Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Neyraudia reynaudiana
(burma reed)



Neyraudia reynaudiana (burma reed)


  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Neyraudia reynaudiana
  • Preferred Common Name
  • burma reed
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • N. reynaudiana is a tall woody grass that has become naturalized outside of its natural range in the USA (southern Florida) and in the Bahamas on limestone-dominated substrates. In Florida, N. reynaudiana...

  • Principal Source
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Neyraudia reynaudiana (burma grass); mature flowering plants. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA.
TitleMature flowering plants
CaptionNeyraudia reynaudiana (burma grass); mature flowering plants. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA.
Copyright©Keith A Bradley-2015
Neyraudia reynaudiana (burma grass); mature flowering plants. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA.
Mature flowering plantsNeyraudia reynaudiana (burma grass); mature flowering plants. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA.©Keith A Bradley-2015
Neyraudia reynaudiana (burma grass); close-up of spikelet.
CaptionNeyraudia reynaudiana (burma grass); close-up of spikelet.
Copyright©Keith A. Bradley-2015
Neyraudia reynaudiana (burma grass); close-up of spikelet.
SpikeletNeyraudia reynaudiana (burma grass); close-up of spikelet.©Keith A. Bradley-2015


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Neyraudia reynaudiana (Kunth) Keng ex Hitchc.

Preferred Common Name

  • burma reed

Other Scientific Names

  • Arundo madagascariensis var. zollingeri (Buse) Hook.f.
  • Arundo reynaudiana Kunth
  • Arundo zollingeri Buse
  • Neyraudia arundinacea var. zollingeri (Buse) Henrard
  • Neyraudia madagascariensis var. zollingeri (Buse) Hook. f.
  • Neyraudia mezii (Janowski) Veldkamp
  • Phragmites zollingeri (Buse) Steud.
  • Thysanolaena mezii Janowski

International Common Names

  • English: cane grass; false reed; silk reed
  • Chinese: le lu; lèilú

Local Common Names

  • China: canico
  • India: khagra; longlao
  • Laos: entram
  • Myanmar: kung-ji; kyu; kyuna-bin-kaing; kyun-na-bin-paung
  • Nepal: dhonde; lese
  • Thailand: fong; iao; kham; phong; phong lao
  • Vietnam: cày sây; côiig; sây dac; sây khô

Summary of Invasiveness

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N. reynaudiana is a tall woody grass that has become naturalized outside of its natural range in the USA (southern Florida) and in the Bahamas on limestone-dominated substrates. In Florida, N. reynaudiana became established following planting experiments in Miami-Dade County in 1916 (Gordon, 1998). It has become widely established in at least a six-county region of the southern peninsula. The species is an aggressive invader of pine rockland habitats, but also can colonize rockland hammocks and beach dunes. N. reynaudiana is also an abundant weed of roadsides and other disturbed uplands in southern Florida. In pine rockland ecosystems the species forms dense, nearly monospecific stands, outcompeting native species. It alters fire behaviour, increases organic litter accumulation and alters succession patterns. It is known to displace a large number of endangered and rare species. N. reynaudiana was found in the Bahamas in 1974 and has since spread to at least three islands; Abaco, Andros and Bimini. In the Bahamas, N. reynaudiana is found in dry to moist disturbed areas and is a potential threat to pine rockland, coppice and coastal habitats. Eradication of N. reynaudiana is both labour-intensive and costly.

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Neyraudia is a genus of five species (Conert, 1959; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; GrassWorld, 2015) distributed in Asia and Africa. The genus Neyraudia was traditionally placed in the tribe Arundineae (Tucker, 1990). Tateoka (1956) found morphological characters that were intermediate between Arundineae and Chloridoideae. Recent molecular analyses have established its placement in the Chloridoideae (Peterson et al., 2010). N. reynaudiana is related to Arundo donax, a highly invasive weed.

Some references such as Conert (1959), Koyama (1987) and Quattrocchi (2006) erroneously list Triodia grandiflora as a synonym of N. reynaudiana. This usage is due to a misinterpretation of Hitchcock (1934); T. grandiflora is a synonym of Erioneuron avenaceum var. grandiflorum (Peterson et al., 2001).


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N. reynaudiana is a short-rhizomatous perennial woody grass, typically 2-3 m, but sometimes taller. Culms erect, 3-10 mm diameter, with solid culm internodes. Leaf blades flat, 20-100 cm long, 8-25 mm wide. Leaf-blade surface smooth. Leaf sheaths glabrous. Ligule pilose, 1-2 mm. Inflorescence a dense, open panicle, 30-50 cm long, branches slender and nodding. Spikelets 6-9 mm, with 4-10 florets. The lower floret sterile, resembling glume and lacking a palea. Glumes subequal, 2-3 mm, acute, glabrous. Lemmas 4 mm, purplish, lateral veins conspicuously ciliate with 2 mm hairs and lemma with 1-2 mm recurved awn. Tucker (1990) noted that the species was unusual in having an abaxial (external) ligule, a cartilaginous ridge that is pilose when young.

Plant Type

Top of page Grass / sedge
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated


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N. reynaudiana has a wide natural range including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India (north and northeastern), Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam. In China it is found in all southern and western provinces, but is absent from northeastern provinces.

The species has been erroneously listed for Japan (e.g. Bor, 1960; Lazarides, 1980; Shukla, 1996; Rasha, 2005; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014), probably because of Japan’s former occupation of Taiwan, where the species does occur. The species is not however listed as present in Japan in other manuals (e.g. Ohwi et al., 1965; Koyama, 1987; Chen et al., 2011).

N. reynaudiana was once recorded from Singapore in 1959 (Veldkamp, 1999). While Singapore is within the natural range of the species it has been considered an introduced population (Duistermaat, 2004; 2005).

N. reynaudiana has also been reported from Veracruz, Mexico. The initial reports were by Beetle (1977; 1987) as “cultivated or escaped”. Beetle et al. (1995) state only that N. reynaudiana is reported for Veracruz. Its presence has been repeated by other authors (Espejo Serna and López-Ferrari, 1993; Peterson et al., 2001; Sarukhán and Soberón, 2008; Sánchez-Ken et al., 2012) apparently without independent verification (J. Sánchez-Ken, University of Mexico, Mexico, personal communication, 2014). Its occurrence in Mexico, either as a cultivated or an escaped plant, has not been confirmed. Guala (1990) reports that it occurred as a waif in San Francisco, California in 1861. It was collected there by N.M. Bolander in front of a Chinese workhouse and a herbarium specimen resides at the U.S. National Herbarium (G. Guala, U.S. Geological Survey, USA, personal communication, 2015). Guala also reports that the US National Herbarium has a cultivated specimen from 1916 in Chico, California.

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


BangladeshPresentNativeHooker, 1897; Barbhuiya and Gogoi, 2010Longai Reserve
BhutanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
CambodiaPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
ChinaPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-AnhuiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-FujianPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-GansuPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-GuangdongPresentNativeHooker, 1897; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-GuangxiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-GuizhouPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-HainanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-Hong KongPresentNativeBentham, 1861; Morton and Morton, 1983Found on sandy shores
-HubeiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-HunanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-JiangsuPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-JiangxiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-MacauPresentNativeXing, 2007Found on cliffs and river embankments
-SichuanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-TibetPresentNativeFlora Himalaya Database, 2014; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-XinjiangPresentNativeDickoré, 1995; Ni and Herzschuh, 2011Yarkand Plains
-YunnanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-ZhejiangPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
IndiaPresentNativeHooker, 1897
-Arunachal PradeshPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-AssamPresentNativeHooker, 1897; Bor, 1960; Shukla, 1996; Barbhuiya et al., 2013
-BiharPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-ManipurPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-MeghalayaPresentNativeHooker, 1897; Shukla, 1996
-MizoramPresentNativeShukla, 1996; Lalchhuanawma and Lalramnghinglova, 2009
-NagalandPresentNativeGuha et al., 1974; Shukla, 1996; Delmail and Hilaire, 2011
-SikkimPresentNativeHooker, 1897; Bor, 1960; Shukla, 1996
-TripuraPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-UttarakhandPresentNativeKandwal et al., 2003; Kandwal and Gupta, 2009
-West BengalPresentNativeShukla, 1996; Basnet, 2005; Moktan and Das, 2012
IndonesiaPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-JavaPresentNativeJunghuhn, 1853; Steudel, 1855; Lecomte, 1912
-Nusa TenggaraPresentNativeDuistermaat, 2005; Duistermaat, 2005
-SulawesiPresentNativeGrassWorld, 2015
-SumatraPresentNativeWhittaker et al., 1989; Whittaker et al., 2000; Duistermaat, 2005
LaosPresentNativeEngstrand et al., 2009; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
MalaysiaPresentNativeBor, 1960; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentNativeHooker, 1897; Chin, 1983; Turner, 1995Kedah, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Perak. Common in wet areas.
MyanmarPresentNativeKunth, 1829; Hooker, 1897; Rhind, 1945; Kress et al., 2003; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Bago
NepalPresentNativeFlora Himalaya Database, 2014; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; Flora of Nepal Database, 2015
SingaporePresent1959IntroducedVeldkamp, 1999; Duistermaat, 2004; Duistermaat, 2005Not been found recently, possibly extinct in the wild
TaiwanPresentNativeChen et al., 2011; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
ThailandPresentNativeZungsontiporn, 2006; Sukon, 2007; Ohwi, 2010; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Kanchanaburi Province, in dry meadows
VietnamPresentNativeLecomte, 1912; Thin, 1997; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; VPDC, 2015

North America

MexicoPresentIntroducedBeetle, 1977; Espejo and López-Ferrari, 1993; Peterson et al., 2001; Sarukhán and Soberón, 2008; Sánchez-Ken et al., 2012Introduced and escaped cultivation. Requires confirmation
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-CaliforniaAbsent, formerly present1861Introduced1861 Not invasive Guala, 1990Waif
-FloridaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Small, 1933; Hitchcock and Chase, 1951; Hall, 1978; Gordon, 1998; Wunderlin and Hansen, 2003

Central America and Caribbean

BahamasPresentIntroducedHill, 1976; Correll and Correll, 1982; Nickrent et al., 1988; Smith, 2010; Bullard, 2013

South America

French GuianaPresent only in captivity/cultivation2013IntroducedCultivated in orchards in Hmong community near Javouhey


PolandPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Majtkowski and Majtkowsk, 2000Cultivated at a botanical garden

History of Introduction and Spread

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N. reynaudiana was imported to Florida in 1916 to test its use as a potential ornamental (Gordon 1998; Rasha, 2005) by the USDA with seed collected in West Bengal, India. Plants were grown in an experimental garden in Coconut Grove, Miami-Dade County. In 1926 L.H. Bailey collected the species in pine rockland near to the Coconut Grove experimental garden and also transplanted it to Chapman Field at Cutler, further south in Miami-Dade County (G. Guala, US Geological Survey, USA, personal communication, 2015). Early reports of N. reynaudiana as an escapee include Small (1933) who reported it as “escaped in a few places”. N. reynaudiana was also reported as escaping cultivation by Hitchcock (1935), Hitchcock and Chase (1951), Long and Lakela (1971), Morton (1976) and Hall (1978). N. reynaudiana was cultivated in central Florida in Highlands County but did not persist (Guala, 1990). By 1990 it was recognized as an invader of natural areas in Florida, including pine rocklands (Guala, 1990). Populations have been confirmed in six counties in Florida, including Broward, Miami-Dade, Collier and Monroe (Rasha, 2005; Wunderlin and Hansen, 2003). It has also been reported for six other counties (EDDMapS, 2015), but some of these reports could represent misidentifications of other tall woody grasses such as Pennisetum purpureum, Phragmites australis, or Arundo donax.

N. reynaudiana was first reported in the Bahamas in 1974 on the island of South Bimini in a depression on the edge of a coppice adjacent to an airstrip (Hill 1976). It has also been found on Andros Island (Nickrent et al., 1988; Smith, 2010), Great Abaco (Smith, 2010; M. Vincent, Miami University, USA, personal communication, 2014) and New Providence (E. Fried, Bahamas National Trust, Bahamas, personal communication, 2014). It is currently recorded from disturbed areas, but has not been observed invading undisturbed natural areas (E. Fried, Bahamas National Trust, Bahamas, personal communication, 2014).


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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Bahamas USA 1974 Hitchhiker (pathway cause) Yes Hill (1976) Accidental introduction - probably a hitch hiker possibly from Florida, USA
French Guiana by 2013 Horticulture (pathway cause)Missouri Botanical Garden (2015); Missouri Botanical Garden (2015a); Tropicos (2015) Cultivated only
Poland Thailand by 2000 Horticulture (pathway cause) No Majtkowski and Majtkowsk (2000) Cultivated only
USA West Bengal 1916 Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes Gordon (1998) Deliberately introduced

Risk of Introduction

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Risk assessments of N. reynaudiana have been conducted for the USA, Australia (Koop et al., 2011) and the Pacific Islands (PIER, 2014). All found the species to be a high risk. In South Africa N. reynaudiana has been listed as a prohibited species (Molewa, 2004).


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In its native range, N. reynaudiana is found in a diverse and broad ecological range of habitats typically in warm subtropical climates. N. reynaudiana is frequently listed from moist soils and stream or river banks (Rhind, 1945; Dickoré, 1995; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014). It is typically found in dry habitats, including hillsides and rocky soils (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014), dry meadows (Sukon, 2007) and dry limestone summits (Chin, 1983). N. reynaudiana has also been reported as a component of forested areas (Ni and Herzschuh, 2011), but it is probably restricted to gaps and edges. It has the ability to colonize extreme environments, both natural and man-made including walls (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014), volcanic flows (Whittaker et al., 1989), coal fly ash (Chu, 2008) and mines contaminated with heavy metals (Deng et al., 2006; Homyog et al., 2008; Wang et al., 2008; Feng et al., 2010). N. reynaudiana is also a weed in agricultural fields (Nakano, 1978; Harada et al., 1987; Moody, 1989; Galinato et al., 1999). It thrives from sea level up to altitudes of 6,500 feet (PIER, 2015).

Where N. reynaudiana has become naturalized in Florida, it is abundant on dry soils, in particular where the surface or subsurface is limestone. In Florida N. reynaudiana has not been seen colonizing wetlands, showing no tolerance for flooding. It is however an aggressive invader of pine rockland ecosystems, which have a substrate of exposed oolitic limestone (USFWS, 1999; Rasha, 2000; Rasha, 2005). In the Bahamas the species also occupies limestone soils and is associated with roads, shallow depressions and other disturbed areas (Hill, 1976; Correll and Correll, 1982; Smith, 2010).


Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details
Industrial / intensive livestock production systems Present, no further details
Disturbed areas Present, no further details
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details
Buildings Present, no further details
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details
Riverbanks Present, no further details
Wetlands Present, no further details
Rocky areas / lava flows Present, no further details
Coastal areas Present, no further details
Coastal dunes Present, no further details
Irrigation channels Present, no further details
Lakes Present, no further details
Reservoirs Present, no further details
Rivers / streams Present, no further details
Ponds Present, no further details
Estuaries Present, no further details
Lagoons Present, no further details

Hosts/Species Affected

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N. reynaudiana is reported to be a weed of upland rice in Thailand (Moody 1989; Galinato et al., 1999). Crane et al. (2001) lists N. reynaudiana as a common weed found in orchards in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Oryza sativa (rice)PoaceaeMain

Biology and Ecology

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N. reynaudiana has a chromosome number of 2n=40 (Tucker, 1990).

Physiology and Phenology

N. reynaudiana is a C4 plant. In Florida N. reynaudiana has been found to flower almost all year round and starts flowering 4-6 months after fires (Rasha, 2000).The above ground biomass is typically killed by fires, but N. reynaudiana quickly resprouts from rhizomes, reaching a mature height of 1.5 m in one year (Rasha, 2000). Higuchi (1989) reports a growth of 160 cm in six months in China and found that germination rates increased with temperatures between 15°C and 20°C.

Environmental Requirements

N. reynaudiana is tolerant of some environmental extremes. It has a strong tolerance to drought (Liping et al., 2012), waterlogging, high temperatures and seed can germinate between pH 5.0-9.0 (Feng et al., 2010). Chu (2008) found that N. reynaudiana could become dominant on bare coal fly ash deposits in Hong Kong. Coal fly ash is saline, low in organic matter and nutrients and often has high levels of phytotoxic elements such as copper, lead, zinc, aluminium and boron. N. reynaudiana can also colonize lead mines (Homyog et al., 2008) and has been grown in Alachua County, Florida where it can tolerated freezing (D. Hall, University of Florida, USA, personal communication, 2015).


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Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BW - Desert climate Preferred < 430mm annual precipitation
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
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)
Dw - Continental climate with dry winter Preferred Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • saline
  • shallow

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Chortinaspis subchortina Herbivore to species N
Otidognathus rubriceps Herbivore to species N
Stenocranus montanus Herbivore to species N
Thanatephorus cucumeris Pathogen to species N

Notes on Natural Enemies

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There have been few reports of natural enemies or pests on N. reynaudiana. Halbert (2004) reported a slight infestation of Chortinaspis subchortina (water grass scale) in Miami-Dade County, Florida in 2004. Bartlett (2009) reports a planthopper in China, Stenocranus montanus, on N. reynaudiana.Wenfeng et al. (2001) reports Otidognathus rubriceps a bamboo beetle, in China. In Vietnam, N. reynaudia is a host for Thanatephorus cucumeris (Kim et al., 1981), a fungus that causes sheath blight in rice.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

Seed of N. reynaudiana are wind dispersed, facilitated by the long soft hairs on each lemma (Tucker, 1990; Meisenburg and Fox 2002). Bor (1960) describes that these hairs act as “sail-planes” and that the fruits “come to earth some distance from the parent plant.”

Accidental Introduction

The occurrence of N. reynaudiana in the Bahamas where it was first discovered in 1974 (Hill, 1976) was most likely an accidental introduction from Florida. The colony was found adjacent to an airstrip, so accidental transport seems likely. In Florida Rasha (2005) reported the spread of N. reynaudiana in soil and rock mined from contaminated rock quarries. Its spread to other areas, such as Big Pine Key (Monroe County, Florida) is suspected to have occurred on firefighting equipment (K. Bradley, University of Missouri, USA, personal communication, 2015).

Intentional Introduction

N. reynaudiana was intentionally introduced to the USA in Florida as an experimental ornamental by the USDA (Gordon, 1998). In 2013 it was found for the first time in French Guiana where a local Hmong community was cultivating it in orchards (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015). The reasons for this cultivation are unknown, but N. reynaudiana is a species from regions of original Hmong communities in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. 

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Aircraft Yes Hill, 1976
Machinery and equipment Yes
Soil, sand and gravel Yes Rasha, 2005
Wind Yes

Impact Summary

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Economic/livelihood Negative
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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In Thailand, its native range, N. reynaudiana is reported to be an agricultural weed (Harada et al., 1987; Matachacheep, 1995) including in upland rice (Moody, 1989; Galinato et al., 1999) and can dominate abandoned fields (Nakano, 1978). N. reynaudiana is also considered an agricultural weed in West Bengal, India (Basnet, 2005) and a forest weed in Myanmar (Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network, 2010).

In its introduced range N. reynaudiana has been reported as a weed in orchards in Miami-Dade County, Florida (Crane et al., 2001), but without comment on its effect. It is a common invader of fallow lands in Florida and eradication can be costly due to the rapid accumulation of biomass.

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

N. reynaudiana is invasive in the globally-imperiled pine rockland ecosystem. It has been demonstrated to change pine rockland habitat structure and diversity.. In a 2004 survey of 125 pine rockland fragments in Miami-Dade County, Florida it was found in 73% of properties (K. Bradley, unpublished data). It is also present in Everglades National Park (Miami-Dade County, Florida). While present on Big Pine Key (Monroe County, Florida) and in the Bahamas, it has not yet invaded pine rocklands in those locations.

Platt and Gottschalk (2001) found that in a pine rockland habitat, N. reynaudiana has the ability to change fire regimes and behaviour. Where N. reynaudiana was found there were increased levels of fine fuels and four times as much biomass. Sites with N. reynaudiana also had 32.4% lower biomass of native species. Due to its height, N. reynaudiana also increases the horizontal fuel structure in pine rocklands. During fires this taller biomass increases flame heights, posing threats to the Pinus elliottii var. densa canopy,and makes fires more difficult to control (O'Brien et al., 2010; Platt and Gottschalk, 2001; Rasha, 2005).

Impact on Biodiversity

Due to its large size, N. reynaudiana increases biomass in pine rockland ecosystems (Platt and Gottschalk, 2001), competes for light, increases organic soil accumulation and outcompetes native understory species (Gordon, 1998; Platt and Gottschalk, 2001). It is a serious threat to rare plant species, including seven listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as endangered or threatened species (USFWS, 1999; Federal Register, 2013).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Amorpha herbacea var. crenulataUSA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesFloridaCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shading; Rapid growthUSFWS, 1999
Brickellia mosieri (Florida brickell-bush)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesFloridaCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shading; Rapid growthFederal Register, 2013
Euphorbia deltoidea (wedge spurge)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesFloridaCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shading; Rapid growthUSFWS, 1999
Euphorbia garberiUSA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened speciesFloridaCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shading; Rapid growthUSFWS, 1999
Galactia smalliiUSA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesFloridaCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shading; Rapid growthUSFWS, 1999
Linum carteri var. carteri (Carter's small-flowered flax)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesFloridaCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shading; Rapid growthFederal Register, 2013
Polygala smalliiUSA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesFloridaCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shading; Rapid growthUSFWS, 1999

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of fire regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Soil accretion
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
  • Negatively impacts animal/plant collections
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult/costly to control


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Economic Value

There are a number of reported uses for N. reynaudiana, but overall usage of the species seems to be minimal. It has been grown as an ornamental in Florida (Gordon, 1998) and Poland (Majtkowski and Majtkowska, 2000). In Vietnam the panicles have been used as brooms (Lecomte, 1912). N. reynaudiana has been used as a substrate for mushroom cultivation in China (Zeng et al., 2013) and in Macau, China; it has been reportedly used as a fuel source (Xing, 2007).

N. reynaudiana has been used as fodder in Nepal (Rijal, 2011) but is considered poor forage for cattle in Vietnam (Lecomte, 1912) and toxic to buffalo in Bhutan (Rasha, 2005). In Assam, India, the entire plant is consumed by the Indian rhinoceros, Rhinoceros unicornis (Bhatta, 2011). Prakesh et al. (2013) studied the nutrient composition of N. reynaudiana because it is consumed by the gayal (Bos frontalis) in Manupur, India. They found the following compositions: crude protein (9.2%), crude fiber (33.8%), zinc (27 mg/kg), iron (225 mg/kg), copper (9 mg/kg), calcium (2.10%), potassium (0.33%), magnesium (0.27%), manganese (0.01%) and potassium (2.14%) (Prakesh et al., 2013).

Studies have demonstrated the capacity of N. reynaudiana to serve as a source for paper pulp (Guha et al., 1974; Saikia et al., 1997) and have also shown, with mixed results, a capacity for soil remediation in areas contaminated by lead and other heavy metals (Wang et al., 2008; Rahman and Hasegawa, 2011). The most common use of N. reynaudiana is in soil stabilization. In China and Nepal, it is promoted as a suitable species for stabilizing road embankments, desertified soils and other eroded areas (Kafle, 2005; Ojha and Shrestha, 2007; Shitong 2008; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; Xiao 2014).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed


  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Land reclamation
  • Ornamental
  • Revegetation
  • Soil conservation
  • Soil improvement


  • Biofuels
  • Fuelwood


  • Botanical garden/zoo

Detection and Inspection

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The large stature of N. reynaudiana makes detection straightforward. Inspectors in its naturalized range should, however, be able to distinguish it from several other large grasses, including Phragmites species, Pennisetum purpureum and Arundo donax.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Several other large woody grasses resemble N. reynaudiana. It can be distinguished from its congener, N. arundinacea, by the presence of a sterile lower floret (Conert, 1959; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014). It is also similar to species in the genera Arundo, Pennisetum and Phragmites. It can be distinguished from Phragmites specimens by its ciliate lemmas. Pennisetum purpureum can resemble N. reynaudiana in its vegetative state;Pennisetum lemmas are glabrous, but have a ciliate rachilla. In flower the inflorescence is a congested panicle, which is very distinct from the open panicle of Neyraudia species. When sterile, P. purpureum is distinctive in having leaves with white midribs, often hirsute leaf sheaths and ascending culms that are up to 3 cm diameter. Arundo donax is distinguished by its taller height (to 6 m tall) and leaves that are up to 5 cm wide.

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.


SPS Measures

Attempts have been made in Florida to limit the movement of N. reynaudiana through legislative means. It has been listed by the State of Florida as a Noxious Weed (Hunsberger, 2001). It is considered a prohibited species in the Miami-Dade (Hunsberger, 2001) and Hernando (Hernando County, 2004) counties, Florida. It is also listed as a Category I Invasive Species by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC, 2013).


Physical/Mechanical Control

Manual removal, accomplished by digging live plants out of the ground, is not recommended for removal of N. reynaudiana as it creates a large amount of soil disturbance and is extremely labour-intensive.

Movement Control

Vehicles exposed to areas with infestations of N. reynaudiana should be decontaminated before being operated near pine rockland fragments, or transported to geographic areas lacking this species. This is especially true for firefighting equipment used in Miami-Dade County. Machinery should be thoroughly washed before being transported out of the county.

Biological Control

According to Pemberton (1996) attempts at biocontrol are unlikely as many natural enemies of grass species are generalists. Due to the global economic importance of these grass species in agriculture, there are too many risks for biocontrol to be implemented.

Chemical Control

Effective chemical control is typically accomplished in Florida with glyphosate (Kline and Duquesnel, 1996; Langeland and Stocker, 2001; Langeland et al., 2011). Treatment is best done on 0.3-0.5 m resprouts following cutting of culms. Herbicides can be applied to mature plants, but this increases the risk of non-target damage and the volume of herbicide required. Low concentrations of glyphosate are also effective.

Alternatively, cut stems can be treated with a 10% triclopyr solution (Langeland et al., 2011). This option is more labour intensive than spraying with glyphosate when colonies are large. However, this method is desirable for sparse infestations when relocating sprouts from cut stems can be difficult. Culms are cut and then immediately treated with triclopyr, eliminating the need to return to the site later. Kline and Duquesnel, (1996) reports the use of 1% foliar treatment of imazapyr, but this treatment is not recommended due to the risk of movement of the herbicide in soil.


Control of N. reynaudiana is primarily accomplished through the use of herbicides. A complicating factor in the control of this species is that in some situations, such as in pine rockland habitats, elimination of the biomass is desirable. This involves killing plants of N. reynaudiana and removing them from the treatment site. Due to non-target impacts, machinery cannot be used and plants must be cut (either with power tools or hand tools) and manually carried off of the site. This process is both labour-intensive and expensive. Land managers in Miami-Dade County, Florida have been treating N. reynaudiana in pine rockland habitats for more than 20 years. The primary method of control is to cut the culms at ground level with metal bladed weed eaters or brush cutters (Rasha, 2005). The cut biomass is either carried off of the site (preferred) or placed in piles. Plants are then allowed to resprout. When regrowth reaches 0.3-0.5 m it is sprayed with a herbicide. This technique minimizes off-target damage to desirable plant species (Langeland and Stocker, 2001; Langeland et al., 2011).

An alternative to manual cutting is to treat regrowth after either a prescribed fire or a wildfire. This option is desirable because it eliminates the need to dispose of the cut biomass. N. reynaudiana also resprouts much more quickly than most native species, so it is easy to see and herbicide damage to native species is reduced. However, implementation of prescribed fires is very difficult and rapid mobilization of resources following a wildfire is often not possible.

N. reynaudiana can form a soil seed bank and because of seed rain, follow-up control is always needed for long-term control. Annual sweeps to control this species is recommended in pine rockland habitats to eliminate any new plants and plants that were missed or resprouted from initial treatments.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Further work is required to determine the status of N. reynaudiana in both Mexico and French Guiana.


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Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS) source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Principal Source

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Draft datashet under review


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26/01/2015 Original text by:

Keith A. Bradley, consultant, South Carolina, USA.

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