Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Eleusine indica
(goose grass)

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Datasheet

Eleusine indica (goose grass)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Eleusine indica
  • Preferred Common Name
  • goose grass
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • E. indica is primarily listed as an agricultural and environmental weed (Randall, 2012) and is considered a “serio...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
E. indica seedlings (Ethiopia).  On germination, the first leaf, about 1 cm long, tapers very suddenly to a point and may be pressed quite flat on the soil. Later leaves are flat to V-shaped and come to a longer, acute, boat-shaped tip.
TitleSeedlings
CaptionE. indica seedlings (Ethiopia). On germination, the first leaf, about 1 cm long, tapers very suddenly to a point and may be pressed quite flat on the soil. Later leaves are flat to V-shaped and come to a longer, acute, boat-shaped tip.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
E. indica seedlings (Ethiopia).  On germination, the first leaf, about 1 cm long, tapers very suddenly to a point and may be pressed quite flat on the soil. Later leaves are flat to V-shaped and come to a longer, acute, boat-shaped tip.
SeedlingsE. indica seedlings (Ethiopia). On germination, the first leaf, about 1 cm long, tapers very suddenly to a point and may be pressed quite flat on the soil. Later leaves are flat to V-shaped and come to a longer, acute, boat-shaped tip.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
E. indica shoot (Bhutan). Inflorescence consists of 3-8 racemes, each 5-10 cm long, ca 5 mm wide, arranged more-or-less digitately, though one raceme may be inserted about 1 cm below the others
TitleShoot
CaptionE. indica shoot (Bhutan). Inflorescence consists of 3-8 racemes, each 5-10 cm long, ca 5 mm wide, arranged more-or-less digitately, though one raceme may be inserted about 1 cm below the others
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
E. indica shoot (Bhutan). Inflorescence consists of 3-8 racemes, each 5-10 cm long, ca 5 mm wide, arranged more-or-less digitately, though one raceme may be inserted about 1 cm below the others
ShootE. indica shoot (Bhutan). Inflorescence consists of 3-8 racemes, each 5-10 cm long, ca 5 mm wide, arranged more-or-less digitately, though one raceme may be inserted about 1 cm below the others©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
The narrow rachis, about 1 mm wide, has two dense rows of almost glabrous spikelets, each 2.5-3 mm long.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionThe narrow rachis, about 1 mm wide, has two dense rows of almost glabrous spikelets, each 2.5-3 mm long.
CopyrightNOVARTIS
The narrow rachis, about 1 mm wide, has two dense rows of almost glabrous spikelets, each 2.5-3 mm long.
InflorescenceThe narrow rachis, about 1 mm wide, has two dense rows of almost glabrous spikelets, each 2.5-3 mm long.NOVARTIS
E. indica plant (Ethiopia): a tufted annual grass with leaves up to 8 mm x  15 cm, glabrous, usually bright, fresh green in colour.
TitleGrowth habit
CaptionE. indica plant (Ethiopia): a tufted annual grass with leaves up to 8 mm x 15 cm, glabrous, usually bright, fresh green in colour.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
E. indica plant (Ethiopia): a tufted annual grass with leaves up to 8 mm x  15 cm, glabrous, usually bright, fresh green in colour.
Growth habitE. indica plant (Ethiopia): a tufted annual grass with leaves up to 8 mm x 15 cm, glabrous, usually bright, fresh green in colour.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
A tufted annual grass, prostrate and spreading, or erect to about 40 cm, depending on density of vegetation.
TitleGrowth habit
CaptionA tufted annual grass, prostrate and spreading, or erect to about 40 cm, depending on density of vegetation.
Copyright©S.D. Sawant
A tufted annual grass, prostrate and spreading, or erect to about 40 cm, depending on density of vegetation.
Growth habitA tufted annual grass, prostrate and spreading, or erect to about 40 cm, depending on density of vegetation. ©S.D. Sawant
A. Ligule, ventral view; B, part of spike; C, spikelet; d, caryopsis, two views.
TitleE. indica - line drawing
CaptionA. Ligule, ventral view; B, part of spike; C, spikelet; d, caryopsis, two views.
CopyrightSEAMEO-BIOTROP
A. Ligule, ventral view; B, part of spike; C, spikelet; d, caryopsis, two views.
E. indica - line drawingA. Ligule, ventral view; B, part of spike; C, spikelet; d, caryopsis, two views.SEAMEO-BIOTROP

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertner

Preferred Common Name

  • goose grass

Other Scientific Names

  • Agropyron geminatum Schult. & Schult.f.
  • Chloris repens Steud.
  • Cynodon indicus Rasp.
  • Cynosurus indicus L.
  • Cynosurus pectinatus Lam.
  • Eleusine africana K. O'Byrne
  • Eleusine distans Moench
  • Eleusine domingensis Sieber ex Schult.
  • Eleusine glabra Schumach.
  • Eleusine gonantha Schrank
  • Eleusine gouinii E.Fourn
  • Eleusine gracilis Salisb.
  • Eleusine inaequalis E.Fourn.
  • Eleusine japonica Steud.
  • Eleusine macrosperma Stokes
  • Eleusine marginata Lindl.
  • Eleusine polydactyla Steud.
  • Eleusine rigidifolia E.Fourn.
  • Eleusine scabra E.Fourn.
  • Eleusine textilis Welw.
  • Juncus loureiroana Schult. & Schult.f.
  • Leptochloa pectinata (Lam.) Kunth
  • Triticum geminatum Spreng.

International Common Names

  • English: bullgrass; crabgrass; crowfoot grass; dog grass; dutch grass; fowlfoot grass; goose foot grass; Indian goosegrass; iron grass; oxgrass; silver grass; wild finger millet; wire grass; yard grass
  • Spanish: eleusine; grama de caballo; grama de cabalo; grama de orque; guarataro; pata de gallina; pata de ganso; yerba blanca; yerba dulce
  • French: chiendent patte de poule; eleusine de l'Inde; gros chiendent; pattes de poule; pied de poule; pied de poule de l'Inde; pied poule vrai
  • Chinese: niu jin cao
  • Portuguese: capim-da-cidade; capim-de-burro; capim-pé-de-galinha; grama-de-coradouro; grama-sapo; pe-de-galo

Local Common Names

  • Australia: crow’s foot; crowsfoot; crowsfoots grass
  • Brazil: ca-a pi-i; capim criador; capim da cicade; capim da cidade; capim pé de galhina; grama de coradoura; grama de coradouro; grama sapo
  • Cambodia: smao choeung tukke
  • Cuba: grama de caballo; pata de gallina; pata de gallo,
  • Dominican Republic: pata de cotorra
  • Fiji: kavaronaisivi
  • Germany: indische eleusine
  • Haiti: pied poule; z’herbe pied de poule
  • India: jangali maru; kodai; mandla
  • Indonesia: jampang munding; jukut carulang; jukut jampang; rumput belulang; sapadang rurus
  • Indonesia/Java: suket celulang; suket lulangan
  • Indonesia/Sumatra: benda laut; rumput kumaranting
  • Japan: ohishiba
  • Malaysia: godong ula; rumput sambari
  • Mexico: cola de caballo; grama caraspera; horquetilla; paja de burro; pasto amargo; pie de gallina; zacate de guácana; zacate guácima
  • Myanmar: myet-thakwa; se-gwa; sin-ngo-let-kya
  • Nicaragua: yerba de camino
  • Nigeria: gbegi
  • Paraguay: cola de gallo; pata de ganso
  • Philippines: bakis-bakisan; bang-angan; bikad-bikad; bila-bila; palagtiki; parangis; sabung-sabungan; sambali
  • Puerto Rico: matojo dulce
  • Senegal: gondirima; ratam fa mbe; vodvod
  • South Africa: crab grass; crabgrass; indiese osgras; jongos gras
  • Taiwan: niu-chin-tsao
  • Uganda: kasibanti
  • Vietnam: co' cu'a ga; co man trau; co ong
  • Zambia: rapoko
  • Zimbabwe: mu kha

EPPO code

  • ELEAF (Eleusine africana)
  • ELEIN (Eleusine indica)

Summary of Invasiveness

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E. indica is primarily listed as an agricultural and environmental weed (Randall, 2012) and is considered a “serious weed” in at least 42 countries (Holm et al., 1979). This species is described as a “dominant weed” especially in farming systems and annual row-crops where it grows vigorously and produces abundant seedlings (Holm et al., 1979). A single plant may produce more than 50,000 small seeds, which can be easily dispersed by wind and water, attached to animal fur and machinery and as a contaminant in soil (Waterhouse, 1993). E. indica invades disturbed habitats in natural areas and the margins of natural forests and grasslands, marshes, stream banks and coastal areas. It is also a common weed along roads, pavements, and powerline corridors (Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011). Currently it is listed as invasive in several countries in Europe, Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean and on many islands in the Pacific Ocean (see Distribution Table for details). 

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Eleusine comprises about 9 species and East Africa is considered its centre of diversification with eight species: E. africana, E. coracana, E. kigeziensis, E. indica, E. floccifolia, E. intermedia, E. multiflora and E. jaegeri occurring in this region. Species within this genus have little morphological differences between them, and include annual and perennial growth forms (Bisht and Mukai, 2002). The diploid (2n = 18) weed, E. indica, is closely related to the tetraploid (2  =36) African crop finger millet (Eleusine coracana) and is assumed to have given rise to it.  

Description

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E. indica is a tufted annual grass, prostrate and spreading, or erect to about 40 cm, depending on density of vegetation but not usually rooting at the nodes. The root system is very well developed and strong and the name jongos gras, used in South Africa, implies that it takes a young ox to uproot it. On germination, the first leaf, about 1 cm long, tapers very suddenly to a point and may be pressed quite flat on the soil. Later leaves are flat to V-shaped, up to 8 mm wide, 15 cm long and come to a longer, acute, boat-shaped tip. They are glabrous and usually quite bright, fresh green in colour. The ligule is a very short membraneous rim up to 1 mm long, sparsely fringed with short hairs. The sheaths and stem bases are distinctly flattened. The inflorescence consists of 3-8 racemes, each 5-10 cm long, about 5 mm wide, arranged more-or-less digitately, though one raceme may be inserted about 1 cm below the others. The narrow rachis, about 1 mm wide, has two dense rows of almost glabrous spikelets, each 2.5-3 mm long, 3-5 flowered, the lower and upper glumes about 1.5 and 3 mm long, respectively, and the lemmas very similar in both texture and size to the upper glume. All have a slightly scabrid keel and are acute but not awned. The reddish-brown to black seeds are oblong, about 1 mm long, conspicuously ridged.
 

Plant Type

Top of page Annual
Grass / sedge
Herbaceous
Seed propagated

Distribution

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The geographical origin of E. indica is uncertain but it is considered native to Africa and temperate and tropical Asia (USDA-ARS, 2014). Now it is distributed almost throughout the tropical world and extends significantly into the sub-tropics, especially in North America, Europe and Africa. It occurs up to 2000 m altitude in the tropics.

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

ArmeniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized
AzerbaijanPresentIntroducedTsvelev & Federov, 1983Naturalized
BangladeshPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
BhutanPresentParker, 1992; USDA-NRCS, 2004Probably native
Brunei DarussalamPresentIntroducedWaterhouse, 1993; Waterhouse, 1994
CambodiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Waterhouse, 1993
Chagos ArchipelagoWidespreadIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
ChinaWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
-AnhuiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-BeijingWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-FujianWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-GuangdongWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-GuizhouWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-HainanWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-HeilongjiangWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-HenanWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-Hong KongPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
-HubeiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-HunanWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-JiangxiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-ShaanxiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-ShandongWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-ShanghaiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-SichuanWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-TianjinWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-TibetWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-YunnanWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
-ZhejiangWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Weber et al., 2008
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentIntroducedQueensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011Naturalized
Cocos IslandsPresentIntroducedQueensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011Naturalized
Georgia (Republic of)PresentIntroducedTsvelev & Federov, 1983Naturalized
IndiaWidespreadUSDA-ARS, 2014Probably native in continental India
-Andhra PradeshPresentIntroducedRaju and Reddy, 1998
IndonesiaWidespreadHolm et al., 1979; Waterhouse, 1993; USDA-ARS, 2014Probably native
IranPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979Naturalized
IsraelWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
JapanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
-HonshuPresentNumata and Yoshizawa, 1975
-KyushuPresentNumata and Yoshizawa, 1975
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresentNumata and Yoshizawa, 1975
-ShikokuPresentNumata and Yoshizawa, 1975
Korea, DPRPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
Korea, Republic ofPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
KuwaitPresentMathew et al., 2012
LaosPresentIntroducedMoody, 1989; Waterhouse, 1993
MalaysiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Peninsular MalaysiaWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979Naturalized
-SabahWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
-SarawakWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
MaldivesPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
MyanmarPresentHolm et al., 1979; Waterhouse, 1993; USDA-ARS, 2014Probably native
NepalPresentMoody, 1989; USDA-ARS, 2014Probably native
OmanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
PakistanPresentMoody, 1989; USDA-ARS, 2014Probably native
PhilippinesWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979; Waterhouse, 1993
Saudi ArabiaPresentIntroducedChaudhary et al., 1981
SingaporePresentIntroduced Invasive Waterhouse, 1993; Waterhouse, 1994
Sri LankaWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
TaiwanWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
ThailandPresentIntroducedNoda et al., 1985; Waterhouse, 1993
TurkeyPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized
TurkmenistanPresentIntroducedTsvelev & Federov, 1983
UzbekistanPresentIntroducedTsvelev & Federov, 1983
VietnamPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979; Waterhouse, 1993
YemenPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014

Africa

AldabraPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
AlgeriaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized
AngolaWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979
BeninPresentNativePhillips, 1972
BotswanaPresentNativeGibbs-Russell et al., 1990
Burkina FasoPresentNativeHepper, 1972; Traore and Maillet, 1998
BurundiPresentNativePhillips, 1972
CameroonPresentNativeHepper, 1972
Cape VerdePresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
ComorosPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
CongoPresentNativePhillips, 1972
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979
Côte d'IvoireWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979
EgyptPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized
EthiopiaWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979
GabonPresentNativePhillips, 1972
GambiaPresentNativeHepper, 1972
GhanaWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979
GuineaWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979
KenyaWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979
LesothoPresentNativeGibbs-Russell et al., 1990
LiberiaPresentNativeHepper, 1972
LibyaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized
MadagascarPresentNativePhillips, 1972
MalawiPresentNativePhillips, 1972
MaliPresentNativeHepper, 1972
MauritaniaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014Naturalized
MauritiusWidespreadIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
MoroccoPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized
MozambiqueWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979
NamibiaPresentNativeGibbs Russell et al., 1990
NigerPresentNativeHepper, 1972
NigeriaWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979
RwandaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
Saint HelenaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014Naturalized
Sao Tome and PrincipePresentNativePhillips, 1972
SenegalWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979
SeychellesWidespreadIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014
Sierra LeonePresentNativeHepper, 1972
South AfricaWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014Naturalized
SwazilandWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979
TanzaniaWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979
-ZanzibarPresentNativeClayton et al., 1974
TogoPresentNativeHepper, 1972
UgandaWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979
ZambiaWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979
ZimbabweWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979

North America

BermudaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
CanadaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-OntarioPresentIntroducedMontgomery, 1964
-QuebecPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014
MexicoWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-ArizonaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-ArkansasPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-ColoradoPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-ConnecticutPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-DelawarePresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-District of ColumbiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2004
-FloridaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-HawaiiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Wagner et al., 1999
-IdahoAbsent, intercepted onlyIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2004
-IllinoisPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-IndianaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-IowaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-KansasPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-KentuckyPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-MainePresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-MarylandPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-MassachusettsPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-MichiganPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-MinnesotaPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-MississippiPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-MissouriPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-MontanaAbsent, intercepted onlyIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2004
-NebraskaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-NevadaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-New HampshirePresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-New JerseyPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-New MexicoPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-New YorkPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-North CarolinaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-OhioPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-OklahomaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-OregonPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-Rhode IslandPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-South CarolinaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-South DakotaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-TennesseePresentIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-TexasPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-UtahPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-VermontPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-VirginiaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-WashingtonPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987
-West VirginiaPresentIntroducedLorenzi and Jeffery, 1987

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
ArubaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
BahamasPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
BarbadosPresentIntroducedMay Baker, 1964
BelizePresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012Guana, Tortola, Virgin Gorda
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
Costa RicaPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
CubaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979; Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
CuraçaoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
DominicaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroduced Invasive Kairo et al., 2003
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
GrenadaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
GuatemalaWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
HondurasPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
JamaicaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
MartiniquePresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
NicaraguaWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
PanamaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
Puerto RicoWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Trinidad and TobagoWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012St Thomas, St Croix, St John

South America

ArgentinaWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979; Istilart, 2005
BoliviaPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
BrazilPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlagoasPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-AmazonasPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-BahiaPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-CearaPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-Espirito SantoPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-GoiasPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-MaranhaoPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-Mato GrossoPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-ParaPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-ParaibaPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-ParanaPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-PernambucoPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-PiauiPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-Rio de JaneiroPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-Rio Grande do NortePresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-Rio Grande do SulPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-Santa CatarinaPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-Sao PauloPresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
-SergipePresentIntroducedLorenzi, 1982
ChileWidespreadIntroduced Invasive I3N-Chile, 2014
-Easter IslandWidespreadIntroduced Invasive I3N-Chile, 2014
ColombiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
EcuadorPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Charles Darwin Foundation, 2008
French GuianaWidespreadIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
GuyanaWidespreadIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
ParaguayWidespreadIntroduced Invasive IABIN, 2014
PeruWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
SurinamePresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
UruguayWidespreadIntroduced Invasive IABIN, 2014
VenezuelaWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979; Medrano et al., 1999

Europe

AlbaniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized
AustriaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized
BulgariaPresentIntroducedTutin et al., 1980
CroatiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Vres, 1996; Trinajstic, 1998
Czech RepublicPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized
FrancePresentIntroducedTutin et al., 1980
-CorsicaPresentIntroducedTutin et al., 1980
GermanyPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized
GreecePresentIntroduced Invasive Arianoutsou et al., 2010
HungaryPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
ItalyPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-SardiniaPresentIntroduced Invasive Brundu et al., 2003
LithuaniaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
NetherlandsPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
PortugalPresentIntroducedTutin et al., 1980
-AzoresPresentIntroducedTutin et al., 1980
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014Naturalized
RomaniaPresentIntroduced Invasive Anastasiu et al., 2009
SerbiaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized
SloveniaPresentIntroducedVres, 1996
SpainPresentIntroduced Invasive Sanz-Elorza, 1999
SwitzerlandPresentIntroduced Invasive Wittenberg, 2005
UKPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedStace, 1991
UkrainePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014Naturalized

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive Whistler, 1983
AustraliaWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
-Australian Northern TerritoryWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011
-New South WalesWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011
-QueenslandWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011
-South AustraliaPresentIntroducedQueensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011Naturalized
-TasmaniaPresentIntroducedQueensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011Naturalized
-VictoriaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011
-Western AustraliaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011
Cook IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Swarbrick, 1989; PIER, 2014
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
French PolynesiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
GuamPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
KiribatiPresentIntroduced Invasive Swarbrick, 1989
Marshall IslandsWidespreadIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
Micronesia, Federated states ofWidespreadIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
NauruPresentIntroduced Invasive Swarbrick, 1989
New CaledoniaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
New ZealandWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979
NiuePresentIntroduced Invasive Swarbrick, 1989
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011
Northern Mariana IslandsWidespreadIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
PalauWidespreadIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
Papua New GuineaWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
SamoaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Whistler, 1983
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroducedSwarbrick, 1989; Clayton et al., 2014
TongaPresentIntroducedWhistler, 1983
TuvaluPresentIntroducedSwarbrick, 1989
US Minor Outlying IslandsWidespreadIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
VanuatuPresentIntroducedSwarbrick, 1989
Wake IslandWidespreadIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
Wallis and Futuna IslandsWidespreadIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014

History of Introduction and Spread

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E. indica has probably been repeatedly introduced in most countries where it is now present, making it very difficult to determine its history of introduction into new habitats. In the USA, this species was introduced around the 1800s. In the West Indies, it was first recorded in 1815 in Cuba, 1867 in Martinique, 1876 in US Virgin islands, and 1885 in Jamaica (US National Herbarium). 

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of introduction of E. indica into new habitat is very high. This species is one of the most common agricultural and environmental weeds in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It has ecophysiological and genetic traits that, coupled with the high number of seeds produced for each individual plant, give it a high score for successful invasion in almost any ecosystem (Holm et al., 1979; Waterhouse, 1994). 

Habitat

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E. indica is a typical weedy species of the tropics and sub-tropics, flourishing in cultivated and other disturbed situations on a wide range of soil types, though generally favoured by high fertility.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details
Wetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Hosts/Species Affected

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E. indica may occur in virtually any annual crop in the tropics and sub-tropics and also in many perennial crops and pastures. It is perhaps most conspicuous in annual row-crops such as cereals, legumes, cotton, tobacco and vegetable crops in which it is able to establish rapidly before there is adequate shading from the crop.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for E. indica is 2n = 18 and includes diploid and polyploid types (Bisht and Mukai, 2002).

Reproductive Biology

E. indica is a monoecious species (individual flowers are either male or female, but both types can be found on the same plant) and flowers are pollinated by wind. Seedlings have exceptional vigour and quickly establish themselves (Holm et al., 1979).

Physiology and Phenology

E. indica is a fast-growing C4 grass and thrives very well in full sunlight and wet areas. Allelopathic activity has been also reported for this species (Ampong-Nyarko and Datta, 1992).

As an annual weed, E. indica depends on propagation by seed. Individual plants have been recorded producing up to 135,000 seeds (Holm et al., 1977) and the average may be 40,000 seeds per plant. Freshly shed seeds may be dormant and require light or scarification to induce germination (Kanzler and van Staden, 1984). Older seeds have no deep dormancy but germination may be enhanced by alternating temperature (e.g. 20/35°C), light, nitrate, gibberellic acid, etc. (Chin and Raja Harun, 1979). Probably because of the lack of extended dormancy, viable seeds persist in the upper soil for only 2-5 years (Schwerzel, 1976; Egley and Chandler, 1978; Standifer, 1979). Germination occurs mainly in the top 5 cm and seedlings rarely emerge from deeper than 8 cm (Hawton and Drennan, 1980; Osa et al., 1988). Seeds buried more deeply, however, are likely to survive much longer. Seeds survive passage through cattle and horses and may therefore be contaminants of farmyard manure (Rodriguez et al., 1983).

Environmental Requirements

E. indica has C4 physiology and makes extremely rapid growth in full sunlight, but growth is much reduced (and more erect) under shade (Ampong-Nyarko and de Datta, 1992). Shading of this weed severely reduced plant dry weight: 50% shading caused 60% reduction and 80% shading caused 90% reduction (Bantilan et al., 1974). Photoperiod is not critical and flowering can occur at all daylengths between 6 and 16 hours (Nakatani and Kusagani, 1991). The optimum for vegetative growth is 14 hours (Holm et al., 1977). Drought and low temperature delay flowering. Emerged plants are killed by frost.

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 15 30
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 7

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall2002000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • shallow

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Contarinia Herbivore Inflorescence
Heterodera delvii Parasite Roots
Melanopsichium eleusinis Pathogen
Sitobion leelamaniae Herbivore

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page Many natural enemies have been recorded (see Waterhouse, 1994 for a comprehensive list). The natural enemies listed here are those which are not known to have other hosts. It is not clear that significant damage is caused other than on a local basis but a few organisms have been considered as biocontrol agents (see Control).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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E. indica spreads by seeds. A single plant has the potential to produce more than 50,000 seeds which can be easily dispersed by wind and water, as a contaminant in crop seeds and soils, and attached to animal furs, mud and machinery. Seeds are also eaten by wild animals and by cattle (Waterhouse, 1994). 

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Growing medium accompanying plants
True seeds (inc. grain)
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Bark
Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx
Fruits (inc. pods)
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 Negative
Animal/plant products Negative
Crop production Negative
Forestry production Negative
Livestock production Negative
Native flora Negative
Trade/international relations Negative

Economic Impact

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Holm et al. (1979) recorded E. indica as a 'serious or principal' weed in 42 countries and it is frequently among the dominant weed species, especially in farming systems which include annual row-crops where lack of shading allows vigorous growth and abundant seeding. Holm et al. (1977) concluded that E. indica was one of the most serious weeds in cotton in 11 named countries, in maize in 10 countries, in upland rice in 8 countries, in sweet potatoes in 4 countries and in sugarcane in 3 countries; it also occurs in a wide range of other crops on a more local basis. These include banana, cassava, pineapple, rape, jute, soyabeans, pawpaw, abaca, cowpea, millet, mango, cacao, sorghum, tobacco, wheat and many vegetable crops. It was later listed among the top seven weed species in a worldwide review of weeds in sugarcane (Cepero and Rodriguez, 1983).

Competitive effects of pure populations of E. indica have rarely been measured, but in groundnut a range of densities of 2 to 32 plants per 10 m of row reduced yield by 2 to 25% and it was estimated that each weed plant per 10 m row reduced yield by 41 kg/ha. The economic threshold for use of sethoxydim to control it was only one plant per 7.4 m of row (McCarty, 1983). In maize, a population of 20 E. indica per maize plant, or 133/m² caused a significant 15% yield reduction. In this crop, E. indica was much more competitive than Euphorbia heterophylla, which required more than double the population to cause equivalent yield loss (Eke and Okereke, 1990). In India, Singh et al. (1996) showed that E. indica was responsible for removal of 20 kg potassium/ha, more than any other weed species present.

Where E. indica has been among the predominant weed species, for example, the second most abundant, representing 30% of the weeds in upland rice, yields have been reduced by 80% in the Philippines (Lourens et al., 1989). In direct-sown rice in Colombia, Fischer et al. (1993) listed E. indica as the dominant in a range of weeds that caused almost total crop loss when not weeded and 20% loss when weeded once at 20 days after sowing. In a further study in Colombia, Fischer and Ramirez (1993) assessed the losses due to weeds emerging 30 days after crop establishment.

Other examples of yield loss where E. indica is a major component of a mixed weed flora include 57% loss of potato and 76% loss of carrot in Brazil (Zagonel et al., 1999a, b). Actual losses due to all weeds in a number of the crops in which E. indica is a major weed (for example, maize and cotton) are of the order of 10-15% and amount to many billions of US dollars (for example, 9 billion in maize, 5 billion in cotton). As a major component of the weed flora in these crops over a substantial proportion of their total area, it is likely that E. indica contributes at least 1 or 2% of this total monetary loss, i.e. many million dollars, to which could be added the time, effort and costs involved in manual weeding. Once E. indica is established it has a notoriously tough root system making it necessary to use a hoe rather than manual uprooting.

While there are no estimates of losses caused, there are reports of stock poisoning where the grass is grazed (Wapshere, 1990a). Furthermore, although the presence of E. indica in crops has occasionally been shown to reduce pest or disease incidence, it may act as an alternate host of important crop pests or diseases, including Pratylenchus zeae on maize (Jordaan and de Waele, 1988); rice ragged stunt (Salamat et al., 1987); rice yellow mottle virus (Okioma et al., 1983); sorghum shoot fly (Granados et al., 1972); and others listed by Holm et al. (1977). There are also reports of increased incidences of Spodoptera frugiperda in maize where the weed is not controlled (van Huis, 1981). Again there is a lack of any quantification of these losses.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Scaevola coriacea (dwarf naupaka)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its 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
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition
  • Pest and disease transmission
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage

Environmental

  • Erosion control or dune stabilization

Human food and beverage

  • Beverage base
  • Cereal
  • Vegetable

Materials

  • Fibre
  • Poisonous to mammals

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Confusion with other weeds having a digitate inflorescence is possible, e.g. with Digitaria, Dactyloctenium, Cynodon, Chloris or Paspalum spp., but the combination in E. indica of flattened stem, bright green leaves, size and many-flowered character of spikelets, lack of awns, etc. should serve to distinguish it from these species.

Prevention and Control

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Cultural Control

As an annual weed which does not root at the nodes, E. indica is relatively easily removed by hoeing at the early growth stages. Once established, however, the very strong root system makes it difficult to uproot manually. Solarization has been shown to kill seeds of E. indica down to 5 cm (Standifer et al., 1984). Shredded and chopped newspaper has shown potential as a mulching material for control of Echinochloa crus-galli, Chenopodium album, Eleusine indica and Digitaria album in tomato (Monks et al., 1997). However, the effect may vary in different environments and other vegetable crops. E. indica is favoured by zero-tillage techniques but is well suppressed by residues of a rye cover crop (Teasdale et al., 1991). E. indica and the total grass population were higher in fields receiving no tillage in a 5 year study in Honduras. There was a more heterogeneous distribution of species under no tillage suggesting that tillage reduces the diversity of weeds

Chemical Control

E. indica is susceptible to virtually all groups of standard grass-killing herbicides, including arsenicals, substituted ureas (diuron, etc.), uracils (bromacil), triazines (atrazine, etc.), dinitroanilines (trifluralin, etc.), thiolcarbamates (EPTC, etc.), dimethylethers (oxyfluorfen, etc.), graminicides (fluazifop, sethoxydim, etc.), imidazolinones (imazaquin, etc.), propanil, oxadiazon, clomazone, quinclorac, diphenamid, paraquat, glufosinate, glyphosate and flumioxazin. Where broad-spectrum weed control requires the use of herbicide mixtures such as a graminicide with a broad-leaf weed killer, there are risks of antagonism in many combinations, e.g. with 2,4-DB (York et al., 1993). In most cases the antagonism can be avoided by applying the broad-leaf herbicide a day or two later than the graminicide.

Thanks to the wide range of effective compounds, control with herbicide should normally be possible in any broad-leaved or perennial crop and in most cereal crops, with the possible exception of finger millet. This can, however, be compromised by development of resistance to some herbicides.

Herbicide Resistance

Biotypes with resistance to some groups of herbicide have already occurred and are likely to become increasingly important. Resistance to trifluralin was the first to be detected, in the USA, and there is shown to be cross-resistance to most if not all other herbicides in this group (Vaughn et al., 1990). Baird et al. (1996) and Zeng and Baird (1997) have published comprehensive accounts of trifluralin resistance in E. indica. Anthony and Hussey (1999) have studied the molecular basis of the resistance of E. indica to dinitroaniline herbicides.

Resistance to fluazifop-butyl has developed in Malaysia (Leach et al., 1995) with cross resistance to most other graminicides; and to imazapyr in Costa Rica (Valverde et al., 1993) with cross resistance also to some other imidazolinone and sulfonylurea herbicides.

Biotypes of E. indica that are resistant to aryloxyphenoxypropionate and cyclohexanedione herbicides have been reported in parts of Malaysia since 1989, but the weed was easily controlled by glyphosate. However, in late 1997, a fruit grower in Teluk Intan, Perak, Malaysia, reported that glyphosate failed to give adequate control of E. indica in his 4-year-old orchard. Trials confirmed the grower's observation that glyphosate only gave only about 25% control of E. indica ('Teluk Intan' biotype). The 'Teluk Intan' biotype was found to be 8- to 12-fold resistant to glyphosate (Lee LimJung and Ngim, 2000). Dill et al. (2000) reported that there was no significant difference in the uptake and translocation of glyphosate in resistant and sensitive biotypes. Doll (2000) said that the resistance to glyphosate is the result of an altered binding site in the target enzymes, and that resistant E. indica was already infesting 12,500 ha on four oil palm plantations. Glyphosate-resistant populations have also been confirmed in Tennessee (Mueller et al., 2011), and low level resistance has been reported in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (Vargas et al., 2013).

Yew NgKwang (2011) reports control of glyphosate-resistant E. indica in Malaysia by application in combination with clethodim.

The repeated use of dinitroaniline herbicides in cotton and soyabean fields in southern USA has resulted in the appearance of resistant biotypes of E. indica. Two biotypes have been characterized: a highly resistant (R) biotype and an intermediate resistant (I) biotype. Each mutation is thought to exert its effect by a different mechanism (Anthony and Hussey, 1999).

Resistance to a number of herbicides has been reported in Malaysia in recent years. Jalaludin et al. (2010) report potentially resistant E. indica biotypes to glufosinate-ammonium. E. indica populations resistant to fluazifop, an acetyl-CoA carboxylase-inhibiting herbicide, have been found in several states in Malaysia (Cha ThyeSan et al., 2014).

An Jing et al. (2014) list paraquat as one of the herbicides to which E. indica has evolved resistance, and investigate the genetic basis of this resistance.

It is very important that herbicide use should take account of the risks of resistant biotypes building up and repeated use of the same, or a closely related, herbicide must be avoided. As so many herbicide groups are active, it should not be difficult to vary the type of compound used, even though this may mean not always using the least expensive product.

Biological Control

Biological control of E. indica has been considered in great detail in Australia, where the related finger millet (E. coracana) does not occur (e.g. Wapshere, 1990a, b; Waterhouse, 1994). For classical biocontrol, potential organisms include the smut fungus Melanopsichium eleusinis, the nematode Heterodera delvii, and certain cecidomyiid gall midges (Contarinia sp.) but all require further study before they could be used. Fungi which might be developed as mycoherbicides include Bipolaris [Cochliobolus] setariae and Pyricularia [Magnaporthe] grisea (Figliola et al., 1988) but no active programme of development of these has yet been reported.

Allelopathy

DIBOA (2,4-dihydroxy-1,4-(2H)-benzoxazine-3-one) and BOA (2-(3H)-benzoxazolinone), the major allelochemicals in rye (Secale cereale), were determined in eight field-grown cultivars. The cultivar Bonel showed the greatest activity on E. indica (Burgos et. al., 1999).

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20/05/14 Updated by:

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

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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