm deep. According to experimental models, 0.1% of seeds on the soil surface are viable after five years, while 0.01% of seeds buried at 20 cm are still viable after 24 years (Medeiros and Focht, 2007). Average seed productivity has been estimated at 232 kg/ha, equivalent to 1,142,857,056 seeds/ha (Coelho, 1983).

The species is an r-strategist, as it produces large quantities of seeds, has a short juvenile period and colonizes disturbed areas. However, it also shows k-strategist traits, such as high longevity, more than one reproductive cycle per year and high competitivity (Focht, 2008).

Physiology and Phenology

E. plana is a C-4 grass. In its native range, it flowers from September to May (PROTA, 2015), while in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, it flowers between September and March (Kissmann, 1997). If exposed to grazing or trampling, flowering restarts after 17-22 days.

Environmental Requirements

Roots are deep, so the species is very tolerant to dry periods (Kissmann, 1997).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred 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)
390 2000

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 20.2
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 32.8
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 9.1

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Winter

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded

Soil reaction

  • acid

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • other
  • shallow

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

Seeds can be carried by wind or water (Reis, 1993).

Accidental Introduction

E. plana was introduced as a seed contaminant to forage grasses in southern Brazil, although later intentionally dispersed as a potential forage grass. Seeds adhere to tyres and are propagated by vehicles and machinery from contaminated areas. The species is eaten and propagated by livestock in grazing areas, as seeds remain viable in animals digestive tract.

Intentional Introduction

E. plana was cultivated and dispersed as a forage species in Brazil. Commerce/trade of forage seeds also occurs.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Animal productionDisseminated through livestock commerce Yes Yes Reis, 1993; Medeiros et al., 2004
Digestion and excretionSeeds keep viable in cattle digestive tract, being dispersed as animals are moved. Also in horses, lambs and birds Yes Yes Reis, 1993; Medeiros et al., 2004
DisturbanceEspecially along roads and trails, on compacted soils Yes Yes Reis, 1993
ForageUsed to be cultivated as a forage species in southern Brazil Yes Yes Reis, 1993; Kissmann, 1997; Medeiros et al., 2004
HitchhikerSeeds moved in cattle, dogs fur and paws and adhered to vehicles and machinery Yes Yes Reis, 1993
People sharing resourcesBefore it was recognized as an invasive species in Brazil Yes Reis, 1993; Kissmann, 1997
ResearchBefore it was recognized as an invasive species in Brazil Yes Reis, 1993; Kissmann, 1997
Seed tradeBefore it was recognized as an invasive species in Brazil Yes Reis, 1993; Kissmann, 1997

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Plants or parts of plantsTransported with seeds from other plants Yes Yes
Machinery and equipmentAdheres to vehicles and machinery in farms Yes Reis, 1993
LivestockSeeds keep viable in cattle digestive tract and are dispersed as livestock is sold or transported Yes Yes Reis, 1993
Land vehiclesCommon on roadsides and trails, adheres to vehicles Yes Yes Reis, 1993
WaterDisperses via streams, rivers, flooding, irrigation Yes Yes Reis, 1993
WindSeeds carried by wind Yes Yes Reis, 1993

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

Economic Impact

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E. plana is undesirable in areas of more noble forage species, as it degrades and undermines natural pastures. Sustainable management of natural grasslands degraded by E. plana becomes more difficult to achieve, which negatively impacts cattle production (Medeiros et al., 2004). In Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, a study from 2006 compared the productivity and tax generation between E. plana-invaded and non-invaded natural grasslands, showing economic losses of 30 million dollars per year due to this species invasion (I3N Brasil, 2015).

Birth rate of cattle feeding on E. plana decreases and the animals do not gain as much weight as when feeding on other grasses. The species is deficient in terms of quality and palatability, also failing to offer nutritional support to adult lambs (Medeiros and Focht, 2007). Teeth of livestock permanently grazing on this grass are severely worn, as the grass is very hard (Reis, 1993).

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Biodiversity

E. plana eliminates indigenous vegetation, as it quickly spreads and becomes dominant in new grassland areas, producing large quantities of seed (Reis, 1993; Medeiros et al., 2004; Medeiros and Focht, 2007). It has allelopahic effects upon other plant species, preventing germination of seeds of native species such as Paspalum regnelli. Being highly competitive, the species modifies the structure and diversity of indigenous plant communities (Medeiros and Focht, 2007). Its root mass was found to be 66% higher than that of indigenous species in the superficial 30 cm of soil, and especially higher in the 0-10 cm soil layer, indicating this grass to be a more efficient resource user than native species (Medeiros and Focht, 2007). Over time, it becomes dominant and turns the plant community into a monoculture (Reis and Coelho, 2000). The fact that livestock animals reject this grass creates a selective advantage over native species, which are more intensely consumed.

The state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, is especially susceptible to E. plana invasion, as each site invaded by one single plant will potentially become dominated by this species in few years (Medeiros and Focht, 2007). In this state, the grass has invaded over two million hectares of natural grasslands (Medeiros et al., 2004), including protected areas such as Ibirapuitã Environmental Protection Area, Ibirapuitã Biological Reserve, Mato Grande Biological Reserve, Saint Hillaire Municipal Natural Park and Morro do Osso Municipal Natural Park (I3N Brasil, 2015). Indigenous grasslands in Rio Grande do Sul are highly diverse in plant species, so it is difficult to pinpoint which species are directly affected when E. plana is dominant and displaces other plant species.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Economic Value

E. plana was tested as a forage grass in southern Brazil in the 1950s, but later banned for any usage, as its forage value is low and it is not very palatable to cattle, only having had negative economic impacts in the area (Medeiros et al., 2004). However, and although usually considered a poor forage grass, it is used late in the season in arid parts of South Africa, possibly because its leaves remain green until late in autumn.

Social Benefit

In Lesotho, the species is woven into hats, baskets, necklaces and bangles, and made into ropes and plaited items used in funerals. In South Africa, the root is used to treat menorrhagia and impotence (PROTA, 2015).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Forage

General

  • Sociocultural value

Human food and beverage

  • Emergency (famine) food

Materials

  • Baskets
  • Fibre
  • Miscellaneous materials

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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E. plana is sometimes confused with Sporobolus africanus and S. pyramidalis. Both these grasses have strong leaves, many small spikelets with single florets (observable under a magnifying glass) and the leaf sheaths are not prominently flattened (Oudtshoorn, 2002).

Prevention and Control

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Prevention

SPS measures

E. plana's commerce, import, export and transport was prohibited by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture in 1979 (Portaria Ministério da Agricultura no 205, 13/03/1979). The species is also prohibited for ownership or voluntary transport for any purpose in official invasive species lists in Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná and Santa Catarina states in Brazil (Instituto Hórus, 2015). In Uruguay, it was prohibited and recognized as a national weed by Decree nº68 of the Ministry of Cattle Production, Agriculture and Fisheries in 2008.

Early warning systems

In Uruguay, farmers and the general public are requested by the Ministry of Cattle Production, Agriculture and Fisheries to inform national agencies of E. plana presence in their farms or along roads, for control to be carried out (Comité Nacional de Especies Exóticas Invasoras, 2010).

Rapid response

In Uruguay, the Ministry of Cattle Production, Agriculture and Fisheries expects farmers to eradicate initial invasion foci of E. plana on their properties. The agencies in charge of road maintenance are responsible for clearing invasions along pathways when informed by the public (Comité Nacional de Especies Exóticas Invasoras, 2010).

Public awareness

Due to the high invasiveness of the species in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, awareness campaigns have been carried out by official agricultural agencies, mostly to alert farmers and promote E. plana control. In Uruguay, a national campaign involving farmers, agricultural cooperatives, technical extension agencies and related agencies has been launched to develop, validate and disseminate control strategies for E. plana. This awareness campaign promoted lectures, produced videos, posters, folders, articles, and radio, TV and web interviews. In December 2005, the Working Group in charge of the campaign formed a volunteer network composed by technical staff, farmers and rural teachers from different places in the country to fight this invasive species. Municipalities have played an important role in this campaign through their wild fauna and flora departments.

Control

Cultural control and sanitary measures

Natural grassland areas submitted to different disturbance regimes proved that when natural vegetation higher than 10 cm is associated with rotational grazing or livestock exclusion, grasslands resist to E. plana seed germination, even when seeds are sown over the area. Well conserved grasslands can therefore resist invasion, as long as the plant community is dense and vigorous, limiting nutrient availability for the establishment of the invasive species. Rotational grazing is the best method to be used, as it limits forage selectivity by livestock (Medeiros et al., 2006). Successive cultivation of annual forage species, oat (Avena sp.) in winter and pearl millet (Pennisetum americanum [Pennisetum glaucum]) and soy (Glycine max) in summer, for four years, greatly reduced the presence of E. plana (Medeiros et al., 2006).

Physical/mechanical control

E. plana is not tolerant of shade, so it can be excluded by shading in non-grassland ecosystems or along roadsides (Medeiros et al., 2006).

Movement control

Control or eradication of E. plana along pathways of spread, such as corridors between rural properties and rural and major roads, together with restoration of indigenous vegetation, especially herbs and shrubs, act as barriers against E. plana invasion (Medeiros et al., 2006). In Uruguay, the Ministry of Cattle Production, Agriculture and Fisheries has been controlling E. plana along Route 26, in order to cut off the species main dispersal pathway. Emphasis has also been given to the departments along the border with Brazil, to try and stop further species incursions from that country (Comité Nacional de Especies Exóticas Invasoras, 2010).

Disinfection in areas of cattle fairs and the implementation of regulations for the transportation of animals should avoid seed dissemination through livestock (Medeiros et al., 2006).

Biological control

No studies on biological control for this species are available, but Coelho (1993) recommends exploring this approach due to the difficulty of controlling the species chemically or mechanically.

Chemical control

Herbicides kill E. plana living plants, but its seed bank is very persistent (Coelho, 1993).

Ecosystem Restoration

Most of the research work carried out in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, where the species is highly invasive, refers to areas invaded by E. plana being populated by other forage species (Guterres, 1993), agricultural crops (Oliveira, 1993) or forest plantations (Ferreira and Filippi, 2010). Efforts have been more focused on promoting sustainable grassland management to avoid the degradation of natural areas that have been found to be more resistant to E. plana invasion (Medeiros et al., 2004).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Research on potential biological control for this species is highly desirable, as another form of control is unlikely to work, especially in Brazil's highly invaded southern grasslands.

References

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Coelho RW, 1983. South African love grass, an invasive species to be controlled: available information. (Capim annoni 2, uma invasora a ser controlada: informações disponíveis). In: Jornada Técnica de Bovinocultura de Corte, 2. Porto Alegre, Brazil: EMATER-RS, EMBRAPA-UEPAE Bagé/IPZFO. 51-70.

Coelho RW, 1993. Problem diagnostics and research retrospective on South African love grass (Eragrostis plana Nees) at EMBRAPA Research Centers CNPO and CPATB, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. (Diagnóstico do problema e retrospectiva da pesquisa realizada com capim annoni 2 no CNPO e CPATB). In: Reunião Regional de Avaliação de Pesquisa com annoni 2, Documentos 7, 1991 . Bagé, Brazil: EMBRAPA CPPSUL. 52-66.

Comité Nacional de Especies Exóticas Invasoras, 2010. Guidelines for national invasive alien species management. (Lineamientos para la gestión nacional de especies exóticas invasoras). Montevideo, Uruguay: UNESCO.103-109.

Cope, T., 1999. Flora Zambesiaca: Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana. Volume ten: part two, Royal Botanic Gardens (KRBG).vi + 261 pp.

DAISIE, 2015. Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe. DAISIE (online), http://www.europe-aliens.org/

Dunn RA, Jones SM, 1981. Vascular plant species of limited distribution and abundance in South Carolina. Department of Forestry Technical Paper 13. Clemson, South Carolina, USA: Clemson University

Ferreira NR, Filippi EE, 2010. Economic, social and environmental reflexes of South African love grass (Eragrostis plana Nees) biological invasion in the pampa biome. (Reflexos econômicos, sociais e ambientais da invasão biológica pelo capim-annoni (Eragrostis plana Nees) no bioma pampa). Cadernos de Ciência e Tecnologia, 27(1-3), 47-70.

Focht T, 2008. Ecology and dynamics of South African love grass (Eragrostis plana Nees), an invasive from southern grasslands: preventing its expansion. (Ecologia e dinâmica do capim-annoni-2 (Eragrostis plana Nees), uma invasora dos campos sulinos: prevenção da sua expansão). DPhil Thesis. Porto Alegre, Brazil: Rio Grande do Sul Federal University.

Guterres EP, 1993. Considerations on the establishment of forage species in areas invaded by South African love grass (Eragrostis plana Nees) at the Tupanciretã Zootechnical Experimental Station, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. (Considerações sobre o estabelecimento de forrageiras em áreas inçadas com capim annoni 2 (Eragrostis plana Nees) na Estação Experimental Zootécnica em Tupanciretã). In: Reunião Regional de Avaliação de Pesquisa com annoni 2, Documentos 7, 1991 . Bagé, Brazil: EMBRAPA CPPSUL. 25-40.

I3N Brasil, 2015. National database of exotic invasive species. (Base de dados nacional de espécies exóticas invasoras), Florianópolis - SC, Brazil: Instituto Hórus de Desenvolvimento e Conservação Ambiental. http://i3n.institutohorus.org.br

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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.
I3N Brazil Invasive Alien Species Databasehttp://i3n.institutohorus.org.br/www
The Horus Institute for Environmental Conservation and Developmenthttp://institutohorus.org.br/
Uruguay Ministry of Cattle Production, Agriculture and Fisherieshttp://www.mgap.gub.uy/

Organizations

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Brazil: EMBRAPA Clima Temperado, https://www.embrapa.br/clima-temperado

Brazil: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, http://www.ufrgs.br/agronomia/joomla/

Principal Source

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Draft datasheet under review

Contributors

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13/03/15 Original text by:

Sílvia R. Ziller, Instituto Hórus, Servidão Cobra Coral 111, Campeche, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil

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