Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Fimbristylis dichotoma
(tall fringe rush)



Fimbristylis dichotoma (tall fringe rush)


  • Last modified
  • 08 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Fimbristylis dichotoma
  • Preferred Common Name
  • tall fringe rush
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • F. dichotoma is an aggressive invader in favourable environments. It is most noted as a weed of paddy rice.

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Upper part of F. dichotoma plant in fruiting stage.
TitleFruiting plant
CaptionUpper part of F. dichotoma plant in fruiting stage.
Copyright©Kurt G. Kissmann
Upper part of F. dichotoma plant in fruiting stage.
Fruiting plantUpper part of F. dichotoma plant in fruiting stage.©Kurt G. Kissmann
Spikes and achenes of F. dichotoma: (a) spikelet; (b) fertile glume; (c & d) achene; and (e & f) two-branched apex.
TitleSpikes and achenes
CaptionSpikes and achenes of F. dichotoma: (a) spikelet; (b) fertile glume; (c & d) achene; and (e & f) two-branched apex.
Copyright©Kurt G. Kissmann
Spikes and achenes of F. dichotoma: (a) spikelet; (b) fertile glume; (c & d) achene; and (e & f) two-branched apex.
Spikes and achenesSpikes and achenes of F. dichotoma: (a) spikelet; (b) fertile glume; (c & d) achene; and (e & f) two-branched apex.©Kurt G. Kissmann


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Fimbristylis dichotoma (L.) Vahl (1805)

Preferred Common Name

  • tall fringe rush

Other Scientific Names

  • Fimbristylis annua (non R & S) Merr.
  • Fimbristylis communis Kunth
  • Fimbristylis diphylla (Retz.) Vahl
  • Fimbristylis laxa Vahl
  • Fimbristylis longispica (non Steud.) Clarke
  • Fimbristylis polymorpha Boeck.
  • Fimbristylis squarrosa (non Vahl) Miq.
  • Scirpus dichotomus L. (1753)
  • Scirpus diphyllus Retz.

International Common Names

  • English: forked fringerush; twoleaf fimbristylis
  • Spanish: arrocillo
  • French: fimbristylis dichotome

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: falso alecrim da praia
  • Colombia: arrocillo; cortadera; coyolillo; namu
  • Germany: Einjährige Fransenbinse
  • Japan: tentsuki
  • Malaysia: rumput kepala lalat; rumput para-para; rumput purun batu
  • Taiwan: pyau-fo-tsau
  • USA/Hawaii: futaba tentsuki; futaba-tentsuki; futabo-tentuki

EPPO code

  • FIMAN (Fimbristylis annua)
  • FIMDI (Fimbristylis dichotoma)
  • FIMSQ (Fimbristylis squarrosa)

Summary of Invasiveness

Top of page F. dichotoma is an aggressive invader in favourable environments. It is most noted as a weed of paddy rice.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Monocotyledonae
  •                     Order: Cyperales
  •                         Family: Cyperaceae
  •                             Genus: Fimbristylis
  •                                 Species: Fimbristylis dichotoma

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page The genus Fimbristylis belongs to the sedge family (Cyperaceae) and is characterized by the spiral arrangement of the glumes of its spikelets; in Cyperus species, the glumes are presented in two rows. It is a very polymorphous species, variable in habit, hairiness, size of inflorescence, size of glumes, number of stamens and shape of fruits. Several subspecies or varieties are recognized: F. dichotoma subsp. (or var.) dichotoma (perennial, sometimes stiffly hairy), F. dichotoma subsp. depauperata (annual, often softly hairy), F. dichotoma var. laxa (stout perennial), F. dichotoma var. pluristriata (annual with orbicular nutlet).


Top of page F. dichotoma is a tufted erect, annual or perennial plant, 10-80 cm tall, with numerous long stems about 2 mm in diameter, slightly three-angled, compressed below the inflorescence, nodeless, smooth. The root system is fibrous, wiry, black. Short rhizomes. Leaves numerous, forming a dense tuft at the base of the stem, being at least half as long as the stem, 1.5-5.0 mm wide, sheath margin membranous. Blades flat or slightly concave, abruptly acuminate, without an evident midrib, glabrous or somewhat pubescent, colour green or green-bluish. Ligules a dense fringe of short hairs. Involucral bracts leaf-like, 2-5, relatively short, the lowest can reach the length of the largest ray of the inflorescence (up to 20 cm). Inflorescence a simple or compound, loose or dense umbel. Spikelets some sessile others on distinct slender stalks, plump and rather egg-shaped, pointed, up to 5 mm long and 2 mm broad, round in section, glumes spirally arranged, imbricate, ovoid or ovoid-lanceolate, 3-10 mm long, fertile glumes shortly mucronate. Spikelets multi-flowered, one to three stamens, style short, thick, two-branched at the apex.

Fruit an obovate to broadly obovate nutlet, 0.8-1.2 mm long, 0.8-1.0 mm wide, biconvex, hard, dry, with about ten longitudinal grooves and transversal lines, brownish, apex round to truncate, at times with the two-branched style persistent.


Top of page F. dichotoma is widely distributed in Asia and Africa, as well as in other parts of 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


AfghanistanPresentHolm et al., 1991
BangladeshPresentIRRI, 1989
ChinaRestricted distributionNative Invasive Holm et al., 1991
-Hong KongPresentHolm et al., 1991
-Indian PunjabPresentBir et al., 1992a
-Uttar PradeshPresentSrivastava and Vaishya, 1993
IndonesiaRestricted distributionNative Invasive Holm et al., 1991
IraqPresentHolm et al., 1991
IsraelPresentHolm et al., 1991
JapanPresentTsujimura, 1979; Holm et al., 1991
Korea, Republic ofPresentHolm et al., 1991
LaosPresentIRRI, 1989
MalaysiaPresentHolm et al., 1991
NepalPresentIRRI, 1989
PakistanPresentHolm et al., 1991
PhilippinesPresentHolm et al., 1991
Sri LankaPresentIRRI, 1989
TaiwanPresentHolm et al., 1991
ThailandPresentNemoto et al., 1987; Holm et al., 1991
VietnamPresentHolm et al., 1991


Burkina FasoPresentHutchinson and Dalziel, 1972
CameroonPresentHutchinson and Dalziel, 1972
Côte d'IvoirePresentHutchinson and Dalziel, 1972
GambiaPresentHutchinson and Dalziel, 1972
GhanaPresentHolm et al., 1991
GuineaPresentHutchinson and Dalziel, 1972
KenyaPresentHaines and Lye, 1983
LiberiaPresentHutchinson and Dalziel, 1972
MaliPresentHutchinson and Dalziel, 1972
NigeriaPresentHutchinson and Dalziel, 1972; Holm et al., 1991
SenegalPresentHutchinson and Dalziel, 1972
SeychellesPresentRobertson, 1989
Sierra LeonePresentHutchinson and Dalziel, 1972
TanzaniaPresentHaines and Lye, 1983
-ZanzibarPresentNapper, 1965
UgandaPresentHaines and Lye, 1983

North America

-AlabamaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2003
-FloridaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2003
-GeorgiaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2003
-HawaiiPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2003
-LouisianaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2003
-MississippiPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2003
-North CarolinaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2003
-South CarolinaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2003
-TexasPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2003
-VirginiaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2003

Central America and Caribbean

Puerto RicoPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2003
Trinidad and TobagoPresentHolm et al., 1991
United States Virgin IslandsPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2003

South America

BrazilRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi, 1982; Kissmann, 1997
-GoiasPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Not invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-Mato Grosso do SulPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Not invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-Minas GeraisRestricted distributionIntroduced Not invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-ParanaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-Rio de JaneiroRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-Rio Grande do SulRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-Santa CatarinaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi, 1982
-Sao PauloRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Lorenzi, 1982


-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentLangkamp et al., 1981
FijiPresentHolm et al., 1991
French PolynesiaPresentHolm et al., 1991
Papua New GuineaPresentHolm et al., 1991


Top of page F. dichotoma grows well on wet or even flooded soil; it is also found in uplands where the soil has good water retention. It is also found in swamps, open waste places, grassy roadsides, Imperata cylindrica grasslands and some plantation crops. It is a tropical weed, occurring at altitudes up to 1500 (-2500) m in Papua New Guinea (Soerjani et al., 1987).

Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Present, no further details
Wetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page The crops that are most affected by F. dichotoma are those growing on paddy soil, particularly rice. In addition to the crops listed, it can be common and troublesome in pastures (Holm et al., 1977).

Growth Stages

Top of page Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage

Biology and Ecology

Top of page Genetics

F. dichotoma is a very variable species. Chromosome analysis of populations from the Indian Punjab has been carried out by Bir et al. (1992a, b).

Reproductive Biology

F. dichotoma reproduces by seeds. Flowering and seed production occur during most of the year. Many seeds are produced which fall to the ground and germinate quickly (Holm et al., 1977). Some seeds can survive in the soil for up to 3 years. Growth of the plants is very rapid.

Environmental Requirements

F. dichotoma exists as a perennial when conditions are favourable, otherwise it occurs as an annual.

It can be found at altitudes from 0 to 1500 m in Indonesia (Holm et al., 1977) and to 1800 m in Colombia (Aristizabal and Posada, 1987). In Brazil, it is found mostly in coastal areas, at altitudes up to 300 m. Where temperatures drop below 10°C, the plant exists only as an annual.

F. dichotoma grows best in moist soils, including poorly aerated soils. It appears to be better adapted to upland soils than F. miliacea (Holm et al., 1977). In Japan, it has been found growing on acidic soils (pH <3) on volcanoes (Tsujimura, 1979) and, in Thailand, it is able to survive high salinity (Nemoto et al., 1987).

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
0 0 1800 0

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 5
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 17 25
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 20 30
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 15 20


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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration12number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall15002500mm; lower/upper limits

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page Natural Dispersal (non-biotic)

Seeds can be distributed by water.

Vector Transmission (biotic)

Grazing cattle ingest the plants and undigested seeds are excreted without much loss in germinability.

Agricultural Practices

When preparing the soil for planting rice or other crops, the movement of earth and water can disperse the seeds of this and other species of weeds.

Accidental introduction

Nutlets (achenes) and parts of spikelets can contaminate seeds of pasture grasses (Tasrif, 1990).

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) seeds

Impact Summary

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


Top of page A heavy infestation of F. dichotoma in a rice field affects productivity by competing for nutrients, causing plants to lodge and making mechanical harvesting almost impossible. It is also costly to control the weed.

Environmental Impact

Top of page Plants can clog canals, affecting water flow.

Impact: Biodiversity

Top of page F. dichotoma has the capacity to choke other species, altering the local flora.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult/costly to control


Top of page Cattle may graze on F. dichotoma (Holm et al., 1977) but it has low nutritional value. It is considered a poor green manure crop and has been used to make inferior mats in the Philippines (Holm et al., 1977).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page Fimbristylis spp. are common weeds of rice (IRRI, 1989). The shape of the nutlet (sometimes known as a nut or achene) is a simple diagnostic character of some common sedge weeds of rice: species with a biconvex nutlet are F. acuminata, F. aestivalis, F. dichotoma, F. tomentosa; species with a three-angled nutlet include F. miliacea (=F. littoralis) and many weedy Cyperus spp.

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.


F. dichotoma has many similarities to F. miliacea and can be controlled in much the same way (see the data sheet on this species).

Cultural Control

The key to successful cultural control in rice is the establishment of a competitive crop stand. This includes the sowing of weed-free crop seed into a clean seedbed, use of competitive varieties (fast growing, tall and leafy varieties) and maintaining a healthy crop.

Mechanical Control

Inter-row cultivation is an effective, though somewhat laborious, method of control. This should be done when the F. dichotoma is a seedling or small plant and before it competes with the crop. Hand-pulling can be applied to large plants but, by then, the crop will have suffered modest competition.

Chemical Control

Herbicides cited as being suitable for weed control in rice included molinate (pre-emergence) and propanil (early post-emergence; Soerjani et al., 1987).


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Aristizabal AG; Posada HR, 1987. Descripción de Malezas em Plantaciones de Café. Bogota, Colombia: Cenicafé, 44-45.

Bir SS; Chatha GS; Sidhu M, 1992. Intraspecific variation in Cyperaceae from Punjab Plain, India. Willdenowia, 22(1-2):133-142

Bir SS; Cheema P; Sidhu MK, 1992. Chromosomal analysis of Fimbristylis Vahl in Punjab, North West India. Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy. Part B, Biological Sciences, 58(1):63-70.

Haines RW; Lye KA, 1983. The Sedges and Rushes of East Africa. Nairobi, Kenya: East African Natural History Society.

Holm GL; Pancho JV; Herberger JP; Plucknett DL, 1991. A Geographical Atlas of World Weeds. Krieger, Malabar, Florida.

Holm LG; Plucknett DL; Pancho JV; Herberger JP, 1977. The World's Worst Weeds. Distribution and Biology. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: University Press of Hawaii.

Hutchinson J; Dalziel JM, 1972. Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 3. 2nd edition. London, UK: Crown Agents.

IRRI, 1989. Weeds Reported in Rice in South and South East Asia. Manila, Philippines: International Rice Research Institute.

Kissmann KG, 1997. Plantas Infestantes e Nocivas. Tomo 1, edition 2. Brazil: BASF, 256-258.

Langkamp PJ; Farnell GK; Dalling MJ, 1981. Acetylene reduction rates by selected leguminous and non-leguminous plants of Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory. Australian Journal of Botany, 29(1):1-9.

Lorenzi H, 1982. Plantas Daninhas do Brasil. Nova Odessa, San Paulo, Brazil: H. Lorenzi.

Napper DM, 1965. Cyperaceae of East Africa - III. Cyperus L. Journal of the East African Natural History Society, 25(1):1-27.

Nemoto M; Panchaban S; Vichaidis P; Takai Y, 1987. Some aspects of the vegetation at the inland saline areas in northeast Thailand. Journal of Agricultural Science, Tokyo Nogyo Daigaku, 32(1):1-9

Robertson SA, 1989. Flowering Plants of Seychelles. Kew, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens.

Soejani M; Kostermans AJGH; Tjitrosoepomo G, 1987. Weeds of Rice in Indonesia. Jakarta, Indonesia: Balai Pustaka.

Srivastava AK; Vaishya RD, 1993. Effect of nitrogen and weed management practices on nitrogen uptake by weeds in puddled seeded rice. Integrated weed management for sustainable agriculture. Proceedings of an Indian Society of Weed Science International Symposium, Hisar, India, 18-20 November 1993 Hisar, Haryana, India; Indian Society of Weed Science, Vol. III:43-45

Tasrif A, 1989. Weed seeds intercepted from grass and germination ability. BIOTROP Special Publication, No. 38:237-242.

Tsujimura A, 1979. The arrangement of the vegetation of Solfataras according to pH value of soils. Ecological Review, 19(2):59-65.

USDA-NRCS, 2003. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, USA.

Distribution Maps

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