Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Andropogon glomeratus
(bushy bluestem)

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Datasheet

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Andropogon glomeratus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • bushy bluestem
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • A. glomeratus is a perennial species native to the southeastern USA, Mexico and parts of Central Mexico and the Caribbean. Because of its popularity as an ornamental grass, it has been introduced to areas outsi...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); habit. USA.
TitleHabit
CaptionAndropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); habit. USA.
Copyright©John D. Byrd/Mississippi State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); habit. USA.
HabitAndropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); habit. USA.©John D. Byrd/Mississippi State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); habit. USA.
TitleHabit
CaptionAndropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); habit. USA.
Copyright©James H. Miller & Ted Bodner/Southern Weed Science Society/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); habit. USA.
HabitAndropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); habit. USA.©James H. Miller & Ted Bodner/Southern Weed Science Society/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); seeding habit. Parade Field, Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. March, 2015.
TitleHabit
CaptionAndropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); seeding habit. Parade Field, Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. March, 2015.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); seeding habit. Parade Field, Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. March, 2015.
HabitAndropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); seeding habit. Parade Field, Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. March, 2015.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); habit, with seed heads. September,1997. USA.
TitleHabit
CaptionAndropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); habit, with seed heads. September,1997. USA.
Copyright©John D. Byrd/Mississippi State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); habit, with seed heads. September,1997. USA.
HabitAndropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); habit, with seed heads. September,1997. USA.©John D. Byrd/Mississippi State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); invasive habit in a Laysan albatross colony. Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. 2015.
TitleInvasive habit
CaptionAndropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); invasive habit in a Laysan albatross colony. Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. 2015.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); invasive habit in a Laysan albatross colony. Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. 2015.
Invasive habitAndropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem); invasive habit in a Laysan albatross colony. Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii, USA. 2015.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Andropogon glomeratus (Walter) Britton et al.

Preferred Common Name

  • bushy bluestem

Other Scientific Names

  • Anatherum macrourum (Michx.) Griseb.
  • Andropogon corymbosus (Hack.) Nash
  • Andropogon corymbosus var. abbreviatus (Hack.) Nash
  • Andropogon densus Desv. ex Ham.
  • Andropogon glaucopsis (Elliott) Steud.
  • Andropogon glomeratus var. abbreviatus (Hack.) Scribn.
  • Andropogon glomeratus var. corymbosus (Hack.) Scribn.
  • Andropogon glomeratus var. glaucopsis (Elliott) C.Mohr
  • Andropogon glomeratus var. glomeratus
  • Andropogon glomeratus var. hirsutior (Hack.) C.Mohr
  • Andropogon glomeratus var. pumilus (Vasey) Dewey
  • Andropogon glomeratus var. tenuispatheus Nash
  • Andropogon hirsutior (Hack.) Weakley & LeBlond
  • Andropogon macrourum var. abbreviatus Hack.
  • Andropogon macrourum var. corymbosus Chapm. ex Hack.
  • Andropogon macrourus Michx.
  • Andropogon macrourus var. abbreviatus Hack.
  • Andropogon macrourus var. corymbosus Hack.
  • Andropogon macrourus var. glaucopsis Elliott
  • Andropogon macrourus var. hirsutior Hack.
  • Andropogon macrourus var. pumilus Vasey
  • Andropogon montanus var. glaucopsis (Steud.) Hack.
  • Andropogon spathaceus Trin.
  • Andropogon tenuispatheus (Nash) Nash
  • Andropogon virginicus f. hirsutior (Hack.) Fernald & Griscom
  • Andropogon virginicus f. tenuispatheus (Nash) Fernald
  • Andropogon virginicus var. abbreviatus (Hack.) Fernald & Griscom
  • Andropogon virginicus var. corymbosus (Hack.) Fernald & Griscom
  • Andropogon virginicus var. glaucopsis (Elliott) Hitchc.
  • Andropogon virginicus var. hirsutior (Hack.) Hitchc.
  • Andropogon virginicus var. tenuispatheus (Nash) Fernald & Griscom
  • Capillipedium parviflorum f. glaucopsis (Steud.) Roberty
  • Cinna glomerata Walter
  • Dimeiostemon macrourus (Michx.) Raf. ex B.D.Jacks.
  • Sorghum glomeratum (Walter) Kuntze

International Common Names

  • English: broomsedge bluestem; bushy beardgrass; bushy bluestem; bushy broom grass; chalky bluestem
  • Spanish: cola de zorra; mato escoba del fogón; matojillo; pasto; popotillo matorralero; rabo de mula; tallo azul matorralero; yerba barbuda

Local Common Names

  • Mexico: ch’it-suuk
  • USA: wi’tsura’k

Summary of Invasiveness

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A. glomeratus is a perennial species native to the southeastern USA, Mexico and parts of Central Mexico and the Caribbean. Because of its popularity as an ornamental grass, it has been introduced to areas outside its native range, where it has become naturalized, notably in Hawaii, Central Europe, South Africa and Japan. This species invasively self-seeds under proper growing conditions (PIER, 2008). In Mexico, it is considered a potentially invasive weed (Sánchez-Ken et al., 2012). In Puerto Rico, it has been listed as a weed (Cardenas and Coulston, 1967). In Hawaii, it is considered a noxious weed (PIER, 2008). Although it is not know to occur in other Pacific islands, because of its invasiveness in similar ecosystems, this species is considered an invasive species of environmental concern in Samoa (Space and Flynn, 2002a), Cook Islands (Space and Flynn, 2002b) and Palau (Space et al., 2003).

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Andropogon is a genus of plants in the grass family. This genus comprises 125 APG-III accepted and 64 unresolved species (The Plant List, 2013). Andropogon taxa are widely distributed, predominantly in the tropics and sub-tropics (Watson and Dallwitz, 1992). This genus owes its name to the Greek words aner (from andr-, man) and pogon (beard), alluding to villous pedicels of sterile and male-only spikelets (Watson and Dallwitz, 1992).

Andropogon glomeratus was described in 1888 by Britton et al. (1888). In the past, several authorities considered A. glomeratus and A. virginicus as one species; however, the two grasses are distinct and consistent in appearance and are currently recognized as separate species (Newman and Gates, 2006). The Latin epithet glomeratus refers to this species’ compound inflorescence (Johson and Smith, 1972). 

Hybridization can occur with A. longiberbis (Campbell, 1982) and with A. virginicus (Campbell, 2003).

Description

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Adapted from Clayton et al. (2015):

A. glomeratus is perennial plant, with erect, strong stalks that grow up to 1.5 m tall. These stalks are often ramified at the base, usually scabrous, sometimes smooth. Ligules are short (0.6-2.2 mm), brown, sometimes ciliate. Foliar blades 30-400 mm long, 2.9-9.5 mm wide, glabrous or sparsely to densely pubescent, hairs usually spreading, rarely appressed. Synflorescence compound; paniculate and dense. Inflorescence terminal and axillary, 300 mm long, dense, oblong, composed of racemes (20-30 mm long) disposed in pairs, sometimes in groups of 3; subtended by a spatheole; embraced at the base by subtending leaf. Spatheole lanceolate; 15-30 mm long. Peduncle 5-10 mm long; hirsute above.

Spikelets ascending, or spreading; in pairs. Fertile spikelets sessile; 1 in the cluster. Companion sterile spikelets pedicelled; 1 in the cluster. Pedicels filiform; curved; plumose. Glumes dissimilar; exceeding apex of florets; firmer than fertile lemma. Lower glume lanceolate; 1 length of spikelet; membranous; 2-keeled; keeled laterally. Lower glume intercarinal veins absent. Lower glume surface concave. Upper glume lanceolate; membranous; 1-keeled; 1-veined. Upper glume lateral veins absent. Upper glume muticous. Basal sterile florets barren; without significant palea. Lemma of lower sterile floret lanceolate; hyaline. Fertile lemma lanceolate; hyaline; without keel. Lemma apex lobed; 2-fid; awned; 1-awned. Principal lemma awn from a sinus; straight; 10-20 mm long overall. Palea absent or minute. 3 Anthers. Caryopses ca. 3 mm long.

Distribution

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A. glomeratus is native to southeastern USA, Mexico and parts of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. It has been introduced to Hawaii, Honshu (Japan) and South Africa.

Distribution Table

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

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

IndiaAbsent, unreliable recordIntroduced1903GBIF, 2015Undisclosed location. Current occurrence unknown.
JapanPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-HonshuPresentIntroduced2002GBIF, 2015

Africa

South AfricaPresentIntroduced1987Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015

North America

MexicoPresentNative1841 Invasive GBIF, 2015Although there are no particular areas where invasiveness is reported a problem, the species is considered a potentially invasive weed (Sánchez-Ken et al., 2012)
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaPresentNative1884GBIF, 2015
-ArizonaPresentNative1926GBIF, 2015
-ArkansasPresentNative1835GBIF, 2015
-CaliforniaPresentNative1880GBIF, 2015
-ConnecticutPresentNative1981Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
-DelawarePresentNative1908GBIF, 2015
-District of ColumbiaPresentNative1894GBIF, 2015
-FloridaPresentNative1877GBIF, 2015
-GeorgiaPresentNative1902GBIF, 2015
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010c
-KentuckyPresentNative1927GBIF, 2015
-LouisianaPresentNative1898GBIF, 2015
-MarylandPresentNative1899GBIF, 2015
-MassachusettsPresentNative1885GBIF, 2015
-MississippiPresentNative1896GBIF, 2015
-NevadaPresentNative1872GBIF, 2015
-New JerseyPresentNative1859GBIF, 2015
-New MexicoPresentNative1851GBIF, 2015
-New YorkPresentNative1879GBIF, 2015
-North CarolinaPresentNative1894GBIF, 2015
-OhioPresentNative1964GBIF, 2015
-OklahomaPresentNative1934GBIF, 2015
-PennsylvaniaPresentNative1830GBIF, 2015
-Rhode IslandPresentNative1933GBIF, 2015
-South CarolinaPresentNative1848GBIF, 2015
-TennesseePresentNative1947GBIF, 2015
-TexasPresentNative1844GBIF, 2015
-UtahPresentNative1957GBIF, 2015
-VirginiaPresentNative1906GBIF, 2015
-West VirginiaPresentNative2003Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentNative1931GBIF, 2015
BahamasPresentNative1890GBIF, 2015
BelizePresent2003Native1933GBIF, 2015
Cayman IslandsPresentNative1972Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
Costa RicaPresentNative1966GBIF, 2015
CubaPresentNative1800GBIF, 2015
DominicaPresentNative1986GBIF, 2015
Dominican RepublicPresentNative1910GBIF, 2015
El SalvadorPresentNative1951GBIF, 2015
GrenadaPresentNative1957GBIF, 2015
GuadeloupePresentNative1894GBIF, 2015
GuatemalaPresentNative1964GBIF, 2015
HaitiPresentNative1903GBIF, 2015
HondurasPresentNative1971GBIF, 2015
JamaicaPresentNative1885GBIF, 2015
MartiniquePresentNative1880GBIF, 2015
NicaraguaPresentNative1932GBIF, 2015
PanamaPresentNative1924GBIF, 2015
Puerto RicoPresentNative1913GBIF, 2015
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentNative1901GBIF, 2015
Saint LuciaPresentNative1956GBIF, 2015
Turks and Caicos IslandsPresentNative1974GBIF, 2015

South America

BrazilPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Rio de JaneiroPresent1908GBIF, 2015
-Rio Grande do SulPresent1899GBIF, 2015
ColombiaPresentNative1960GBIF, 2015
EcuadorPresentNative1996GBIF, 2015
GuyanaPresentNative1989GBIF, 2015
VenezuelaPresentNative1952GBIF, 2015

Europe

BelgiumAbsent, unreliable recordIntroduced1862GBIF, 2015Current occurrence unknown
FranceAbsent, unreliable recordIntroduced1864GBIF, 2015Current occurrence unknown

History of Introduction and Spread

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The introduction history of this species is unknown (HISC, 2015).

Risk of Introduction

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It is possible that seeds may be spread unintentionally, as a contaminant of produce, imported sand or gravel, or machinery (Quattrocchi, 2006; PIER, 2008). Moreover, because of its popularity as an ornamental grass, there is a risk of further intentional introductions of A. glomeratus.

Habitat

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A. glomeratus grows along roadside ditches, swamp margins, pastures (Newman and Gates, 2006), seasonal ponds and marshy depressions in pine flatwoods, pastures, depression wetlands and other upland disturbed wet sites (Quattrocchi, 2006). This species is typically found at an altitude of 0 to 5,000 meters (PIER, 2008).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Wetlands Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Freshwater
Irrigation channels Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rivers / streams Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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In some areas of Hawaii, A. glomeratus has been noted to outcompete native plant species such as Heteropogon contortus, Dodonaea viscosa and the endemic Vaccinium reticulatum (Taylor, 1982).

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

According to Watson and Dallwitz (1992), Andropogon taxa have persistent nucleoli and are 2–18 ploid. A. glomeratus has a chromosome base number of x = 10 with 2n = 20 (Campbell, 2003).

Reproductive Biology

A. glomeratus is wind-pollinated. This species is propagated by seed or root division (Rojas Chavez and Vibrans, 2010). There is little information on germination behaviour or longevity but Martinez et al. (1992) indicate optimum temperature to be alternating 20/32°C and some benefit of light over darkness.

Physiology and Phenology

Andropogon glomeratus is a perennial grass possessing a C4 photosynthetic pathway (Campbell, 2003). It possibly blossoms in its second year (PIER, 2008).

Longevity

This species is a long-lived perennial (Florida Native Plant Society, 2013). Information on longevity of the seeds is not available.

Population Size and Structure

This species forms dense stands in bogs, open mesic areas and dry habitats (PIER, 2008).

Nutrition

A. glomeratus is not tolerant to salt and generally will not grow at soil salinity levels above 0.5 ppt (Newman and Gates, 2006). However, it grows well in nutrient-poor soils (Newman and Gates, 2006).

Environmental Requirements

A. glomeratus prefers full sun, although it will grow under partial shade (Newmand and Gates, 2006). It tolerates hot climates and coastal areas provided constant moisture is present, but does not tolerate drought (EOL, 2015). It can be found in ‘irregularly to seasonally inundated or saturated loamy soil’ (EOL, 2015). A. glomeratus is not tolerant to salt and generally will not grow at soil salinity levels above 0.5 ppt (Newman and Gates, 2006). However, Bowman and Strain (1988) found distinct differences in the salt tolerance of populations from salt marsh and fresh-water marsh and there is at least some tolerance of short-term salinity.

Climate

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

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
30 30

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall8891790mm; lower/upper limits

Water Tolerances

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ParameterMinimum ValueMaximum ValueTypical ValueStatusLife StageNotes
Depth (m b.s.l.) 50 Optimum
Salinity (part per thousand) 0.5 Optimum

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Hesperia metea subsp. licinius Predator
Lasiomerus andabata Predator
Periconia echinocloae Pathogen
Saccharosydne saccharivora Predator
Sporisorium culmiperdum Pathogen
Sugarcane mosaic virus Pathogen

Notes on Natural Enemies

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This species is a host plant for the cobweb skipper (Hesperia metea subsp. licinius), a subspecies of butterfly (Clark, 2015). It is also a host of Periconia echinocloae, a pathogenic fungus of rice (Oryza sativa) (Sandoval Ramírez et al., 2003). The mostly neotropical damsel bug Lasiomerus andabata preys on the crowns of Andropogon glomeratus (Wheeler, 2001).

Metcalfe (1969) records that A. glomeratus is one of the original hosts of the serious sugar cane pest Saccharosydne saccharivora (Delphacidae). Ingram et al. (1939) also record it as a host of the sugarcane mosaic virus and the possible transfer to the crop by the aphid Carolinaia (Hysteroneura) setariae.

The smut fungus Sporisorium culmiperdum (Pérez et al., 2002) occurs in Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba and Brazil (where A. glomeratus is also present) and is known to be associated with Andropogon spp..

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

A. glomeratus seed is dispersed by wind (Cain et al., 1998). PIER (2008) stated that this species’ occurrence around waterways suggests seeds can also be dispersed by water.

Accidental Introduction

This species can potentially be introduced as a seed contaminant (Quattrocchi, 2006) or through imported sand or gravel, or machinery (PIER, 2008). Seeds can also be dispersed in dry arrangements as the dry seed stalks remain mostly intact through winter and make attractive cut material (PIER, 2008).

Intentional Introduction

Because of its popularity as an ornamental (Wolfe and Zajicek, 1998), there is a risk of further intentional introduction.

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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Due to its potential as a seed contaminant, Wiersema and León (1999) considered A. glomeratus an economically important weed. Although rarely occurring in crops it may affect e.g. rice as an alternative host of Periconia echinocloae, and sugar cane as an alternative host of Sporisorium culmiperdum and of sugarcane mosaic virus.

Environmental Impact

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In some areas of Hawaii, A. glomeratus has been noted to outcompete native plant species such as Heteropogon contortus, Dodonaea viscosa and the endemic Vaccinium reticulatum (Taylor, 1982).

Smith et al. (1980) have described the increase of Andropogon populations after fire (Smith et al., 1980). A. glomeratus is highly flammable throughout most of the year (Taylor, 1982), and so stands of this species could change fire regimes, whereby fires promote the conditions necessary to increase fire frequency and size by increasing the continuity and/or fuel loadings of alien grasses (Smith and Tunison, 1992).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Phyllostegia renovans (red-leaf phyllostegia)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010c
Platydesma rostrataCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010c
Poa mannii (Mann's bluegrass)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a
Psychotria grandiflora (large-flowered balsamo)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - stranglingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010c
Wilkesia hobdyi (dwarf iliau)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); National list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Increases vulnerability to invasions
  • Modification of fire regime
  • Transportation disruption
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - strangling
  • Competition
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Hybridization
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Social Benefit

A. glomeratus is used as an ornamental grass in landscapes because of its showy plumes that turn a rust colour during late autumn and early winter. In Mexico, this species is used for medicinal purposes and for the elaboration of traditional handicrafts, as well as for fodder (Mejía-Saulés and Dávila Aranda, 1992). As a forage grass, however A. glomeratus rates low in desirability (Newman and Gates, 2006). According to Newman and Gates (2006), this species is more palatable during the early spring, when comestibility is increased after a late winter burning.

Boughman and Oxendine (2004) listed several uses for this species in North America. In Cherokee traditional medicine combined with amaranth, it was used in the eleaboration of green corn medicine (a medicine used in a ceremony of the same name). Lumbee people use the soaked roots of A. glomeratus in an infusion to treat jaundice, frostbine and diarrhea. The Lumbee also use this species as an analgesic, febrifuge and antidiahrreal (Boughman and Oxendine, 2004).

Environmental Services

According to Newman and Gates (2006), some wildlife benefits from A. glomeratus: the junco finch (Junco spp.) and tree sparrow (Spizelloides arborea) eat the seeds; and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and rabbits browse this species. A. glomeratus also provides good cover for small animals such as mottled ducks (Anas fulvigula) and fawns (white-tailed deer) (Newman and Gates, 2006).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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A. glomeratus is similar in aspect and habit to A. bicornis (Standley and Steyermark,1952), but A. bicornis differs in lacking an awn on the fertile spikelet (awnless in A. glomeratus and A. virginicus). It is more easily confused with A. virginicus (Croat, 1978), with which it often hybridises (Campbell, 2003). A. glomeratus is distinguishible from A. virginicus by the former’s dense and agglomerated inflorescence, with racemes grouped together in the terminal portion (Morales, 2003). A. virginicus inflorescences are more sparse.

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.

Cultural Control and Sanitary Measures

Control by grazing should be done under strict vigilance, as overgrazing favors the increase of A. glomeratus (Newman and Gates, 2015).

Physical/Mechanical Control

It is not certain which strategies of physical control work on this species. Newman and Gates (2015) recommended mowing or burning. However, this species readily colonizes burnt areas (Taylor, 1982) and is benefited by overgrazing (a situation that could be emulated by mowing) (Newman and Gates, 2015).

Chemical Control

According to the USDA Weed Control Compendium (1983), herbicide application shows little or no effect on A. glomeratus. In contrast, McCarthy et al. (2001) stated that that this species is controllable with post-emergence treatments consisting in repeated applications of MSMA, DSMA, asulam, quinclorac, atrazine/simazine or metribuzin.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Chemical control of this species should be further studied, as there is some discrepancy with regards to the effect of herbicides on A. glomeratus. More importantly, available information on the effect of fire and mowing (and grazing) of this species as method of control could be counterproductive. As Taylor (1982) stated, the response of this species to fire could confound management attempts to protect resources from unplanned fires, to use prescribed fire to combat exotic plants, and to reintroduce natural fire to fire-type vegetation communities. Therefore, areas of recommended research include ecology and prevention and control. Also the germination behaviour and longevity of the seeds.

References

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Boughman AL, Oxendine LO, 2004. Herbal Remedies of the Lumbee Indians. Jefferson, NC, USA: McFarland, 191 pp.

Bowman WD, Strain BR, 1988. Response to long- and short-term salinity in populations of the C4 nonhalophyte Andropogon glomeratus Walter B. Oecologia, 75(1):73-77.

Britton NL, Poggenburg JF, Sterns EE, 1888. Preliminary catalogue of Anthophyta and Pteridophyta, reported as growing spontaneously within one hundred miles of New York City. Albany, New York, USA 122 pp.

Cain ML, Damman H, Muir A, 1998. Seed dispersal and the holocene migration of woodland herbs. Ecological Monographs, 68(3):325-347.

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31/10/15 Original text by:

Diana Quiroz, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Netherlands

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