Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Sporobolus pyramidatus
(whorled dropseed)

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Datasheet

Sporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Sporobolus pyramidatus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • whorled dropseed
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • S. pyramidatus is widespread in the Americas from much of the USA south through South America to Argentina, as well as the Caribbean. It is a weedy species in this range, found in coastal areas, in a variety of...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Sporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); infestation. Namib-Naukluft National Park, off C28, Namibia (ca.110km East of Walvis Bay). December 2014.
TitleInfestation
CaptionSporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); infestation. Namib-Naukluft National Park, off C28, Namibia (ca.110km East of Walvis Bay). December 2014.
Copyright©Mark Marathon-2014/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 4.0
Sporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); infestation. Namib-Naukluft National Park, off C28, Namibia (ca.110km East of Walvis Bay). December 2014.
InfestationSporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); infestation. Namib-Naukluft National Park, off C28, Namibia (ca.110km East of Walvis Bay). December 2014.©Mark Marathon-2014/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 4.0
Sporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); seedheads at abandoned runway Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June 2008.
TitleSeedheads
CaptionSporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); seedheads at abandoned runway Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June 2008.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Sporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); seedheads at abandoned runway Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June 2008.
SeedheadsSporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); seedheads at abandoned runway Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. June 2008.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Sporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); whole plant. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA.
TitleWhole plant
CaptionSporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); whole plant. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA.
Copyright©Keith A. Bradley
Sporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); whole plant. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA.
Whole plantSporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); whole plant. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA.©Keith A. Bradley
Sporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); spike. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA.
TitleSpike
CaptionSporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); spike. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA.
Copyright©Keith A. Bradley
Sporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); spike. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA.
SpikeSporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); spike. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA.©Keith A. Bradley
Sporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); single spikelet. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA. April 2016.
TitleSpikelet
CaptionSporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); single spikelet. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA. April 2016.
Copyright©Keith A Bradley-2016
Sporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); single spikelet. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA. April 2016.
SpikeletSporobolus pyramidatus (whorled dropseed); single spikelet. Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA. April 2016.©Keith A Bradley-2016

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Sporobolus pyramidatus (Lam.) Hitchc.

Preferred Common Name

  • whorled dropseed

Other Scientific Names

  • Agrostis pyramidata Lam.
  • Sporobolus argutus (Nees) Kunth
  • Sporobolus coromandelianus auct. non (Retz.) Kunth
  • Sporobolus patens auct. non Swallen
  • Sporobolus pulvinatus Swallen

International Common Names

  • English: Madagascar dropseed; match grass
  • Spanish: pitilla; teatino

Local Common Names

  • Australia: giant rat’s tail grass
  • Haiti: chiendent
  • USA: whorled drop-seed grass

Summary of Invasiveness

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S. pyramidatus is widespread in the Americas from much of the USA south through South America to Argentina, as well as the Caribbean. It is a weedy species in this range, found in coastal areas, in a variety of well drained sandy soils inland, as well as roadsides and other disturbed places. The species is an effective competitor because of allelopathic effects (Rasmussen and Rice, 1971). It is naturalized in the Hawaiian archipelago in the State of Hawaii, Midway Atoll, French Frigate Shoals, Kure Atoll, and Laysan Island. In Hawaii it has posed a threat to the endangered grass Panicum fauriei var. carteri on Mokolii Islet, Oahu (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011). PIER (2016) gives it a high risk score of 14 for invasiveness in the Pacific Region.

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Sporobolus is a genus of 170 species (Peterson et al., 2003) distributed throughout the world. Sporobolus pyramidatus was described by Lamarck in 1791 as Agrostis pyramidatus with a type from South America (“Amer. merid.”). It was later transferred to the genus Sporobolus by Hitchcock (Hitchcock, 1936) and Nees described Agrostis arguta from Brazil. This species was transferred to Sporobolus by Kunth (1833), and S. argutus was used in earlier American botanical literature (e.g. Hitchcock, 1935). Hitchcock later recognized that the two species were conspecific (Chase, 1937; Hitchcock, 1936), retaining the older name S. pyramidatus. In 1941 Swallen named S. pulvinatus as a distinct species from S. pyramidatus from the southwestern USA (Swallen, 1941). This taxon was recognized as distinct by some authors (Kearney and Peebles, 1942; Hitchcock and Chase, 1951; Kearney and Peebles, 1960; Gould, 1975; Gould, 1981) but has been treated as a synonym by others, particularly recently (Correll and Johnston, 1970; Peterson et al., 2003; Peterson et al., 2004; Shaw, 2012).

Peterson et al. (2014) places S. pyramidatus in Sporobolus Section Pyramidati, Subsection Pyramidati, a clade of 12 species.

Peterson et al. (2014) found very little genetic and morphological variation in this species, despite its wide range. The authors found that the species is closely related to Sporobolus coromandelianus, also widely distributed, and to the narrowly distributed species Sporobolus coahuilensis (of Mexico and Texas), and Sporobolus contractus (of Mexico and Baha California). They indicate the need for a worldwide revision of this group to resolve species limits.

Description

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The following description has been adapted from Peterson et al. (2004).

Caespitose annual to short lived perennial. Culms glabrous, 7-35 cm tall or sometimes taller, erect to decumbent, leaves mostly basal. Leaf sheaths glabrous, sometimes ciliate on margins and at summit, ligules 0.3-1.0 mm, leaf blades flat, 2-12 mm long, 2-6 mm wide, margins ciliate-pectinate. Panicles 4-15 cm long, 0.3-6.0 cm wide, branches spreading, open, pyramidal, with verticillate branches, contracted when immature, branches to 4.5 cm long, with elongate glands proximally, flowered only distally, spikelets often second on branch. Spikelets 1.2-1.8 mm, dull gray to brown, ovate to obovate; glumes unequal, lower 0.3-0.7 mm, upper 1.2-1.8 mm, lemmas 1.2-1.7 mm; grain (a modified caryopsis) 0.6-1.0 mm long, obovoid.

Plant Type

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Grass / sedge
Perennial

Distribution

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S. pyramidatus is native from North America to South America and the Caribbean. In North America its native range includes about 12 mostly southern and central states north to Nebraska, east to Louisiana, and west to Arizona, as well as southern Florida. It ranges from Mexico, through Central America, and in South America to Argentina, and is in much of the Caribbean.

Some occurrences in the USA represent short-lived introductions. It was found a single time in Maryland on piles of chrome ore that were imported into the state (Reed, 1954). The New York occurrence was associated with a wool combing facility (Weldy et al., 2016) and was treated as introduced by Gray and Fernald (1950). The Pennsylvania occurrence is attributed to two pre-1900 specimens collected on ballast (Rhoads and Klein, 1993). In Illinois it was found on a roadside in 1981 (Henry and Scott, 1983). The occurrence in Missouri, peripheral to its native range in nearby states, is treated as introduced by Peterson et al (2004).

S. pyramidatus has been introduced into the Hawaiian Archipelago. It was first found in Hawaii on Oahu in 1978 (Wagner et al., 1999). Since 1978 it has spread to Hawaii, Kauai, Molokai, and Kahoolawe, French Frigate Shoals, Laysan Island, Kure Atoll and Midway Atoll (Starr et al., 2008; Starr and Starr, 2015; PIER, 2016).

S. pyramidatus may be in China but definitive documentation could not be found. It is reported for the country as S. pulvinatus, a synonym of S. pyramidatus (Liu, 2004; Wu et al., 2009). It may also be in Hungary where it was reported as S. argutus (Szabó, 2005). No further documentation for the species occurring in Hungary was found.

There have been many erroneous reports of S. pyramidatus due to confusion with S. pyramidalis (synomym = S. indicus var. pyramidalis), a much different species with a similarly spelled specific epithet. PIER (2016) reports S. pyramidatus for Australia, Diego Garcia Island (Chagos Archipelago), and Singapore, but the original documentation of these reports are of S. pyramidalis. No data has been found to substantiate these occurrences, thus, S. pyramidatus has been erroneously reported for Australia, the Chagos Archipelago, and Singapore, and the report from the Solomon Islands may also be in error. It is not a species listed by NMNS (2016).

S. pyramidatus has also been confused with the very closely related and similar S. coromandelianus. This has led to a report of the species in Central Sudan by Braun (1991) and by Chippendall (1955) in South Africa. These are treated as misapplications (CJB, 2016). Hence there are no confirmed occurrences in mainland Africa, nor in Madagascar, in spite of its common name of ‘Madagascar drop seed’.

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.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

SudanAbsent, Invalid presence record(s)Braun et al. (1991)This represents S. coromandelianus (CJB 2016)

Asia

British Indian Ocean Territory
-Chagos ArchipelagoAbsent, Invalid presence record(s)PIER (2016)Diego Garcia Island. Original source, (Rivers, 1996), lists S. pyramidalis, not S. pyramidatus
ChinaAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)Liu (2004); Wu et al. (2009); IBCAS (2016)
-TianjinAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)IBCAS (2016); Liu (2004); Wu et al. (2009)As S. pulvinatus
SingaporeAbsent, Invalid presence record(s)PIER (2016)Report is of S. indicus var. pyramidalis

Europe

HungaryAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)Szabo et al. (2005)As S. argutus. Reference not seen, and no further documentation seen

North America

AnguillaPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong (2015)
Antigua and BarbudaPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong (2015)
BahamasPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong (2015); Missouri Botanical Garden (2016)
BarbadosPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
Cayman IslandsPresentNativeProctor (1996); Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong (2015)
Costa RicaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
CubaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong (2015)
Dominican RepublicPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong (2015)
El SalvadorPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
GuatemalaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
HaitiPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong (2015)
HondurasPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
JamaicaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong (2015)
MartiniquePresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong (2015)
MexicoPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
Netherlands AntillesPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
Puerto RicoPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS (2016); Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong (2015); Missouri Botanical Garden (2016)
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong (2015)
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
Turks and Caicos IslandsPresentNativeCorrell and Correll (1982)
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong (2015); Missouri Botanical Garden (2016)
United StatesPresentCABI (Undated)Present based on regional distribution.
-ArizonaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS (2016)
-ArkansasPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS (2016)
-ColoradoPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS (2016)
-FloridaAbsent, Intercepted onlyUSDA-NRCS (2016)
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced1978InvasiveWagner et al. (1999); Starr et al. (2008); PIER (2016); USDA-NRCS (2016)Kure Atoll, French Frigate Shoals, Oahu
-IllinoisPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2016); Henry and Scott (1983)
-KansasPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS (2016)
-LouisianaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS (2016)
-MarylandAbsent, Formerly presentUSDA-NRCS (2016); Reed (1954)
-MissouriPresentUSDA-NRCS (2016); Kucera (1998)
-NebraskaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS (2016)
-New MexicoPresentNativeCABI (Undated a)
-New YorkAbsent, Formerly presentUSDA-NRCS (2016); Weldy et al. (2016)
-OklahomaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS (2016)
-PennsylvaniaAbsent, Formerly presentUSDA-NRCS (2016); Rhoads and McKinley Klein (1993)
-TexasPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS (2016)
-UtahPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS (2016)

Oceania

AustraliaAbsent, Invalid presence record(s)PIER (2016)Report is of S. pyramidalis
-QueenslandPresentNativePIER (2016)Report is of S. pyramidalis
Solomon IslandsAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)PIER (2016)Report is likely of S. pyramidalis

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
BoliviaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
BrazilPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
-BahiaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
-ParaibaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
-PernambucoPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
-Rio Grande do NortePresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
-Santa CatarinaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
ChilePresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
ColombiaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); Giraldo-Cañas and Peterson (2009)
EcuadorPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); Giraldo-Cañas and Peterson (2009)
French GuianaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
PeruPresentNativeGiraldo-Cañas and Peterson (2009)
UruguayPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
VenezuelaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); Giraldo-Cañas and Peterson (2009)

History of Introduction and Spread

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S. pyramidatus has become established outside of its native range in the Hawaiian Archipelago. It was found on Oahu in 1978 (Wagner et al., 1999). The vector into the Hawaiian archipelago is unknown, but is listed as being introduced with crops (Wester, 1992). It has since been found on other islands in the State of Hawaii, including Hawaii, Kauai, Molokai, and Kahoolawe. The species has spread northwards to the Midway Atoll (Sand, Eastern, and Spit islands), Laysan Island, French Frigate Shoals, and Kure Atoll (Starr et al., 2008; PIER, 2016). In the continental USA some populations may be introduced, such as in Missouri (Flora of Missouri, 2016) and Illinois (Henry and Scott, 1983).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Hawaii 1978 Yes Wester (1992)
Illinois 1981 Yes Henry and Scott (1983)
Maryland 1953 Industrial purposes (pathway cause) No Reed (1954) Chrome ore piles
Missouri 1896 Yes Kucera (1998)
New York Pre 1900 Harvesting fur, wool or hair (pathway cause) No Reed (1954) Wool combing
Pennsylvania Pre 1900 Industrial purposes (pathway cause) No Rhoads and McKinley (1993) Ballast

Habitat

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S. pyramidatus is primarily a plant of inland or coastal alkaline and saline soils, favouring disturbed habitats and sandy soils, sandy plains, clay flats, and canyons (Hitchcock, 1936; Hitchcock and Chase, 1951; Gould, 1975; Peterson et al., 2003; Peterson et al., 2004; Giraldo-Cañas and Peterson, 2009; Allred, 2012). In Louisiana it has been reported in sandy soil along inland streams (Allen et al., 2004). In Kansas it has been found in sandy soil on a scrub oak dominated hillside (McGregor and Lathrop, 1957). In a study of a coastal, saline pasture in Oriente, Cuba Toth et al. (2015) found that among the grass species present, S. pyramidatus had the highest salinity tolerance.
 
In its introduced range in the Hawaiian Archipelago the species grows in coastal habitats such as coastal sands, or inland on alkaline or saline habitats (PIER 2016). It occurs on coastal cliffs on Mokolii Islet, Oaku (USFWS 2011).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Brackish
Inland saline areas Present, no further details
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land 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
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details
Riverbanks Present, no further details
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details
Arid regions Present, no further details
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details
Coastal dunes Present, no further details
Mud flats Present, no further details

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Peterson et al. (2014) found very little genetic and morphological variation in this species, despite its wide range.

Gould (1975) and Peterson et al. (2003) report counts of chromome numbers as 2n=24, 2n=36, and 2n=54.

Reproductive Biology

Members of the grass family are generally wind pollinated (Gould and Shaw, 1983). While some species of Sporobolus produce cleistogamous spikelets within leaf sheaths and are self-pollinated (Gould and Shaw, 1983), S. pyramidatus produces only chasmogamous spikelets and are expected to be wind pollinated.

The fruits of most grass species are caryopses, a caryopsis being a simple, indehescent dry fruit with an pericarp fused to the seed wall. However, in the genus Sporobolus the pericarp is not fused to the seed wall. This fruit structure has been called a modified caryopsis, an utricle, or achene. Additionally, when moistened the seed coat becomes tacky, allowing it to stick to other objects. On drying the seed coat breaks, releasing the seed (Gould and Shaw, 1983).

Physiology and Phenology

S. pyramidatus has C4 physiology. Flowering occurs from March-November (Peterson et al., 2004), persisting for 3-4 years.

Longevity

S. pyramidatus is an annual to short lived perennial (Peterson et al., 2003; Peterson et al., 2004).

Associations

Rasmussen and Rice (1971) found that S. pyramidatus is alleleopathic, allowing it to out-compete other grass species in Oklahoma, including Cynodon dactylon and Buchloë dactyloides. Smith (2016) reported that a colony in Oklahoma appeared to be self-limiting because of its own allelopathy inhibiting the growth of its own seedlings.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
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

Soil Tolerances

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Soil reaction

  • alkaline
  • neutral
  • very alkaline

Soil texture

  • light

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • saline
  • shallow
  • sodic

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Entyloma majus Pathogen to genus
Uromyces bravensis Pathogen to species

Notes on Natural Enemies

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The rust Uromyces bravensis is described from S. pyramidatus in Texas (Cummins, 1964). The smut fungus Jamesdicksonia major [Entyloma majus] has also been found on this and other Sporobolus species (Vánky, 2003).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

S. pyramidatus produces only chasmogamous spikelets and are expected to be wind pollinated (Gould and Shaw, 1983).

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

The seed coat of Sporobolus species becomes tacky when moistened, allowing them to stick to other objects. After drying, the seed coat splits open, releasing the seed (Gould and Shaw, 1983). This character facilitates dispersal by animals when seeds adhere to fur or skin (Smith, 2002). The species may also be dispersed by ants; Box (1960) found seed in harvester ant mounds in Texas.

Accidental Introduction

Within the USA new populations have been introduced along roadways, presumably with vehicles or mowing equipment (Henry and Scott, 1983), with imported chrome ore (Reed, 1954), as a contaminant in wool (Weldy et al. 2016), and on ballast (Rhoads and Klein, 1993). The vector into the Hawaiian archipelago is unknown, but it is listed as being introduced with crops (Wester, 1992).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Harvesting fur, wool or hairwool Yes Weldy et al., 2016
Hitchhiker Yes Wester, 1992
Industrial purposesChrome ore Yes Reed, 1954

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Environment (generally) Negative

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Biodiversity

In Hawaii, S. pyramidatus has invaded habitat occupied by the endangered grass Panicum fauriei var. carteri on Mokolii Islet, Oahu, Hawaii (USFWS 2011). Competition nearly eliminated the already small population of this Panicum

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Panicum fauriei var. carteri (Carter's panicgrass)NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiAllelopathic; Competition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shading; Rapid growthUSFWS, 2011

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
Impact outcomes
  • Altered trophic level
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of fire regime
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Economic Value

S. pyramidatus has no known economic value. It is reported to be of low value for grazing (Mayeux Jr. and Chamrad, 1982).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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S. pyramidatus is closely related to Sporobolus coromandelianus, an Old World species (Baaijens and Veldkamp, 1991; Peterson et al., 2003; Peterson et al., 2004). The spikelets of the two species are similar but S. coromandelianus has a contracted panicle until the grains mature, while S. pyramidatus has spreading panicle branches (Polhill et al., 1974). It is also similar to the very closely related Sporobolus coahuilensis of Mexico and Texas, which has long capillary panicles (Peterson et al., 2003). Where their ranges overlap S. pyramidatus can be confused with Sporobolus domingensis. The latter species also grows in coastal habitats, but is a long-lived perennial, more robust than S. pyramidatus, and with a contracted panicle (Peterson et al., 2003). In Hawaii S. pyramidatus has been confused with Sporobolus pilifer [Sporobouls piliferus] (Starr and Starr, 2015), but that species has a contracted panicle (Giraldo-Cañas and Peterson, 2009).

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.

Little data is available on the control of S. pyramidatus. In general grasses are often controlled with herbicides, particularly glyphosate. As S. pyramidatus is an annual that prefers disturbance, limiting soil impacts, including foot traffic, vehicles, and machinery impacts could be of use in limiting populations. 

Physical/Mechanical Control

Small colonies can be controlled through hand pulling.

Chemical Control

Glyphosate herbicide formulations have been used with some success to treat S. pyramidatus on Midway Atoll (D. Clark, US Fish and Wildlife Service, USA, personal communication, 2015).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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The complex of species in Sporobolus Section Pyramidati is in need of revision (Peterson et al., 2014). Difficulty in distinguishing members of the section has led to reports of the species in various parts of the world, including Asia and Africa. Some of these reports could represent new invasions of S. pyramidatus, such as in China, but need confirmation. 

References

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Acevedo-Rodriguez; P; Strong; MT, 2015. Flora of the West Indies. Washington DC, USA: Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/antilles/WestIndies/index.htm

Allen CM; Newman DA; Winters HH, 2004. Grasses of Louisiana. Pitkin, Louisiana, USA: Allen's Native Ventures, LLC.

Allred KW, 2012. Flora Neomexicana: The Vascular Plants of New Mexico. Vol. 3. An Illustrated Identification Manual, 3. New Mexico, USA: New Mexico State University, 719 pp.

Baaijens GJ; Veldkamp JF, 1991. Sporobolus (Gramineae) in Malesia. Blumea, 35(2):393-458.

Box TW, 1960. Notes on the harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatus var. molefacieus, in South Texas. Ecology, 41(2):381-382.

Braun M; Burgstaller H; Hamdoun AM; Walter H, 1991. Common weeds of central Sudan. Weikersheim, Germany: Verlag Josef Margraf, 333 pp.

CHASE A, 1937. Notes on types of North American grasses. American Botanist, 24:33-5.

Chippindall LKA, 1955. The Grasses and Pastures of South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Central News Agency.

CJB, 2016. African Plant Database, Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques and South African National Biodiversity Institute. http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/bd/cjb/africa/index.php?langue=an

Clayton WD; Phillips SM; Renvoize SA, 1974. Flora of Tropical East Africa. Gramineae (Part 2). London, UK: Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations., 274pp.

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Distribution References

Acevedo-Rodriguez P, Strong MT, 2015. Flora of the West Indies., Washington DC, USA: Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/antilles/WestIndies/index.htm

Braun M, Burgstaller H, Hamdoun A M, Walter H, 1991. Common weeds of central Sudan. Weikersheim, Germany: Verlag Josef Margraf. 333 pp.

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Correll DS, Correll HB, 1982. Flora of the Bahama archipelago: including the Turks and Caicos Islands., Vaduz, Germany: J. Cramer. 1692 pp.

Giraldo-Cañas D, Peterson P M, 2009. Revision of the genus Sporobolus (Poaceae: Chloridoideae: Sporobolinae) for northwest South America: Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. (Revisión de las especies del género Sporobolus (Poaceae: Chloridoideae: Sporobolinae) del Noroeste de Sudamérica: Perú, Ecuador, Colombia y Venezuela.). Caldasia. 31 (1), 41-76. http://www.unal.edu.co/icn/publicaciones/caldasia/31_1/Bot7.pdf

Henry RD, Scott AR, 1983. A new Illinois vascular plant and other distributional records for West-Central Illinois. In: Phytologia, 53 (2) 141-145.

IBCAS, 2016. Herbarium, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences., http://pe.ibcas.ac.cn/

Kucera CL, 1998. The grasses of Missouri., Columbia, USA: University of Missouri Press. 320 pp.

Liu J, 2004. Flora of Tianjin (Tianjin zhi wu zhi=Flora of Tianjin)., Tianjin, China: Tianjin Kexue Jishu Chubanshe.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016. Tropicos database., St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/

PIER, 2016. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk., Honolulu, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

Proctor G R, 1996. Additions and corrections to 'Flora of the Cayman Islands'. Kew Bulletin. 51 (3), 483-507. DOI:10.2307/4117025

Reed CF, 1954. New or additional records of grasses in Maryland and Delaware. In: Rhodora, 56 (668) 178-181.

Rhoads A F, McKinley Klein W Jr, 1993. The vascular flora of Pennsylvania: annotated checklist and atlas. In: The vascular flora of Pennsylvania: annotated checklist and atlas. Philadelphia, USA: American Philosophical Society. 636 pp.

Starr F, Starr K, Loope L, 2008. Botanical survey of Midway Atoll. In: Prepared for: United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington DC, USA: US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Szabo TA, Mihály B, Botta-Dukát Z, 2005. Biological Invasion in Hungary - Invasive Plants. (In Hungarian). In: Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 52 (5) 642-643.

USDA-NRCS, 2016. The PLANTS Database. Greensboro, North Carolina, USA: National Plant Data Team. https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov

Wagner W L, Herbst D R, Sohmer S H, 1999. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, Vols. 1 and 2. Honolulu, USA: University of Hawai'i and Bishop Museum Press. xviii + 1919 pp.

Weldy, T, Werier D, Nelson A, 2016. New York Flora Atlas., New York, USA: New York Flora Association. http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/

Wu S, Sun H, Teng Y, Rejmanek M, Chaw S, Yang TA, Hsieh C, 2009. Patterns of plant invasions in China: Taxonomic, biogeographic, climatic approaches and anthropogenic effects. In: Biological Invasions, 12 (7) 2179-2206.

Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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28/04/16 Original text by: 

Keith Bradley, Consultant, South Carolina, USA

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