Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Tripsacum latifolium
(wideleaf gamagrass)

Toolbox

Datasheet

Tripsacum latifolium (wideleaf gamagrass)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 29 May 2020
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Tripsacum latifolium
  • Preferred Common Name
  • wideleaf gamagrass
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Within its native distribution range, T. latifolium is described as a ‘rare’ grass species that sometimes grows to form extensive stands. It is cultivated throughout tropical areas as a fodder plant. Currently,...

  • There are no pictures available for this datasheet

    If you can supply pictures for this datasheet please contact:

    Compendia
    CAB International
    Wallingford
    Oxfordshire
    OX10 8DE
    UK
    compend@cabi.org
  • Distribution map More information

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report

Identity

Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Tripsacum latifolium Hitchc.

Preferred Common Name

  • wideleaf gamagrass

Other Scientific Names

  • Tripsacum lanceolatum var. monostachyum E.Fourn

International Common Names

  • Spanish: yerba cayena; zacate; zacate prodigioso

Local Common Names

  • Costa Rica: prodigioso
  • Cuba: yerba de cayena; zacate prodigio; zacate prodigioso

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page

Within its native distribution range, T. latifolium is described as a ‘rare’ grass species that sometimes grows to form extensive stands. It is cultivated throughout tropical areas as a fodder plant. Currently, it is listed as invasive in Cuba and Guam, but no information on its impacts or competition strategies has been reported.

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Monocotyledonae
  •                     Order: Cyperales
  •                         Family: Poaceae
  •                             Genus: Tripsacum
  •                                 Species: Tripsacum latifolium

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page

Poaceae is one of the largest families of flowering plants comprising 707 genera and more than 11,300 species distributed worldwide (Stevens, 2012). The genus Tripsacum contains 14 species, which occur from temperate North America to Paraguay in South America (Zuloaga et al., 2003; Clayton et al., 2017; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017). Tripsacum is closely related to Zea, the genus containing the cultigen maize and its wild relatives known as ‘teosintes’. These two genera share a number of morphological features, including the highly specialized cupulate fruitcase and the spikelet arrangement. They also have the potential to cross and produce viable but typically infertile hybrids. Because of their affinity to maize, Tripsacum species have been the subjects of numerous evolutionary, taxonomic and biosystematic studies and many cultivars have been developed (Doebley, 1983; USDA-NRCS, 2017).

Description

Top of page

The following description is adapted from Clayton et al. (2006): Perennial, rhizomes short. Culms geniculately ascending; robust; 250–500 cm long; 5–10 mm diameter. Leaf sheaths glabrous on surface, or pubescent. Leaf sheath oral hairs lacking, or pubescent. Leaf blades 30–90 cm long; 40–70 mm wide. Leaf blade surface pubescent; sparsely hairy; hairy adaxially. Leaf blade apex acuminate. Monoecious. Inflorescence composed of racemes; terminal and axillary. Racemes 1(–3); single; ascending; straight; smoothly terete; unilateral; 10–30 cm long. Spikelets comprising 1 basal sterile floret; 1 fertile floret; without rachilla extension. Spikelets oblong; dorsally compressed; 3–4 mm long; falling entire; deciduous with accessory branch structures. Spikelet callus base truncate; with central peg; attached transversely. Glumes dissimilar; reaching apex of florets; firmer than fertile lemma; shiny. Lower glume ovate; 1 length of spikelet; indurate; without keels. Lower glume apex acute. Upper glume ovate; without keels. Upper glume apex acute. Basal sterile florets barren; without significant palea. Lemma of lower sterile floret oblong; hyaline. Fertile florets female. Fertile lemma oblong; hyaline; without keel. Palea hyaline. Male spikelets distinct from female; all deciduous together; 3–5 mm long; hairy; obtuse. Male spikelet glumes 2; coriaceous. 

Plant Type

Top of page Grass / sedge
Perennial
Seed propagated

Distribution

Top of page

Tripsacum latifolium is native to Mexico and Central America. It has been introduced to South America, the Caribbean, Indonesia, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam (Clayton et al., 2017; PIER, 2017).

Distribution Table

Top of page

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: 27 May 2020

History of Introduction and Spread

Top of page

Tripsacum latifolium is cultivated as a fodder plant and for soil conservation and erosion control. This species has been introduced on islands across the Caribbean, the Pacific Ocean and Indonesia, but details on the date and history of introduction are not available (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; Clayton et al., 2017; PIER, 2017; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017).

Habitat

Top of page

Tripsacum latifolium can be found growing in grasslands, dry forests, pine forests, dry thickets, rocky hills, riverbanks, ravines, open hills and forest edges (Swallen, 1955; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017).

Habitat List

Top of page
CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedManaged grasslands (grazing systems) Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Natural
Disturbed areas Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Natural
Rail / roadsides Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Natural
Natural grasslands Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Natural
Riverbanks Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Natural

Biology and Ecology

Top of page

Genetics

Tripsacum species are wild genetic relatives of cultivated maize Zea mays. The chromosome number of T. latifolium is 2n = 36 (Leblanc et al., 1995; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017).

Reproductive Biology

Tripsacum latifolium is a monoecious, wind-pollinated species with male and female spikelets in the same inflorescence (Swallen, 1955; Clayton et al., 2006).

Physiology and Phenology

In Central America, T. latifolium flowers and fruits in April (Davidse et al., 1994; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017).

Longevity

Tripsacum latifolium is a perennial, long-lived grass species (Clayton et al., 2006; USDA-NRCS, 2017).

Environmental Requirements

Tripsacum latifolium prefers moist habitats at elevations from sea level up to 1500 m. It grows in moist soils, with textures ranging from sand to clay (Swallen, 1955; Davidse et al., 1994; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017).

Climate

Top of page
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])

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

Top of page
Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
30 15

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal

Soil Tolerances

Top of page

Soil drainage

  • free

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page

Tripsacum latifolium is a wind-pollinated species (Swallen, 1955).

Pathway Causes

Top of page
CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
ForageCultivated as fodder plant Yes Yes Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017
Habitat restoration and improvementSometimes planted for erosion control and soil conservation Yes Yes Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017

Impact Summary

Top of page
CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Positive
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Impact

Top of page

Within its native distribution range, T. latifolium is described as a ‘rare’ grass species that sometimes grows to form extensive stands (Swallen, 1955; Davidse et al., 1994). Currently, it is listed as invasive in Cuba and Guam, but no information on its impacts or competition strategies has been reported (Oviedo et al., 2012; PIER, 2017).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Long lived
  • Gregarious
Impact outcomes
  • Monoculture formation
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

Top of page

Tripsacum latifolium is cultivated as a fodder plant and for soil conservation and erosion control (Clayton et al., 2017; PIER, 2017; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017).

Uses List

Top of page

Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed

Environmental

  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Soil conservation

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page

Tripsacum latifolium resembles T. andersonii in its stoloniferous growth habit, but differs from T. andersonii in its smaller (4-6 mm long) staminate spikelets that are sessile (Wet et al., 1983).

References

Top of page

Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Strong, M. T., 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies, Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution.1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Clayton WD, Vorontsova MS, Harman KT, Williamson H, 2006. GrassBase - The Online World Grass Flora. London, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.http://www.kew.org/data/grasses-db.html

Clayton, WD, Govaerts, R, Harman, KT, Williamson, H, Vorontsova, M, 2017. World Checklist of Poaceae. Richmond, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/

Davidse G, Sousa Sánchez M, Chater AO, 1994. Flora Mesoamericana. Volumen 6. Alismataceae a Cyperaceae, Mexico City, Mexico: Instituto de Biologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM).

Doebley JF, 1983. The taxonomy and evolution of Tripsacum and teosinte, the closest relatives of maize. [International Maize Virus Disease Colloquium and Workshop, Wooster, Ohio (USA), 2-6 Aug 1982], Ohio, USA: Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Leblanc O, Peel MD, Carman JG, Savidan Y, 1995. Megasporogenesis and megagametogenesis in several Tripsacum species (Poaceae). American Journal of Botany, 82(1), 57-63.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017. Tropicos database. In: Tropicos database St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden.http://www.tropicos.org/

Oviedo Prieto, R., González-Oliva, L., 2015. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2015. (Lista nacional de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2015). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 9(Special Issue No. 2), 1-88. http://repositorio.geotech.cu/jspui/bitstream/1234/1476/4/Lista%20nacional%20de%20plantas%20invasoras%20de%20Cuba-2015.pdf

Oviedo Prieto, R., Herrera Oliver, P., Caluff, M. G., et al., 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 6(Special Issue No. 1), 22-96.

PIER, 2017. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. In: Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii.http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

Stevens PF, 2012. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/

Swallen JR, 1955. Gramineae. In: Flora of Guatemala---Part II, 24(2) [ed. by Standley PC, Steyermark JA]. 1-390.

USDA-ARS, 2017. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. In: Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory.https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2017. The PLANTS Database. In: The PLANTS Database Greensboro, North Carolina, USA: National Plant Data Team.https://plants.sc.egov.usda.gov

Wet, J. M. J. de, Fletcher, G. B., Hilu, K. W., Harlan, J. R., 1983. Origin of Tripsacum andersonii (Gramineae). American Journal of Botany, 70(5), 706-711. doi: 10.2307/2443124

Zuloaga, F. O., Morrone, O., Davidse, G., Filgueiras, T. S., Peterson, P. M., Soreng, R. J., Judziewicz, E. J., 2003. Catalogue of New World Grasses (Poaceae): III. Subfamilies Panicoideae, Aristidoideae, Arundinoideae and Danthonioideae, [ed. by Zuloaga, F. O., Morrone, O., Davidse, G., Filgueiras, T. S., Peterson, P. M., Soreng, R. J., Judziewicz, E.]. Washington, USA: Department of Systematic Biology - Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.662 pp.

Distribution References

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong M T, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. 1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Clayton WD, Govaerts R, Harman KT, Williamson H, Vorontsova M, 2017. World Checklist of Poaceae., Richmond, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017. Tropicos database. In: Tropicos database. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/

Oviedo Prieto R, Herrera Oliver P, Caluff M G, et al, 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba. 6 (Special Issue No. 1), 22-96.

PIER, 2017. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. In: Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

Zuloaga F O, Morrone O, Davidse G, Filgueiras T S, Peterson P M, Soreng R J, Judziewicz E J, 2003. Catalogue of New World Grasses (Poaceae): III. Subfamilies Panicoideae, Aristidoideae, Arundinoideae and Danthonioideae. [ed. by Zuloaga F O, Morrone O, Davidse G, Filgueiras T S, Peterson P M, Soreng R J, Judziewicz E]. Washington, USA: Department of Systematic Biology - Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. 662 pp.

Links to Websites

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

Contributors

Top of page

23/11/17 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map