Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Eremochloa ophiuroides
(centipedegrass)

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Datasheet

Eremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Eremochloa ophiuroides
  • Preferred Common Name
  • centipedegrass
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • E. ophiuroides is a perennial grass that has been intentionally introduced into tropical and warm temperate areas to be used as a lawn grass (

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Eremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass); habit. Kobe-shi, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. November 2015.
TitleHabit
CaptionEremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass); habit. Kobe-shi, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. November 2015.
Copyright©Harum.koh, Kobe city, Japan/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 2.0
Eremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass); habit. Kobe-shi, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. November 2015.
HabitEremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass); habit. Kobe-shi, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. November 2015.©Harum.koh, Kobe city, Japan/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 2.0
Eremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass); habit, with runners. August 2011.
TitleHabit
CaptionEremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass); habit, with runners. August 2011.
CopyrightPublic Domain - Released by James Becwar/via wikipedia - CC0
Eremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass); habit, with runners. August 2011.
HabitEremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass); habit, with runners. August 2011.Public Domain - Released by James Becwar/via wikipedia - CC0
Eremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass); close view of inflorescence. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. October 2013.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionEremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass); close view of inflorescence. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. October 2013.
Copyright©T.M. Jones/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Eremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass); close view of inflorescence. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. October 2013.
InflorescenceEremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass); close view of inflorescence. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. October 2013.©T.M. Jones/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Eremochloa ophiuroides (Munro) Hack.

Preferred Common Name

  • centipedegrass

Other Scientific Names

  • Andropogon ophiuroides (Munro) F.Muell.
  • Eremochloa ophiuroides var. longifolia Hayata
  • Ischaemum ophiuroides Munro

International Common Names

  • English: centipede grass; lazy-man's grass
  • Spanish: grama ciempies
  • Chinese: jia jian cao

Local Common Names

  • Puerto Rico: ciempiés

EPPO code

  • ERLOP (Eremochloa ophiuroides)

Summary of Invasiveness

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E. ophiuroides is a perennial grass that has been intentionally introduced into tropical and warm temperate areas to be used as a lawn grass (USDA-ARS, 2016). In the United States it has become a common lawn grass principally in the southeastern states (Brosnan and Deputy, 2008; Duble, 2016). However, in the USA, it also behaves as a weed principally in disturbed sites and along roadsides (Coile, 1993; USDA-NRCS, 2016) and Miller et al. (2010) recently reported that it is invading natural and disturbed areas across the southern states. It is also listed as an invasive grass in Puerto Rico (Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015). E. ophiuroides spreads easily by seeds and by stolons and grows forming dense mats of prostrate, low-growing stems and leaves (Brosnan and Deputy, 2008). Plants also recover quickly after fire (Walsh, 1994).

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Poaceae is one of the largest families in the Angiosperms including over 700 genera and 11,000 species widely distributed in all regions of the world (Stevens, 2012). Eremochloa is a genus of 11 species distributed from India and Sri Lanka to South China, Indochina and Australia (Buitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001; Thieret, 2003). In the case of Eremochloa ophiuroides, the original spelling of the epithet is “ophiouroides”, but everywhere else, even on the label of the isotypes seen it is spelled as “ophiuroides”, and the original name is therefore best regarded as a misprint (Buitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001). The usual spelling is therefore maintained here. The common name refers to the short upright stems resembling a centipede (Duble, 2016).

Description

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E. ophiuroides is a perennial, stoloniferous, mat-forming grass. Culms decumbent, rooting and branching, flowering shoots 15-30 cm tall. Leaf sheaths keeled, overlapping at base, hairy at mouth; leaf blades flat, (1-)3-10 × 0.2-0.4 cm, usually glabrous, apex obtuse; ligule 0.2-5 mm, margin ciliate. Raceme erect or slightly curved, 4-6 cm; rachis internodes narrowly oblong-clavate, glabrous, 2.5 mm. Sessile spikelet 3.5-4 mm; lower glume oblong, ± leathery, shiny, glabrous, 5-7-veined, marginal spines very inconspicuous, short along incurving lower keels or reduced to knobs, apex acute but appearing broadly truncate because of flanking membranous wings. Pedicelled spikelet vestigial or absent. Caryopsis about 2.0 mm long, narrowly elliptic (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016).

Distribution

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E. ophiuroides is native to China and Southeast Asia (Buitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001). It has been intentionally introduced into tropical and warm temperate areas to be used as a lawn grass (USDA-ARS, 2016). It can be found in cultivation and naturalized across the southern United States, Japan, India, Malawi, Honduras, Costa Rica, Bermuda and Puerto Rico (Buitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001; Clayton et al., 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

ChinaPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
-AnhuiPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
-FujianPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
-GuangdongPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
-GuangxiPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
-GuizhouPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
-HainanPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
-HebeiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-Hong KongPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
-HubeiPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
-HunanPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
-JiangsuPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
-JiangxiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2016
-ShanghaiPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
-SichuanPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
-XinjiangPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
-ZhejiangPresentNativeBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
IndiaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016
-MaharashtraPresentIntroducedBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001Bombay/Mumbai
JapanPresentIntroducedBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001; Clayton et al., 2016Kanagawa
Korea, Republic ofPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
TaiwanPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016
VietnamPresentNativeClayton et al., 2016

Africa

MalawiPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016

North America

BermudaPresentIntroducedBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001
MexicoPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016
USAPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2016
-AlabamaPresentIntroduced Invasive Miller et al., 2010; USDA-NRCS, 2016
-ArkansasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2016
-FloridaPresentIntroduced Invasive Coile, 1993; USDA-NRCS, 2016Weed- Category III (spreading across disturbed sites and along roadsides)
-GeorgiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Miller et al., 2010; USDA-NRCS, 2016Weed
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedBuitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001Kauai
-LouisianaPresentIntroduced Invasive Miller et al., 2010; Clayton et al., 2016Weed
-MassachusettsPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2016
-MississippiPresentIntroduced Invasive Miller et al., 2010; USDA-NRCS, 2016Weed
-North CarolinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2016
-South CarolinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Miller et al., 2010; USDA-NRCS, 2016Weed
-TennesseePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2016
-TexasPresentIntroduced Invasive Miller et al., 2010; USDA-NRCS, 2016Weed
-VirginiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2016

Central America and Caribbean

Costa RicaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016
HondurasPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2016
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015

Oceania

GuamPresentIntroducedFosberg et al., 1987

History of Introduction and Spread

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Duble (2016) reports that E. ophiuroides was first introduced into the United States in 1916 from seed collected in South China by Frank Meyer, although Piper and Stokes (1925) suggested that the Department of Agriculture had introduced it to the USA in 1919. Piper and Stokes suggested that “every Green Section golf club in the region” to which it was adapted in the southeastern USA should start a nursery of the grass to use it on golf course fairways. It has since become widely grown in the southeastern United States from Virginia to Florida and westward along the Gulf Coast states to Texas (Thieret, 2003; USDA-NRCS, 2016). In Puerto Rico, it was introduced in 1930 (Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015). In Guam, E. ophiuroides was experimentally introduced by the Guam Experiment Station in 1927 (Stone, 1970).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
USA China 1916 Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes No Brosnan and Deputy (2008)

Risk of Introduction

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The likelihood of new introductions of E. ophiuroides is high mainly because it is widely commercialized as a lawn grass. This species grows forming dense mats which are very difficult to control because plants easily resprout from remnant stolons (Brosnan and Deputy, 2008).

Habitat

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E. ophiuroides can be found growing in bushy steppe, dry grassland or savannah, moist banks at the foot of mountains, sandy roadsides, on the seashore, as a weed in plantations, in Quercus, Liquidambar-Pinus forest, mixed with Axonopus, and abandoned in rice fields, preferring clay soils (Buitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001).

In China, it grows in moist meadows, hillsides, and especially on clay soils at elevations ranging from 200 to 1200 m (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016). In Taiwan, it has been recorded growing on poor soils on hillsides (Flora of Taiwan, 2016).

In Puerto Rico, the grass can be found growing in humid areas, wet disturbed sites and in dry grasslands (Más and García-Molinari, 2006). In the United States, it is now established along roadsides and in woods, fallow fields, and sandy dunes (Thieret, 2003). It also occurs on sandy roadsides and disturbed sites in the Carolinas, Texas, and Florida, and is naturalized in coastal hammocks in Florida (Walsh, 1994).

In Costa Rica and Honduras, E. ophiuroides can be found growing in wet forests at elevations ranging from 800 to 1200 m (Davidse et al., 1994; Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica, 2016).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for E. ophiuroides is 2n = 18 (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016).

Reproductive Biology

In the United States, controlled pollination experiments showed that E. ophiuroides has a mixed breeding system with seed-set ranging from 50-90% with open-pollination, 45-66% with cross-pollination, and 0-58% with self-pollination (Hanna and Burton, 1978; Walsh, 1994).

Physiology and Phenology

E. ophiuroides is a perennial long-lived grass (Thieret, 2003). Seeds of E. ophiuroides usually require 21-28 days to germinate. It also produces new stolons each growing season. These runners replace the live growth of the previous year (Walsh, 1994).

In China, E. ophiuroides has been recorded flowering and fruiting from June to October (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016). In the United States, this species blooms in August and September in the Carolinas and from summer to autumn in Florida. Seeds are mature at the end of October in southeastern Alabama, and from mid-June until late October in north Florida and south Georgia (Walsh, 1994).

Environmental Requirements

E. ophiuroides grows in both dry and humid areas with mean annual rainfall ranging from 750 to 1500 mm. It is well adapted to grow on clay and sandy soils (even on fine sands) with pH ranging from 5.8 to 8.4 (Walsh, 1994; Buitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016). It does not grow well on poorly drained soil, but is adapted to low fertility soils. This species can tolerate cold conditions, but extended periods of -10°C or less can kill plants (Duble, 2016).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
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)

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -11
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 10 22

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall7501500mm; lower/upper limits

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Gaeumannomyces graminis var. graminis Pathogen Other/All Stages not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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E. ophiuroides is highly susceptible to damage from plant-parasitic nematodes (especially ring nematodes) and the scale insect known as ground pearls (Magarodes spp.). The grass is susceptible to a fungal disease caused by Gaeumannomyces graminis (Unruh et al., 2016).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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E. ophiuroides spreads by seeds and vegetatively by short, thick, leafy stolons. This species does not produces rhizomes, but is a prolific seeder (Brosnan and Deputy, 2008). Seeds can be dispersed by wind and attached to animals and vehicles. Seeds may also be spread as a contaminant on soil and garden tools. Stolons may be broken off and dispersed to new locations by humans, animals and vehicles (Brosnan and Deputy, 2008; Duble, 2016; USDA-NRCS, 2016).

Intentional Introduction

E. ophiuroides has been intentionally introduced and is used primarily for lawns, parks, golf course roughs and utility turf (Brosnan and Deputy, 2008; Duble, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016).

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Environmental Impact

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E. ophiuroides is a weedy grass that grows forming dense flat mats with the potential to outcompete native plant species. It also has stoloniferous stems and the leaves that grow reducing the likelihood of seedling of native plants of being established. E. ophiuroides has escaped from cultivation and behaves as a weed on disturbed sites and along roadsides (Coile, 1993; Buitenhuis and Veldkamp, 2001; Brosnan and Deputy, 2008; Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015; USDA-NRCS, 2016).

Impact on habitats

E. ophiuroides shows allelopathic activity with significant reductions in shoot and root weight of other plant species (Gannon et al., 2006).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Gregarious
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of hydrology
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - smothering
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting
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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E. ophiuroides is widely cultivated as a lawn grass in parks, gardens, golf courses and along roadsides. This grass is also planted for soil conservation and as a ground cover in gardens (Duble, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016).

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.

A combination of manual and chemical methods is recommended for the management of E. ophiuroides. In the case of smaller infestations, plants can be cut out and all stolons must be removed. Larger infestations can be controlled by mowing the aboveground segments of the grass. Resprouts can be sprayed with a foliar application of the herbicide glyphosate.

References

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Brosnan JT, Deputy J, 2008. Centipedegrass. Turf Management TM-14. Hawaii, USA: Cooperative Extension Service, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Buitenhuis AG, Veldkamp JF, 2001. Revision of Eremochloa (Gramineae-Andropogoneae-Rottboellinae)., Blumea, 46:399-420

Clayton WD, Govaerts R, Harman KT, Williamson H, Vorontsova M, 2016. World Checklist of Poaceae. Richmond, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/

Coile N, 1993. Florida’s most invasive species. The Palmetto, 13(3):6-7. http://www.fnps.org/assets/pdf/palmetto/floridas_most_invasive_species_vol_13_no_3_fall_1993.pdf

Davidse G, Sousa-Sánchez M, Chater AO, 1994. Alismataceae a Cyperaceae. 6: i–xvi, 1–543. In: Davidse G, Sousa Sánchez M, Chater AO, Eds. Flora Mesoamericana. México, D.F.: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Duble RL, 2016. Centipedegrass. Aggie Horticulture. Texas Cooperative Extension Service, Texas A&M System. http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/turf/publications/centipede.html

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2016. Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Flora of Taiwan, 2016. Gramineae (Poaceae) in Flora of Taiwan. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=1050

Fosberg FR, Sachet MH, Oliver R, 1987. A geographical checklist of the Micronesian monocotyledonae., Micronesica, 20:1-126

Gannon TW, Yelverson FH, McElroy S, 2006. Allelopathic potential of centipedegrass (Eremochloa ophiuroides)., Weed Science, 54(3):521-525

Hanna WW, Burton GW, 1978. Cytology, reproductive behavior, and fertility characteristics of centipedegrass., Crop Science, 18(5):835-837

Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica, 2016. Poaceae/Eremochloa ophiuroides. http://www.tropicos.org/Name/25512011?projectid=66

Más EG, García-Molinari O, 2006. Guia Ilustrada de Yerbas Comunes en Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico: Universidad de Puerto Rico, Colegio de Ciencias Agrícolas, Servicio de Extensión Agrícola. 28 pp.

Miller JH, Chambliss EB, Loewenstein NJ, 2010. A field guide for the identification of Invasive plants in the Southern Forest. Southern Research Station. USDA- Forest Service. General Technical Report SRS-119.

Piper CV, Stokes WE, 1925. Centipede grass (Eremochloa ophiuroides)., Bulletin of Green Section of the United States Golf Association, 5(9):196-197

Rojas-Sandoval J, Acevedo-Rodríguez P, 2015. Naturalization and invasion of alien plants in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands., Biological Invasions, 17(1):149-163

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

Stone BC, 1970. The flora of Guam., Micronesica:1-659

Thieret JW, 2003. Eremochloa Büse. In: Barkworth ME, Capels KM, Long S, Piep MB, eds. Flora of North America, Grass Manual on the Web. http://herbarium.usu.edu/webmanual

Unruh JB, Trenholm LE, Cisar JL, 2016. Centipedegrass for Florida Lawns. Report ENH8. Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension

USDA-ARS, 2016. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2016. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/

Walsh RA, 1994. Eremochloa ophiuroides. In: Fire Effects Information System. USDA, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Fire Sciences Laboratory. http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/graminoid/ereoph/all.html

Links to Websites

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

Contributors

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05/12/16 Original text by:

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

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