Leptochloa chinensis (Chinese sprangletop)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Leptochloa chinensis (L.) Nees, 1824
Preferred Common Name
- Chinese sprangletop
Other Scientific Names
- Leptochloa decipiens (R. Br.) Druce
- Leptochloa malabarica Retz., 1789
- Poa chinensis L., 1753
- Poa decipiens R. Br.
International Common Names
- English: Asian sprangletop
Local Common Names
- Indonesia: bebontengan; timoenan
- Japan: azegaya
- Philippines: malay-palay
- Thailand: ya-dock-kao; ya-yang-khou
- Vietnam: cò duoi phung
- LEFCH (Leptochloa chinensis)
- LEFDE (Leptochloa decipiens)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Monocotyledonae
- Order: Cyperales
- Family: Poaceae
- Genus: Leptochloa
- Species: Leptochloa chinensis
DescriptionTop of page L. chinensis is a strongly tufted, annual or short-lived perennial grass with glabrous leaves and fibrous roots. Its flowering culms are erect or ascending from a branching base. They are occasionally stoloniferous and 0.3-1.2 m tall. They have 3-6 nodes which have glabrous internodes that are smooth, grooved and striate and hollow. The leaf sheaths are keeled, glabrous, smooth, not ciliate, distinctly nerved and usually longer than the associated internodes. The leaf blade is linear, acute, membraneous, green and slightly glaucous. It is 6-32 cm long, 4-9 mm wide, flat or folded, glabrous and rough on the upper surface.The ligules are 1-2 mm long with setaceous hairs on the adaxial surface. They are deeply divided into hairlike segments and erose.
The inflorescence forms an open panicle 15-60 cm long, with numerous, slender, flexuous branches. Axis is 10-40 cm long, grooved and scabrous with glabrous axils. The panicle has ascending primary branches which are slender and not winged. They are 2-13 cm long, distinctly grooved and bear spikelets to the base. The pedicels are 0.4-1 mm long and minutely scabrous on the margins.
The spikelets have between 3 and 7 flowers but usually 5-6 flowers are present. These are 2.0-3.5 mm long, 0.8-1.3 mm wide and are often purplish and appressed to the primary branches. The rachilla is filiform and glabrous with similar florets which are perfect, reduced upwards and overlapping.
The glumes are shorter than the lemmas. The first glume is usually shorter than the second. It is has a single nerve and is 0.6-1.5 mm long. It is hyaline to membraneous but scabrous on the nerve and lanceolate. The apex is acuminate. The second glume is 0.9-2.4 mm long and 3-nerved. It is keeled and otherwise similar to the lower glume. Disarticulation occurs above the glumes and between the florets.
The lemmas are 3-nerved, not deeply cleft; they are 0.8-3-2 mm long and 0.4-0.55 mm wide. Lemmas are membraneous to hyaline with minutely scabrous nerves. They are hairy on the surface and margins and oblong to elliptic in shape with acute to obtuse points. The palea, which is shorter than the lemma, is scabrous on the nerves with appressed hairs. The anthers are minute (about 0.15-0.2 mm long).
The caryopsis (grain) is brown, smooth or finely reticulated (rugose). It is 0.5-0.8 mm long, oblong to elliptic and rounded. The caryopsis is dorsally compressed.
(After Holm et al., 1977; Hafliger and Scholz, 1981; Ohwi, 1984.)
DistributionTop of page L. chinensis is a native of tropical Asia, where it is commonly found in wet ditches and rice fields. It is now widespread and common in southern Asia, China, Australia, southern and eastern Africa, and throughout the Pacific basin (Hafliger and Scholz, 1981). Dissemination of L. chinensis has been enhanced by the use of contaminated rice stocks (Holm et al., 1977).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 23 Apr 2020
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Eswatini||Present, Localized||Holm et al. (1977); EPPO (2020)|
|Kenya||Present||CABI (Undated)||Original citation: Phillips, 1974|
|Mali||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020)|
|Tanzania||Present||CABI (Undated)||Original citation: Phillips, 1974|
|China||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020)|
|Hong Kong||Present, Localized||Holm et al. (1979); EPPO (2020)|
|India||Present, Localized||Ohwi (1984); EPPO (2020)|
|Indonesia||Present, Localized||Hafliger and Scholz (1981); EPPO (2020)|
|Japan||Present, Localized||Hafliger and Scholz (1981); EPPO (2020)|
|Malaysia||Present||Ohwi (1984); Waterhouse (1993)|
|Myanmar||Present, Localized||Holm et al. (1979); Waterhouse (1993); EPPO (2020)|
|North Korea||Present, Localized||Hafliger and Scholz (1981); EPPO (2020)|
|Philippines||Present, Localized||Hafliger and Scholz (1981); EPPO (2020)|
|South Korea||Present||Hafliger and Scholz (1981)|
|Sri Lanka||Present, Localized||Reed (1977); EPPO (2020)|
|Taiwan||Present, Localized||Ohwi (1984); EPPO (2020)|
|Thailand||Present, Localized||Reed (1977); Waterhouse (1993); EPPO (2020)|
|Vietnam||Present||Jeanplong (1973); Waterhouse (1993)|
|U.S. Virgin Islands||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020)|
|Papua New Guinea||Present, Localized||Holm et al. (1979); EPPO (2020)|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page L. chinensis is listed as a Federal Noxious Weed in the USA (Westbrooks, 1989).
HabitatTop of page L. chinensis occurs in croplands, wetlands, swamps, or streams in open lowland regions of the tropics. It can also grow in heavy or light soils, along streams and watercourses, in marshy grounds, and in upland and lowland rice fields. In Java (Indonesia), it grows from sea level to 900 m in altitude (Holm et al., 1977).
Habitat ListTop of page
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page L. chinensis invades sugarcane, vegetables, cotton, corn, soyabeans, sweet potatoes, peanuts, bananas, pineapples, tea and other crops. However, it is best known as a serious weed of rice.
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Ananas comosus (pineapple)||Bromeliaceae||Main|
|Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Camellia sinensis (tea)||Theaceae||Main|
|Glycine max (soyabean)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato)||Convolvulaceae||Main|
|Musa x paradisiaca (plantain)||Musaceae||Main|
|Oryza sativa (rice)||Poaceae||Main|
|Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)||Poaceae||Main|
|Zea mays (maize)||Poaceae||Main|
Biology and EcologyTop of page L. chinensis normally behaves as an annual, but may persist as a short-lived perennial when suitable growing conditions exist. It competes with crops for nutrients, space, and light in lowland rice. In upland rice and other crops, it competes for moisture (Holm et al., 1977). It usually reproduces by seeds, but can also reproduce vegetatively by division of culm clumps or rootstocks following cultivation (ploughing) (Holm et al., 1977). Each inflorescence has the potential of producing hundreds of seeds and an individual plant may have numerous inflorescences (Holm et al., 1977).
Flowering followed by seed production typically occurs in late summer. In the northern hemisphere this is generally from August to October (Reed, 1977). It is now known to exhibit C4 photosynthesis (Tai and Lin, 1989; Das et al., 1993).
Pane and Mansor (1994) record how L. chinensis (and Echinochloa crus-galli) increased in importance with a change from transplanted to direct-sown rice cropping in the Muda area of Malaysia. It had previously been unnoticed in this area. Apparently, like most forms of E. crus-galli, L. chinensis cannot germinate under 5 cm water (as in transplanted rice fields) but can germinate in saturated soil, and will survive later flooding to 5 cm. Hence it is able to germinate and establish successfully along with direct-sown rice. These authors note that fresh seeds can give 61% germination within 8 weeks of shedding.
In a Japanese study, 12 lines of L. chinensis seeds were collected from 11 sites in south-west Japan and tested for their effect on soyabeans in pot and field trials. In the study, seeds showed greater longevity under flooded conditions than upland conditions in summer, especially in May-September. All lines were found to be light-sensitive and all germinated under moist conditions in the light at 30-40°C (Matsuo et al., 1987). The breaking of L. chinensis seed dormancy varies with conditions of storage (Matsuo and Kataoka, 1983).
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page The lepidopteran Creatonotos gangis, which is highly adapted to rice but has not been reported to be economically important on this crop, has been found to survive to pupation, oviposit and complete development on L. chinensis. The percentage larval survival to pupation on L. chinensis was 73% (Catindig et al., 1993).
Studies in the Philippines have confirmed that leaf hoppers such as Nephotettix virescens, N. nigropictus, N. malayanus, and Recilia dorsalis, which transmit rice tungro bacilliform badnavirus (RTBV) and rice tungro spherical virus (RTSV), feed on weeds such as L. chinensis in fallow fields (Khan et al., 1991).
ImpactTop of page L. chinensis is a livestock fodder species with high nutritional value. In east Africa, the grain is used as a famine food. However, in agricultural areas it is an aggressive invader, spreading by fragmented stem-bases or highly viable seeds. L. chinensis is an important weed in Swaziland (Holm et al., 1977). It is now recognized as a troublesome weed in at least 11 crops in Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific Basin. It invades sugarcane, vegetables, cotton, corn, soyabeans, sweet potatoes, peanuts, bananas, pineapples, tea and other crops. However, it is best known as a serious weed of rice.
In Malaysia, changes in the weed flora of rice in the Muda area of Malaysia have been noted since the adoption of double cropping and rapidly maturing cultivars in the 1970s. Since the move from transplanting to direct sowing, grasses such as L. chinensis have largely replaced broad-leaved weeds and sedges (Ho and Zuki, 1988; Ho, 1994).
Impact on Yield
In India, densities of L. chinensis at 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 plants/m² resulted in mean yield reductions of rice of 14, 23, 25, 39 and 44%, respectively (Prusty et al., 1992).
Impact as a Host of Pests
Wetland rice in swampy habitats is the preferred food plant of the insect pest Scotinophara latiscula. However, L. chinensis and several other weeds are also known to be alternative hosts (Barrion and Litsinger, 1987). Laboratory and greenhouse tests in Kenya have demonstrated that L. chinensis is an alternative host of the pyralid rice pest Cnaphalocrocis medinalis (Khan et al., 1996).
Impact as a Host of Diseases
Cross-inoculation studies conducted in the Philippines have found that L. chinensis is an alternative host of the rice disease Pyricularia oryzae [Magnaporthe grisea] (Mackill and Bonman, 1986).
Studies in the Philippines have confirmed that leaf hoppers such as Nephotettix virescens, N. nigropictus, N. malayanus, and Recilia dorsalis, which transmit rice tungro bacilliform badnavirus (RTBV) and rice tungro spherical virus (RTSV), feed on weeds such as L. chinensis in fallow fields, which indicates the potential for dispersal of rice viruses in weeds in fallow fields (Khan et al., 1991).
Detection and InspectionTop of page L. chinensis plant parts that are likely to be found as contaminants of rice and row crop seeds include seeds, seedheads, and stolons (Westbrooks, 1989). The seeds of L. chinensis are sometimes co-harvested in crops that it has infested. However, because its seeds are small, thorough cleaning can remove L. chinensis from rice and other crop seeds (Holm et al., 1977).
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
The combination of totally glabrous leaves and hairy lemmas and paleas can be used as a diagnostic feature to distinguish L. chinensis from other species of Leptochloa. Other diagnostic features of this species include a dorsally compressed caryopsis, a deeply divided ligule, 5-6 florets per spikelet, and the (sometimes) aquatic habit of the plant (Holm et al., 1977; Westbrooks, 1989).The other most common weedy species, Leptochloa panicea is distinguished by much smaller spikelets (up to 2.5 mm) with only 2-3 florets, tubercle-based hairs on the leaf sheath and finely toothed ligule (Holm et al., 1977; Westbrooks, 1989).
Confusion can also arise with another weed of wet places, Diplachne fusca, which has a similar inflorescence but larger (8-15 mm), less flattened spikelets with 6-11 florets and glumes rounded on the back, not keeled. D. fusca also has a simple, membraneous, long-pointed ligule.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
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.Cultural Control
In a study conducted in Japan, it was concluded that flooding was only effective in control of L. chinensis seedlings when carried out shortly after emergence and when at least 10 cm deep (Matsuo et al., 1987). Pane and Mansor (1994) also record that L. chinensis can be suppressed by permanently flooding direct-sown rice within 5 days after seeding, whereas a delay until 15 days allows it to flourish.
L. chinensis is resistant to some rice herbicides, for example bentazone and quinclorac, but susceptible to most others, including butachlor, fenoxaprop, molinate, pretilachlor and thiobencarb (Ampong-Nyarko and de Datta, 1991). These authors list propanil as ineffective whereas Pane and Mansor (1994) record that it is used for control of L. chinensis.
During 1983-88, 51 field trials were conducted with eight cultivars of wet-sown rice in Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand, to determine the efficacy of pretilachlor + fenclorim in controlling L. chinensis and several other serious weeds. The results indicated that the formulation had a positive effect on rice grain yield (890-2570 kg/ha above untreated controls) and may be used to control major weed problems including L. chinensis in wet-sown rice in South-East Asia (Allard and Zoachke, 1990).
In Malaysia and Thailand in 1988-89, it was found that separate treatments of pretilachlor safened with fenclorim, and of cinosulfuron resulted in 76-99% and 25-47% control of L. chinensis in rice (Hare et al., 1989).
In Thailand, a commercial formulation of pretilachlor + safener provided effective control of L. chinensis (Ooi and Chong, 1988). In glasshouse studies conducted in Thailand, L. chinensis, and several other grass weeds growing in rice were effectively controlled by oxadiazon and oxyfluorfen. In another study, fluazifop-butyl was found to be effective in control of L. chinensis (Vongsaroj and Price, 1987).
In Malaysia, fenoxaprop-ethyl applied to rice cv. MR84 provided effective control of L. chinensis in both dry and flooded conditions. Yield increased by 10-100% according to the degree of weed infestation. A supplementary application of 2,4-butyl ester was required to control broad-leaved weeds and sedges. Fenoxaprop caused slight phytotoxicity in rice plants, but the crop recovered 14-21 days after application (Kuah and Sallehuddin, 1988). In Muda, Malaysia, it was concluded that quinclorac is ineffective against L. chinensis infestations in rice (Lo, 1988).
In China, in trials with rice, oxyfluorfen gave 90-100% control of L. chinensis amongst other weeds (Jiang et al., 1989).
In Japan, it was found that L. chinensis became a severe problem within a year after sowing soyabeans in mid-summer. Thiobencarb and prometryn applied after sowing soyabeans, followed by inter-row cultivation and ridging in mid-summer, provided consistent control (Matsuo et al., 1987).
In Indonesia, a commercial formulation of paraquat and diuron failed to control L. chinensis and Echinochloa colonum in soyabeans (variety Lokon), but fluazifop butyl was effective (Budiyanto and Hidayati, 1990).
In studies on cotton in China, prometryn gave 96% control of L. chinensis; fluometuron gave 98.1% control and trifluralin gave 90% control (Tang et al., 1984).
ReferencesTop of page
Allard JL; Zoschke A, 1990. A solution to the major weed problems in wet-sown rice: experiences with pretilachlor/fenclorim in south-east Asia. Pest management in rice (conference held by the Society of Chemical Industry, London, UK, 4-7 June 1990) [edited by Grayson, B.T.; Green, M.B.; Copping, L.G.] Barking, UK; Elsevier Applied Science Publishers Ltd., 378-388
Andrews F, 1956. The flowering plants of the Sudan. Volume III - Compositae, Gramineae. Arbroath, Scotland: T. Buncle & Co.
Barrion AT; Litsinger JA, 1987. The bionomics, karyology and chemical control of the node-feeding black bug, Scotinophara latiuscula Breddin (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in the Philippines. Journal of Plant Protection in the Tropics, 4(1):37-54
Budiyanto E; Hidayati S, 1990. The evaluation of selective post-emergence herbicides against grass weeds in soybeans with special reference to soybean production and changes in the species composition of weeds. BIOTROP Special Publication, No. 38:131-142
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
Hare CJ; Chong WC; Ooi GT; Bhandhufalck A; Nawsaran S; Chanprasit P, 1989. Sofit Super: broad spectrum weed management for wet sown rice in S.E. Asia. Proceedings, 12th Asian-Pacific Weed Science Society Conference Taipei, Taiwan; Asian-Pacific Weed Science Society, No. 1:165-170
Ho N-K; Zuki I, 1988. Weed population changes from transplanted to direct seed rice in the Muda area. In: Proceedings of the National Seminar and Workshop on Rice Field Weed Management. Kedah, Malaysia: MADA, 55-67.
Jiang R; Xue G; Lou Y; Du J, 1989. Field trials of oxyfluorfen, a herbicide used for control of weeds in rice field in Jiangsu Province. Jiangsu Agricultural Sciences, 5:22-24.
Khan Z; Abenes M; Fernandez N, 1996. Suitability of gramineous weed species as host plants for rice leaffolders, Cnaphalocrocis medinalis and Marasmia patnalis. Crop Protection, 15(2):121-127.
Kuah T; Sallehuddin M, 1988. Hoe 360 (fenoxaprop-ethyl) for control of grassy weeds in direct seeded rice. In: Proceedings of the National Seminar and Workshop on Rice Field Weed Management. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Hoechst Malaysia Sdn Bhd, 185-202.
Lo N, 1988. Field evaluation of quinclorac for direct seeded rice in Muda (Malaysia). MARDI Research Journal, 16(1):171-179.
Matsuo K; Katuyama N; Kon T; Komatsu Y; Uemura Y, 1987. Ecology of Leptochloa chinensis (L.) Nees (Gramineae) and their weed control. Bulletin of the Shikoku National Agricultural Experiment Station, Zensuji, 48:1-15.
Ohwi J, 1984. In: Meyer F, Walker E, eds. Flora of Japan. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
Pane H; Mansor M, 1994. The ecology of Leptochloa chinensis (L.) Nees and its management. Appropriate weed control in Southeast Asia. Proceedings of an FAO-CAB International workshop, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 17-18 May 1994 [edited by Sastroutomo, S.S.; Auld, B.A.] Wallingford, UK; CAB International, 52-63
Prusty J; Behera B; Mohanty S, 1992. Study on critical threshold limit of dominant weeds in medium land rice. In: Integrated weed management for sustainable agriculture. Proceedings of an Indian Society of Weed Science International Symposium, Hisar, India, 18-20 November 1993. Volume II, 13-15.
Reed C, 1977. Economically Important Foreign Weeds. Potential Problems in the United States. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agri. Handbook, No. 498.
Tang H; Yu R; Ye C, 1984. Tests of weed control in cotton seedbed by chemicals. Shanghai Agricultural Science and Technology, 2:22-23.
Waterhouse DF, 1993. The Major Arthropod Pests and Weeds of Agriculture in Southeast Asia. ACIAR Monograph No. 21. Canberra, Australia: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, 141 pp.
Westbrooks R, 1989. Regulatory exclusion of Federal Noxious Weeds from the United States. Ph.D. Dissertation. Raleigh, North Carolina: Department of Botany, North Carolina State University.
Andrews F, 1956. The flowering plants of the Sudan. Volume III - Compositae, Gramineae., III Arbroath, Scotland: T. Buncle & Co.
CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI
CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI
Ohwi J, 1984. Flora of Japan., [ed. by Meyer F, Walker E]. Washington, DC, Smithsonian Institution.
Reed C, 1977. Economically Important Foreign Weeds. In: Potential Problems in the United States, US Department of Agriculture, Agri Handbook, No. 498.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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