Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Dactyloctenium aegyptium
(crowfoot grass)

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Datasheet

Dactyloctenium aegyptium (crowfoot grass)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 15 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Dactyloctenium aegyptium
  • Preferred Common Name
  • crowfoot grass
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Producing large quantities of seeds, D. aegyptium is a pioneer grass that quickly colonizes disturbed areas with light sandy soils, often near to coasts or where water accumulates. It is a common component of w...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
D. aegyptium is a grass, with characteristic 'bird's foot' digitate inflorescence, up to 50 cm tall.
TitleLeaves and inflorescences - colour illustration
CaptionD. aegyptium is a grass, with characteristic 'bird's foot' digitate inflorescence, up to 50 cm tall.
CopyrightNOVARTIS
D. aegyptium is a grass, with characteristic 'bird's foot' digitate inflorescence, up to 50 cm tall.
Leaves and inflorescences - colour illustrationD. aegyptium is a grass, with characteristic 'bird's foot' digitate inflorescence, up to 50 cm tall.NOVARTIS
Ligule membraneous, ca 1 mm long, ciliolate along the upper edge; leaf blades flat when mature, rolled when in bud, linear, up to 12 mm wide.
TitleLeaf and ligule - line drawing
CaptionLigule membraneous, ca 1 mm long, ciliolate along the upper edge; leaf blades flat when mature, rolled when in bud, linear, up to 12 mm wide.
CopyrightNOVARTIS
Ligule membraneous, ca 1 mm long, ciliolate along the upper edge; leaf blades flat when mature, rolled when in bud, linear, up to 12 mm wide.
Leaf and ligule - line drawingLigule membraneous, ca 1 mm long, ciliolate along the upper edge; leaf blades flat when mature, rolled when in bud, linear, up to 12 mm wide.NOVARTIS
Spikelets 4 mm long, strongly compressed, ovate, usually 3-flowered.
TitleSpikelets - line drawing
CaptionSpikelets 4 mm long, strongly compressed, ovate, usually 3-flowered.
CopyrightNOVARTIS
Spikelets 4 mm long, strongly compressed, ovate, usually 3-flowered.
Spikelets - line drawingSpikelets 4 mm long, strongly compressed, ovate, usually 3-flowered.NOVARTIS
Inflorescence digitate, composed of 4-8 spreading spikes. Spikes 1.5-6 cm long, on maturity often somewhat recurved, greenish-yellow or pallid.
TitleInflorescence - line drawing
CaptionInflorescence digitate, composed of 4-8 spreading spikes. Spikes 1.5-6 cm long, on maturity often somewhat recurved, greenish-yellow or pallid.
CopyrightNOVARTIS
Inflorescence digitate, composed of 4-8 spreading spikes. Spikes 1.5-6 cm long, on maturity often somewhat recurved, greenish-yellow or pallid.
Inflorescence - line drawingInflorescence digitate, composed of 4-8 spreading spikes. Spikes 1.5-6 cm long, on maturity often somewhat recurved, greenish-yellow or pallid.NOVARTIS

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Dactyloctenium aegyptium (L.) Willd.

Preferred Common Name

  • crowfoot grass

Other Scientific Names

  • Aegilops saccharinum Walter
  • Chloris guineensis Schumach. and Thonn
  • Chloris mucronata Michx.
  • Chloris prostrata (Willd.) Poir.
  • Cynosurus aegyptius Linn.
  • Dactyloctenium aegyptiacum Willd.
  • Dactyloctenium aegyptium var. mucronatum (L.) Willd
  • Dactyloctenium aegyptius var. mucronatum (Michx.) Lanza and Mattei
  • Dactyloctenium figarei De Not.
  • Dactyloctenium meridionale Ham.
  • Dactyloctenium mpuetense De Wild.
  • Eleusine aegyptia (L.) Pers. Richt
  • Eleusine cruciata Elliott
  • Eleusine prostrata Spreng.
  • Rabdochloa mucronata (Michx.) P.Beauv.

International Common Names

  • English: beach wiregrass; coast button grass; crow's foot; duck grass; Egyptian crowfoot grass; Egyptian grass; finger comb grass
  • Spanish: estrella de mar; pata de gallo; yerba egipcia; zacate egipcio
  • French: chiendent patte-de-poule
  • Chinese: long zhao mao

Local Common Names

  • Australia: coast button grass
  • Brazil: grama-de-dedo-egípcia; grama-egípcia ; mao de sapo; mão-de-sapo; três-dedos
  • Colombia: estrella del mar; paja de palma; tres dedos
  • Cuba: cepillito; pata de gallina; zanca de mulo
  • Egypt: naim el salib; rigel el herbaya
  • India: madana; makra
  • Indonesia: sapabang babi
  • Indonesia/Java: soeket dringoan
  • Japan: tatsunotsumegaya
  • Lebanon: rigel ul herbayah
  • Malaysia: Egyptian finger grass
  • Mauritius: chiendent
  • Mexico: pata de gallo; pata de pollo; zacate egipcio; zacate Egipto
  • Myanmar: didok chio; myet-le-gra
  • Peru: pata de gallina falsa
  • Philippines: alam; damong balang
  • Puerto Rico: krus-krusan; yerba egipcia
  • South Africa: gewone hoenderspoor; hoenderspoorgras; natalweek
  • Sri Lanka: puta tana
  • Sudan: tapik djalak; um assabia
  • Taiwan: ai-ji-jr-shu-tsau
  • Thailand: ya-pak-khwai
  • USA/Hawaii: beach wiregrass
  • Vietnam: co chan ga

EPPO code

  • DTTAE (Dactyloctenium aegyptium)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Producing large quantities of seeds, D. aegyptium is a pioneer grass that quickly colonizes disturbed areas with light sandy soils, often near to coasts or where water accumulates. It is a common component of weed floras throughout the tropics but is rarely reported as an aggressive weed on its own. It is not on federal or state noxious weed lists in the USA and is not recorded on the ISSG database but is recorded by PIER (2016) as invasive on a number of Pacific and American islands including French Polynesia Islands, Micronesia, the Northern Mariana Islands and Hawaii. It is also listed as invasive on islands in the Mediterranean, the USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and the Lesser Antilles (Vibrans, 2009; Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2011;Chacón and Saborío, 2012; Burg et al., 2012; Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015; DAISIE, 2016; USDA-NRCS, 2016).

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Dactyloctenium aegyptium belongs to the tribe Eragrostideae, (Poaceae: Subfamily Chloridoideae). The genus Dactyloctenium comprises 12 species distributed primarily across Africa and Asia (Stevens, 2012; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016). The species was originally designated as Cynosurus aegyptius by Linnaeus (1753). Willdenow misspelled the specific epithet as "aegyptiacus," but this is simply an orthographical error. The name was later corrected by Beauvoir and now the accepted name is Dactyloctenium aegyptium (L.) Willd. 

Description

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D. aegyptium is a grass, with characteristic 'bird's foot' digitate inflorescence, up to 50 cm tall.

Annual, never stoloniferous. Culms up to 50 cm tall, up to 5 noded, geniculately ascending, usually rooting from the lower nodes, thus giving the plants a pseudo-stoloniferous appearance, not rarely forming radiate mats, branched from the lower nodes; internodes cylindrical, glabrous, smooth, striate, exserted above, variable in length; nodes thickened and glabrous. Young shoots cylindrical or rounded. Leaf-sheaths keeled, up to 5 cm long, rather lax, striate, tuberculately hairy on the keel or quite glabrous; ligule membranous, about 1 mm long, ciliolate along the upper edge; leaf blades flat when mature, rolled when in bud, linear, tapering to a fine point, up to 20 cm long and 12 mm wide, with 3-5 primary nerves on either side of the midrib, glaucous, usually more or less densely tuberculately hairy along the margins and the keel, less conspicuously so on the adaxial surface towards the tip.

Inflorescence digitate, composed of 4-8 spreading spikes. Spikes 1.5-6 cm long, on maturity often somewhat recurved, greenish-yellow or pallid; rachis keeled, smooth near the base, scaberulous towards the apex, tip mucroniform and curved. Spikelets 4 mm long, strongly compressed, ovate, solitary, sessile, patent alternately left and right on the ventral side of the axis; dense, forming a very flat comb, usually 3-flowered; lower florets bisexual, the upper florets rudimentary; axis without terminal stipe. Lower glume 2 mm long and 2 mm wide, ovate in profile, 1-nerved, sharply keeled, keel scabrid; upper glume 2 mm long excluding the 1.5-2 mm-long awn, oblong in profile, 1-nerved, sharply keeled, keel scabrid. Rachilla slender. Lemmas 3-4 mm wide, the upper smaller in dimensions (but similar), folded about the keel which is scabrid, broadly ovate in profile, lateral nerves delicate and indistinct; uppermost lemma epaleate. Paleas about 3 mm long, 2-nerved, keels scabrid, dorsally concave, shortly bifid at the apex. Three anthers, pale-yellow, 0.3-0.5 mm long, anther cells somewhat remote, with a conspicuous connective. Caryopsis sub-triangular or sub-quadrate, laterally compressed, rugose, light-brown, apex truncate, never convex, remains of pericarp at times visible. (Fisher and Schweickerdt, 1941).

Plant Type

Top of page Annual
Grass / sedge
Herbaceous
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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Described as native to the Old World tropics, D. aegyptium has a pantropical distribution, with some extensions in the subtropics (PIER, 2016). Natural populations occur in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and tropical and temperate Asia. It was introduced in Europe, North, Central and South America, the West Indies, Australia, and on a number of islands in the Pacific (Holm et al., 1979; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; Clayton et al., 2016; DAISIE, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016).

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

AfghanistanPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
BahrainPresentNativeChaudhary et al., 1981; USDA-ARS, 2016
BangladeshPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
CambodiaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
ChinaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-FujianPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-GuangdongPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-GuizhouPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-HainanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-SichuanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-YunnanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-ZhejiangPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
Cocos IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
IndiaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; USDA-ARS, 2016
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016
-Andhra PradeshPresentIntroduced Not invasive Ushakumari et al., 2001
-AssamPresentNativeShukla, 1996; Clayton et al., 2016
-BiharPresentIntroduced Not invasive Shukla, 1996
-DelhiPresentIntroduced Not invasive Shukla, 1996
-GujaratPresent Not invasive Rao et al., 2001
-HaryanaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Yadav et al., 2002
-Himachal PradeshPresentIntroduced Not invasive Shukla, 1996
-Indian PunjabEradicatedIntroduced Not invasive Sharma and Khosla, 1989
-Jammu and KashmirPresentIntroduced Not invasive Shukla, 1996
-KarnatakaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Shukla, 1996
-KeralaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Musthafa and Potty, 2001
-Madhya PradeshPresentIntroduced Not invasive Shukla, 1996
-MaharashtraPresentIntroduced Not invasive Shukla, 1996
-MeghalayaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Shukla, 1996
-NagalandPresentIntroduced Not invasive Shukla, 1996
-OdishaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Shukla, 1996
-RajasthanPresentIntroduced Not invasive Sharma and Bhunia, 1999
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroduced Not invasive Shukla, 1996
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroduced Not invasive Shukla, 1996
-West BengalPresentIntroduced Not invasive Shukla, 1996
IndonesiaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
-JavaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
-MoluccasPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
-Nusa TenggaraPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
-SulawesiPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
-SumatraPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
IranPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
IraqPresentNativeBor, 1968; Clayton et al., 2016
IsraelPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2016
JapanPresentIntroduced Not invasive Koyama, 1987; Clayton et al., 2016
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresentIntroduced Not invasive Koyama, 1987
KazakhstanPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
Korea, Republic ofPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016
KuwaitPresentIntroduced Not invasive Boulos, 1988
LaosPresentNativeWaterhouse, 1993; Clayton et al., 2016
LebanonPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
MalaysiaPresentNativeWycherley & Mohd, 1974; Clayton et al., 2016
MyanmarPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
NepalPresentNativeDangol, 2001; Clayton et al., 2016
OmanPresentNativeChaudhary et al., 1981; Clayton et al., 2016
PakistanPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
PalestinePresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
PhilippinesPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
QatarPresentNativeBatanouny, 1981; USDA-ARS, 2016
Saudi ArabiaPresentNativeMigahid, 1974; Clayton et al., 2016
SingaporePresentIntroduced Not invasive Waterhouse, 1993
Sri LankaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
TaiwanPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
ThailandPresentNativeNoda et al., 1985; Clayton et al., 2016
TurkeyPresentNativeDavis, 1985; Clayton et al., 2016
United Arab EmiratesPresentNativeChaudhary et al., 1981; Clayton et al., 2016
VietnamPresentNativeHo-Minh, 1969; Clayton et al., 2016
YemenPresentNativeChaudhary et al., 1981; Clayton et al., 2016

Africa

AlgeriaPresentNativeQuezel and Santa, 1962; Clayton et al., 2016
AngolaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
BeninPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
BotswanaPresentNativeGibbs-Russel et al., 1990; Clayton et al., 2016
Burkina FasoPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
BurundiPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
CameroonPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
Cape VerdePresentNativeLima and Duclos, 2001; Clayton et al., 2016
Central African RepublicPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
ChadPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
CongoPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
Côte d'IvoirePresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
DjiboutiPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
EgyptPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
EritreaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
EthiopiaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
GabonPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
GambiaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
GhanaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
GuineaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
Guinea-BissauPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
KenyaPresentNativeClayton et al., 1974; Clayton et al., 2016
LiberiaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
LibyaPresentNativeKeith, 1965; Clayton et al., 2016
MadagascarPresentNativeMOBOT, 2004; Clayton et al., 2016
MalawiPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
MaliPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
MauritaniaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
MauritiusPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
MoroccoPresentIntroduced1980 Invasive Tanji and Taleb, 1997
MozambiquePresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
NamibiaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Gibbs-Russel et al., 1990
NigerPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
NigeriaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Holm et al., 1979
RéunionPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
RwandaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
Saint HelenaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016
SenegalPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
SeychellesPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2016
Sierra LeonePresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
SomaliaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
South AfricaPresentNativeGibbs-Russel et al., 1990; Clayton et al., 2016
SudanPresentNativeBraun et al., 1991; Clayton et al., 2016
SwazilandPresentNativeGibbs-Russel et al., 1990; Clayton et al., 2016
TanzaniaPresentNativeClayton et al., 1974; Clayton et al., 2016
-ZanzibarEradicatedIntroduced Not invasive Clayton et al., 1974
TogoPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
TunisiaPresentNativeBonnet and Barratte, 1896; Clayton et al., 2016
UgandaPresentNativeClayton et al., 1974; Clayton et al., 2016
ZambiaPresentNativeVernon, 1983; Clayton et al., 2016
ZimbabwePresentNativeDrummond, 1984; Clayton et al., 2016

North America

MexicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Vibrans, 2009
USAPresentHolm et al., 1979
-AlabamaPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-ArizonaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-ArkansasPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-CaliforniaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2016
-ColoradoPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-FloridaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004; Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2011
-GeorgiaPresentUSDA-NRCS, 2004
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Haselwood and Motter, 1966; Holm et al., 1977; PIER, 2016
-IllinoisPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-LouisianaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2016
-MainePresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-MarylandPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-MassachusettsPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-MississippiPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-New JerseyPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-New MexicoPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-New YorkPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-North CarolinaPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-OhioPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-South CarolinaPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-TennesseePresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2016
-TexasPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004
-VirginiaPresentIntroduced Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2004

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
ArubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Burg et al., 2012
BahamasPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
BarbadosPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
BelizePresentIntroducedMOBOT, 2004; Clayton et al., 2016
BonairePresentIntroduced Invasive Burg et al., 2012
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015Anegada, Guana, Tortola, Virgin Gorda
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Costa RicaPresentIntroduced Invasive MOBOT, 2004; Chacón and Saborío, 2012
CubaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
CuraçaoPresentIntroduced Invasive Burg et al., 2012
DominicaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979; Clayton et al., 2016
GrenadaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedMOBOT, 2004; Clayton et al., 2016
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
HondurasPresentIntroducedMOBOT, 2004; Clayton et al., 2016
JamaicaPresentIntroducedAnon, 1964; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
MartiniquePresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
MontserratPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedMOBOT, 2004; Clayton et al., 2016
PanamaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979; Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015
SabaPresentIntroduced Invasive Burg et al., 2012
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Sint EustatiusPresentIntroduced Invasive Burg et al., 2012
Sint MaartenPresentIntroduced Invasive Burg et al., 2012
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedAnon, 1964; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015St Croix, St John, St Thomas

South America

ArgentinaWidespreadIntroducedZuloaga et al., 2008Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Chaco, Córdoba, Formosa, Jujuy, La Pampa, La Rioja, Mendoza, Salta, Santiago del Estero, Santa Fe, San Juan, San Luis, Tucumán
BoliviaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016
Brazil
-AlagoasPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-AmapaPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-BahiaPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-CearaPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-Espirito SantoPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-GoiasPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-MaranhaoPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-Mato GrossoPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-ParaPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-ParaibaPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-PernambucoPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-PiauiPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-Rio de JaneiroPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-Rio Grande do NortePresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-Rio Grande do SulPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-RoraimaPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-Santa CatarinaPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-Sao PauloPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-SergipePresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
-TocantinsPresentIntroducedFilgueiras and Valls, 2015Naturalized
ColombiaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016
EcuadorPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Charles Darwin Foundation, 2008
French GuianaPresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007
GuyanaPresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007
ParaguayPresentIntroducedZuloaga et al., 2008
PeruPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016
SurinamePresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007
UruguayPresentIntroducedZuloaga et al., 2008Montevideo
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007

Europe

BelgiumPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2016
CyprusPresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2016
Czech RepublicPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2016
GreecePresentIntroduced Invasive Halàcsy, 1904; DAISIE, 2016
ItalyPresentIntroduced Invasive Arcangeli, 1894; DAISIE, 2016
-SicilyPresentIntroduced Invasive DAISIE, 2016
PortugalPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-MadeiraPresentIntroduced Invasive Press & Short, 1994; DAISIE, 2016
SpainPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2016
AustraliaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016
-New South WalesPresentIntroducedAusGrass2, 2016
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedPPSWA, 2004; Clayton et al., 2016
Cook IslandsPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2004
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Florence et al., 2013; PIER, 2016Invasive on several islands
GuamPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
KiribatiPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2004; PIER, 2016Tarawa Atoll
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016Kosrae Island
Midway IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
NauruPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive MacKee, 1994; PIER, 2016
NiuePresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
PalauPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroduced Invasive Henty, 1969; Clayton et al., 2016; PIER, 2016
SamoaPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2004
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2004
TongaPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2004
TuvaluPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2004
US Minor Outlying IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016Wake Island, Johnston Atoll
VanuatuPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2004
Wallis and Futuna IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016

History of Introduction and Spread

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Although this annual grass now has a pan-tropical distribution, few records exist on its introduction and consequent spread. It was introduced in Morocco in 1980 via contaminated crop seed and subsequently became a major weed in many areas by 1996 (Tanji and Taleb, 1997). In the Americas, D. aegyptium was introduced by accident and spread as a weed in maize and other crops (Bogdan, 1977). In Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands it was first reported in 1876 (Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015). In Australia it was introduced in the 1860s to be used as a sand stabilizer and now can be found across Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Christmas Island and Cocos Island (AusGrass2, 2016).

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of introduction of D. aegyptium is moderate to high. In some areas of Asia and Africa, it is widely used as forage and therefore new introductions are probable (Manidool, 1992). Inspections of shipments of grain and vegetable seed entering Canada have occasionally identified seed of D. aegyptium, indicating the potential for further accidental movement of this species around the world.

Habitat

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D. aegyptium grows as a weed in arable lands and waste places including those near the sea. It prefers light sandy soils in open sunny places that are dry or somewhat moist. Within its native range in East Africa, this species can be found at elevations from sea level to 2100 m (Clayton et al., 1974). It becomes established in disturbed areas, particularly agricultural fields in tropical and warm temperate areas. In Hawaii, it usually occurs on sand where it has become partially stabilized, on lava, along roadsides, and in other dry, exposed, disturbed areas (PIER, 2004). It is also known from riparian areas in the Sonora Desert of Arizona, USA (Van Devender, 1997). It is also a common weed in disturbed sites, open grounds, and roadsides. In Australia, it is common in disturbed areas but also present in open Eucalyptus forest on a variety of soils, and on coastal dunes (AusGrass2, 2016).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Deserts Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details

Hosts/Species Affected

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D. aegyptium is a ubiquitous weed in many cropping systems around the world. Holm et al. (1977) classified the degree of importance of D. aegyptium on crops in different countries, in decreasing level of severity, as follows: a serious weed of cotton in Thailand; a principal weed of cotton in Australia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and USA, of sugarcane in India, the Philippines and Taiwan, of groundnuts in the Gambia and USA, of maize in Ghana and India and of rice in Sri Lanka and India; a common weed of rice in Indonesia, Nigeria and the Philippines, of coffee in Kenya and Tanzania and of tea in Taiwan and it occurs in bananas, pawpaws, cassava, citrus, sweet potatoes and millet in countries of Africa, Asia and Central America.

D. aegyptium has also been recorded in the weed flora of the following crops: aubergines in India; black gram (Vigna mungo) in Bangladesh and India; cassava in the Philippines; chickpeas in India; chillies (Capsicum) in India; cotton in Brazil, South China, India, Nepal, Thailand, USA and Zambia; cowpeas in India; finger millet (Eleusine coracana) in India; groundnuts in Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Senegal and USA; maize in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines and USA; jute in India; mint in India; mung beans (Vigna radiata) in India; okras in Nigeria; pawpaws in the Philippines; pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) in Burkina Faso, Mali and India; pigeon peas in India; potatoes in the Philippines; rice (transplanted) in India, Indonesia and Pakistan; rice (upland) in Cameroon, Gambia, India and Nigeria; sesame in India; sorghum in Australia, India; soyabeans in Ghana, India, Côte d'Ivoire, Pakistan, Senegal; sugarcane in India, Taiwan and Peru; sweet potatoes in the Philippines, Taiwan and USA; tobacco in India; wheat in Bangladesh and India; yams in India and the Philippines.

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Cytogenetic studies for D. aegyptium have reported chromosome numbers varied from 2n = 20, 36, 40, to 2n=48 for plants growing in areas within and outside its native distribution range (Hatch, 2003; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016).

Physiology and Phenology

D. aegyptium is a C4 grass. In warm regions it flowers all year round. In China, it has been recorded flowering and fruiting from May to October (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016). In summer rainfall areas of South Africa, flowering occurs from January to April (van Oudtshoorn, 1999). This species germinates over a range of 15 to 40°C, with the optimum germination of accessions from USA occurring at 30°C. Total germination is greatest in an alternating 20 and 35°C temperature regime. Emergence is similar when seed is on the soil surface or buried at depths of 0.5 or 1 cm. Germination decreases with burial depth, and no seed emerges from 10 cm (Burke et al., 2003).

Reproductive Biology

D. aegyptium is an annual grass that produces spikelets with flowers pollinated by wind. One plant can produce up to 66,000 seeds that, after 19 years, still attained 5% germination (Holm et al., 1977).  This species spreads mainly by seeds but also has creeping or spreading stems that root at the lower nodes.

Environmental Requirements

D. aegyptium occurs from sea level to 2100 m in areas receiving 400-1500 mm rainfall annually (Clayton et al., 1974; Manidool, 1992). It is a common weed of disturbed places such as cultivated lands, gardens and roadsides, usually where additional water collects. It is adapted to a wide range of soil types but is particularly well suited to disturbed areas on sands to sandy loam soils. Salt tolerant ecotypes have been reported in Nigeria (Adu et al., 1994). It does not stand prolonged flooding (Manidool, 1992). D. aegyptium is one of the most drought-resistant African grasses as it can quickly grow and seed during the wet season (Heuzé et al., 2015).

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 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])
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 18 26
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 30 32
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 1 22

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration15number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall5201500mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Summer

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • saline

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

D. aegyptium spreads primarily by seeds but it also has creeping or spreading stems which root at the lower nodes (Holm et al., 1977). Dispersal is likely to be in water run-off, by wind, and by seed-eating insects, birds and mammals.


Accidental Introduction

Because D. aegyptium grows as a weed in agricultural lands and in disturbed sites, its seeds can be carried in soil on tractors and implements from site to site. This species has been dispersed as a contaminant in crop seed as a weed in crops (Bogdan, 1977).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Escape from confinement or garden escapeContaminant in crops and crop seeds Yes Yes Heuzé et al., 2015
ForageUsed as fodder and for hay production Yes Yes Heuzé et al., 2015
Habitat restoration and improvementPlanted as soil stabilizer Yes Yes AusGrass2, 2016

Pathway Vectors

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Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
True seeds (inc. grain) Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Bark
Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx
Fruits (inc. pods)
Growing medium accompanying plants
Leaves
Roots
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches
Wood

Wood Packaging

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Wood Packaging not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Loose wood packing material
Non-wood
Processed or treated wood
Solid wood packing material with bark
Solid wood packing material without bark

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Crop production Negative
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Forestry production None
Human health None
Livestock production Positive
Native fauna None
Native flora Negative
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Economic Impact

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D. aegyptium is a ubiquitous weed in many cropping systems around the world; the level of infestation and damage caused vary according to crop and location.

Holm et al. (1977) classified the degree of importance of D. aegyptium on crops in different countries, in decreasing level of severity, as follows: a serious weed of cotton in Thailand; a principal weed of cotton in Australia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and the USA, of sugarcane in India, the Philippines and Taiwan, of groundnuts in the Gambia and the USA, of maize in Ghana and India and of rice in Sri Lanka and India; a common weed of rice in Indonesia, Nigeria and the Philippines, of coffee in Kenya and Tanzania and of tea in Taiwan and it occurs in bananas, pawpaws, cassava, citrus, sweet potatoes and millet in countries of Africa, Asia and Central America. It has been noted in the weed flora of many other crops.

Data on yield loss caused by D. aegyptium alone is scarce, as it usually occurs as one of several weeds infesting fields. However, yield losses of 40% have been reported in aromatic grasses, Cymbopogon winterianus, C. flexuosus and C. martinii, infested with D. aegyptium (Singh et al., 1991).

The weed has been reported to be an alternate host of the Rice tungro virus and of rice bug in Asia (IRRI, 2004).

Environmental Impact

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D. aegyptium is an environmental weed occurring in many countries across tropical and subtropical regions (Clayton et al., 2016). It has been listed as a weed and invasive species in Greece, Italy, Madeira, the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Galapagos Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and on many islands in the Lesser Antilles and the Pacific Ocean (Villaseñor and Espinosa-Garcia, 2004; Vibrans, 2009; Chacón and Saborío, 2012; Burg et al., 2012; Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015; DAISIE, 2016; PIER, 2016; USDA-NRCS, 2016). In Florida (USA) it is listed as an invasive grass that is increasing in abundance and is starting to displace native vegetation (Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2011). In Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands it invades primarily ruderal areas, secondary forests and coastal sites (Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015). In Mexico it is invading coastal areas, negatively impacting native coastal vegetation (Villaseñor and Espinosa-Garcia, 2004; Vibrans, 2009). In the Galapagos Islands it is invading dry coastal areas (Charles Darwin Foundation, 2008).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Calidris canutus (red knot)NT (IUCN red list: Near threatened) NT (IUCN red list: Near threatened); USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened speciesFloridaEcosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2013
Panicum fauriei (Carter's panicgrass)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011
Scaevola coriacea (dwarf naupaka)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a
Sesbania tomentosaNational list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b

Social Impact

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There are no reports of D. aegyptium causing any social impacts.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition
  • Pest and disease transmission
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

Uses

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 D. aegyptium is widely used as forage and is relished by all types of ruminants (Manidool, 1992). Although D. aegyptium is a palatable pioneer grass that can quickly colonize disturbed areas, it seldom forms an important component of natural grassland and in Southern Africa is not considered a valuable grazing grass (van Oudtshoorn, 1999). It has been used as a cereal substitute in times of famine in parts of Africa and India, but it is not very palatable and is not cultivated for this purpose (van Oudtshoorn, 1999). This species makes excellent hay (Manidool, 1992). In Perth, Western Australia, it has been used as a lawn species (PPSWA, 2004). In Haryana, India, the grass is reported to provide fuel, fodder and stabilizes soil in natural woodland and plantations (Jalota et al., 2000). D. aegyptium is used as a stabilizer of sandy soils in Australia and for erosion control elsewhere (Heuzé et al., 2015).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage

Environmental

  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Soil conservation

Human food and beverage

  • Cereal
  • Emergency (famine) food

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Detection and Inspection

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D. aegyptium is usually identified initially by the characteristic 'bird's foot' arrangement of the inflorescence with 4-8 spreading spikes. It is sometimes found as seed during inspections of seed samples.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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D. aegyptium may be readily confused with D. giganteum, although this plant is usually taller (culms up to 150 cm) and more robust than D. aegyptium. The anthers of D. aegyptium are 0.3-0.5 mm long, with the connective tissue clearly visible; they are 1.5-2.5 mm long in D. giganteum, with the connective tissue invisible.

Prevention and Control

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Cultural Control

The following practices are useful in weed management of annual grasses such as D. aegyptium: early weeding to correspond with peaks of germination; weeding during the critical period of the crop that is infested; weeding before maturation of weed seeds, to prevent dissemination; preparation of a weed-free seedbed; rotation of crops; and the use of living or dead organic mulches (Maillet, 1991).

IPM Programmes

Intercropping with leafy crops is used extensively to suppress weed growth. In India, pigeon pea/soyabean intercropping and application of fluchloralin with inter-row cultivation have been used (Nimje, 1993). In India, intercropping of sorghum with cowpeas, green gram (Vigna radiata), groundnuts and soyabeans suppressed the growth of D. aegyptium and increased sorghum yields (Abraham and Singh, 1986).

Growers of aromatic grasses, Cymbopogon winterianus, C. flexuosus and C. martinii, used an organic mulch, of the mint pulp after extraction, to suppress weeds including D. aegyptium; they also used chemical control. Applying mulch or using oxyfluorfen gave fresh weight and oil yields of mint equivalent to control plots that were maintained free of weeds by hand weeding (Singh et al., 1991).

Pannu et al. (1988) found that the type of irrigation and crop geometry had no effect on weed levels in groundnuts in India; however, hand weeding combined with fluchloralin application gave weed control (combined treatments were more effective than when used alone).

Land preparation methods affect the development of D. aegyptium. In Pakistan, Majid et al. (1986) found that deep chiselling and tied ridge sowing gave effective weed reduction and the highest grain yields of maize.

In upland rice, preparation of a stale seedbed, ploughing with post-emergence propanil, and hand weeding are methods that have been used to control D. aegyptium (Moorthy, 1992).

Chemical Control

The following chemicals and combinations of chemicals have been used to control D. aegyptium. Atrazine, atrazine-terbutryn, atrazine-simazine, fluchloralin and linuron. Foliar-applied propanil and paraquat. Soil treatments with pebulate, EPTC, nitralin, trifluralin, DCPA [chlorthal], diuron, fluometuron and prometryn have also been used (Soerjani et al., 1987)

In rice, EPTC, oxadiazon, pendimethalin, propanil and trifluralin have all been used (Soerjani et al., 1987).

In maize, metolachlor and atrazine have been used (Shad et al., 1993).

Diuron and ametryn have been used in pawpaw orchards in the Philippines (Mendoza and Mercado, unda). Metolachlor was used to control D. aegyptium and other weeds in intercropped black gram and sesame (Tewari et al., 1993). Quizalofop-ethyl was used in cotton in the USA (Hammes, 1986).

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

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