Miscanthus sinensis (eulalia)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Threatened Species
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Miscanthus sinensis Andersson (1855)
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Erianthus japonicus (Trin.).P. Beauv. (1812)
- Eulalia japonica Trin. (1832)
- Miscanthus condensatus Hack.
- Miscanthus flavidus Honda
- Miscanthus japonicas (Trin.) Andersson (1856)
- Miscanthus kanehirae Honda
- Miscanthus purpurescens Andersson
- Miscanthus sinensis var. gracillumus Hitche. (1901)
- Miscanthus sinensis var. variegatus Beal (1896)
- Miscanthus sinensis var. zebrinus Beal (1896)
- Miscanthus transmorrisonensis Hayata
- Ripidium japonicum (Trin.) Trin. (1820)
- Saccharum japopnicum Thunb. (1794)
- Xiphagrostis japonicas (Trin.) Coville (1905)
International Common Names
- English: Chinese fairygrass; Chinese silver grass; eulaliagrass; Japanese pampas grass; Japanese silver grass; maiden grass; pampas grass; plume grass; wild sugar cane; zebra grass
- French: eulalie; miscanthus de Chine
Local Common Names
- Denmark: kinesisk elefantgraes
- Germany: Chinaschilf; Chinesisches Stielbluetengras; Gemeines Chinaschilf
- Japan: obana
- Netherlands: prachtriet
- MISSI (Miscanthus sinensis)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
M. sinensis has become a popular perennial ornamental grass in warm, temperate areas since its introduction at the turn of the twentieth century from Japan and China. In Japan it is maintained in semi-natural grasslands by burning where it is used for grazing cattle and is also cut for hay. Many cultivars have been developed and are readily available from nurseries. As a garden escape it has become naturalised from rhizome fragments in discarded garden waste and subsequent seeding in the Mid-Atlantic States and New England, USA, and New South Wales, Australia. Impacts are localised along roadsides and other disturbed areas in the USA. It is only listed as a noxious weed in Connecticut but even here its trade is not prevented. Conservation groups list it as a bush invader of the Blue Mountains in Australia where it is not subject to regulation.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Monocotyledonae
- Order: Cyperales
- Family: Poaceae
- Genus: Miscanthus
- Species: Miscanthus sinensis
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Since Andersson first described Miscanthus in 1855 more than 80 synonyms have been applied to the genus. Fourteen species are now recognised (Hodkinson et al., 1997) but interspecific hybridisation is common giving rise to many sterile hybrids. Intergeneric hybridisation also occurs, especially with Sacharum, a close relative. The only tangible difference between these genera is the disposition of spikelets on the floral panicle and the fragility of the rachis (Scally et al., 2001). More than 15 names have been published for M. sinensis, largely at the botanical variety or form level. This synonymy was catalogued most recently by Filgueiras (2003). The attempts to provide sub-species classification reflects that M. sinensis is a widespread species with a broad range of variation.
The Flora of China (Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006) concludes that although the variants may be locally distinct, there are too many intermediates to allow a more detailed taxonomy to be followed. The flora lists the main variants as Miscanthus condensatus from Japan (including Ryukyu Islands), especially on coasts; M. purpurascens found throughout the range of M. sinensis and M. transmorrisonensis in Taiwan. The Flora of Taiwan (FOT, 2008) however maintains M. sinensis var condensatus and M. sinensis var sinensis as distinct. Although M. transmorrisonensis is morphologically similar to M. sinensis recent analysis has provided evidence that it has diverged sufficiently at the molecular level to merit species recognition (Hodkinson et al., 2002). This study also indicated that the species status of M. sinensis var condensatus and M. floribundus is questionable as these are similar to M. sinensis at the molecular level. M. floribundus is primarily Pacific in distribution, overlapping with M. sinensis in a limited area. It has smaller spikelets and a range of intermediates occur that are difficult to distinguish.
M. sinensis was introduced to gardens in Europe, North America and Australia more than a century ago and it is now perhaps the most widely grown ornamental grass in temperate areas. Many named cultivars have been developed with more than 50 ornamental forms now available in USA (Meyer, 2003). An Internet search will also indicate an abundance of nurseries in Europe that each offers 15 to 20 cultivars. These may or may not be labelled as Miscanthus. Widely planted varieties include maiden grass (M. sinensis cv. 'Gracillimus'), porcupine grass (cv. 'Strictus') sometimes listed as M. sinensis var. strictus, zebra grass (cv. 'Zebrinus'), Cultivar 'Variegatus', flame grass (cv. 'Purpurescens') and silver feather grass (cv. 'Silberfeder'). Cv. morning light, cultivated for over a century in Japan, is now one of the most popular.
In addition to ornamental forms the name ‘Miscanthus’ is now commonly used to refer to the biomass crop plant Miscanthus x giganteus (Jones and Walsh, 2001). This is a pollen sterile triploid hybrid (n = 57) of uncertain origin, probably M. sinensis (diploid) x M. sacchariflorus (tetrapoloid). This was introduced into Denmark in 1935 from Yokohama, Japan.
DescriptionTop of page
Plants are reed or cane like, clump forming and shortly rhizomatous. Flowering culms grow from 0.3 to 2 m (exceptionally 4 m) tall, 3–10 mm in diameter, and are solid, unbranched, with glabrous or puberulous nodes. Leaf sheaths glabrous or pilose and the leaf blades linear, flat, 18–75 × 0.3–2(–4) cm, glabrous, glaucous or pilose with a prominent mid-rib. Leaf margins are sharp and slightly serrated. The membranous-fringed ligule is 0.5 to 4 mm long. Inflorescence is an open panicle with large fan shaped branches that are persistent through the winter, 10 to 40 cm in length.Spikelets are in pairs, 4–6.5 mm, long pilose or glabrous, awned and surrounded by silky hairs 5–8 mm long, exceeding the spikelet. Glumes are subequal, membranous, 4–6.5 mm, 5-veined, back glabrous or pilose, puberulous at the apex and along upper margins. The upper lemma similar to lower, 2.5–3.5 mm with a genticulate awn, 4–12 mm. The upper palea is 1–2 mm. There are 3 anthers, about 2.5 mm. Caryopsis ellipsoid, about 2 mm. (See Shou-Liang Cheng and Renvoize (2006) for a detailed description).
Plant TypeTop of page Grass / sedge
DistributionTop of page
The genus Miscanthus has a wide distribution extending from S.E. Asia through China, Japan and into Polynesia with a few species occurring in Africa. M. sinensis is native to China, Japan, Taiwan, the Pacific coast of Maritime Province of the Russian Federation and the Korean peninsula. According to Morita (1997) it is found throughout Japan. It is particularly common in Honshu where the plants are found along roadsides and on wasteland (Meyer, 2003). Additionally, Japan has high elevation semi-natural Miscanthus grasslands, from 450-1500 m above seal level, that are maintained by periodic burning.
M. sinensis has been a popular garden ornamental for more than a century and is now found in gardens in many warm temperate areas of the world. Naturalized populations have established from garden escapes in North America, Latin America, New South Wales in Australia and sporadically in Western Europe with specimens collected from southern England, northern France and Denmark (Tropicos, 2008). In USA it is known outside of cultivation from approximately 30°N in Louisiana to 43°N in New York State. It is found in New England and the Mid-Atlantic States, particularly Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia but it is also known to have naturalized in parts of California (Calflora, 2008; USDA-NRCS, 2008). In western North Carolina M. sinensis has become naturalized on roadsides and on mountain slopes in much of Buncumbe, Madison, and Henderson Counties and it is also reported from Chester County Pennsylvania, and disturbed areas in Washington DC (Meyer, 2003). In New South Wales the species has invaded areas of the Blue Mountains to the West of Sydney (Harley, 2007).
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.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|-Anhui||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|-Fujian||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|-Guangdong||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|-Guangxi||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|-Hainan||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|-Hebei||Present, few occurrences||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|-Hong Kong||Present||Native||Not invasive||GBIF, 2008|
|-Hubei||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|-Jiangsu||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|-Jiangxi||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|-Jilin||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|-Shaanxi||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|-Shandong||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|-Sichuan||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|-Yunnan||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|-Zhejiang||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shou-Liang and Renvoize, 2006|
|Georgia (Republic of)||Present||EPPO, 2014|
|Indonesia||Present||Native||ISSG, 2008; EPPO, 2014||No distribution information with this record|
|-Honshu||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||GBIF, 2008|
|-Shikoku||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||GBIF, 2008|
|Korea, DPR||Present||Native||Not invasive||GBIF, 2008|
|Korea, Republic of||Present||Native||Not invasive||GBIF, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|Philippines||Present||Native||ISSG, 2008; EPPO, 2014||No distribution information with this record|
|Taiwan||Present||Native||Not invasive||FOT, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|Canada||Present||Introduced||Barkworth et al., 2003; EPPO, 2014||No further distribution information|
|-California||Localised||Introduced||Invasive||Calflora, 2008; EPPO, 2014||El dorado, Riverside and San Mateo counties|
|-Colorado||Localised||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In two counties|
|-Connecticut||Localised||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In three counties|
|-Delaware||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In one county|
|-District of Columbia||Present||EPPO, 2014|
|-Florida||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In one county|
|-Georgia||Localised||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In five counties|
|-Illinois||Localised||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In six counties. Was in Cass co. by 1959|
|-Kentucky||Localised||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In 13 counties|
|-Louisiana||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In five counties|
|-Maryland||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In one county|
|-Massachusetts||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In one county|
|-Missouri||Localised||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In five counties|
|-New Jersey||Localised||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In 11 counties|
|-New Mexico||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Barkworth et al., 2003|
|-New York||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In two counties|
|-North Carolina||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In 32 counties|
|-Ohio||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In four counties|
|-Pennsylvania||Localised||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In 14 counties|
|-Rhode Island||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In one county|
|-South Carolina||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||in five counties|
|-Tennessee||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Invasive||EPPO, 2014||In Servier County|
|-Virginia||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In 34 counties|
|-West Virginia||Localised||Introduced||Invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2008; EPPO, 2014||In 10 counties|
Central America and Caribbean
|Puerto Rico||Present||Introduced||Tropicos, 2008|
|Argentina||Present||Introduced||Tropicos, 2008||Buenos Aries in 2003|
|Brazil||Present||Introduced||Filgueiras, 2003||No further distribution information|
|Chile||Present||Introduced||Tropicos, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|Czech Republic||Present||EPPO, 2014|
|Denmark||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Not invasive||NOBANIS, 2008|
|France||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Not invasive||GBIF, 2008; EPPO, 2014||W. of Paris|
|Russian Federation||Present||EPPO, 2014|
|-Russian Far East||Present, few occurrences||Native||Not invasive||GBIF, 2008; EPPO, 2014||Primorye, Maritime Province|
|Sweden||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Not invasive||GBIF, 2008||Skane Province|
|UK||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Not invasive||GBIF, 2008; EPPO, 2014||Near Camberly, Surrey|
|-New South Wales||Localised||Introduced||Not invasive||GBIF, 2008; EPPO, 2014||Blue Mountains. West of Sydney. Collected from 1931 at Mt. Wilson|
|-Western Australia||Localised||Introduced||Not invasive||GBIF, 2008||Collected in 1985 at Bedfordale|
|New Zealand||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||GBIF, 2008; EPPO, 2014|
|Vanuatu||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||GBIF, 2008||Present by 1928|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
Meyer (2003) reported that Hitchcock in 1917 noted that M. sinensis was sometimes found as a garden escape in USA. By 1950 there was a report that the species was showing “a tendency to spread by seed” (Chase, 1950).Specimens were collected in USA from the early 1900s in Washington D.C., 1941 in Virginia, the 1950s in Colorado and Maryland and early 1960s in Missouri and N. Carolina (GBIF, 2008).
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|New South Wales||Japan||1890s||Yes||No||GBIF (2008)||In Sysney Botanic Garden in 1899|
|USA||Japan||1890s||Ornamental purposes (pathway cause)||Yes||No||Beal (1896)||Little documentation|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
As a popular ornamental species M. sinensis has become widely available through the horticultural trade since being introduced to cultivation during the late 1800s. In a suitable habitat and climate it can be spread accidentally beyond gardens as rhizomes discarded in garden waste or contaminated soil. Pieces of rhizome 4 cm long can be used to propagate the species (Nielsen, 1987) and smaller fragments may well give rise to feral stands. However, Meyer (2003) reports that groups of M. sinensis plants grown together may set significant amounts of seed that is wind dispersed and considers this to be the primary method of spread of the species in the USA. While there is some confusion over the extent to which different cultivars produce seed (Morisawa, 1999), observations of a number planted in Ireland in 1996 suggest that viable seed production is common (Scally et al., 2001).
Despite its spread out of cultivation, M. sinensis is only listed by Connecticut as a noxious weed, in the category 'potentially invasive, not banned'. Elsewhere state and area invasive species councils list the species at levels ranging from 'of concern' in Maryland, on a 'watch list' in Ohio to 'occasionally invasive' in Virginia and 'severe threat' in Kentucky. It is not listed under the New South Wales Noxious Weed Act although further spread is of concern to conservation organizations in the Blue Mountains (Harley, 2007). Although M. sinensis is not a declared species, the state Department of Primary Industries has prepared a control calendar for it (NSW-DPI, 2008).
HabitatTop of page
The species will grow on a variety of sites but prefers moist, well-drained soil to reach its maximum growth potential (Morisawa, 1999; Meyer, 2003; SE-EPPC, 2008). It is intolerant of shade although it will persist in sparsely forested areas and small openings. In many natural areas, this grass is prevalent on abandoned home sites where it was used as an ornamental. It has been documented invading light textured soils that are low in nutrients such as roadsides, along railways, power-lines, shores of reservoirs, and in forests and old fields following fires. The plant is extremely flammable and upon catching fire, burning fragments cause difficulty in fire control. The species tolerates cold climates, with winter cold as low as -26°C, and in the USA will survive as far south as the Florida panhandle but does not grow so well in such humid climates (Morisawa, 1999).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Principal habitat||Productive/non-natural|
|Disturbed areas||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-natural||Riverbanks||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
M. sinensis is a diploid species (2n = 2x = 38) (Jorgensen and Muhs, 2001). Current interest in the breeding for biomass production within the genus has led to a number of studies of genetic variation. These have shown a high level of variation at the molecular level within M. sinensis (Hodkinson et al., 2002).
The species propagates by both rhizomes and seed. Large build-up of seeds in seed banks can also lead to further establishment of M. sinensis (Meyer, 2003). Although Hayashi and Numata (1971) found that about half of the seeds produced in one year were still viable the following summer they concluded that the Miscanthus community was more dependent on vegetative rather than seed regeneration. While Meyer and Tchida (1999) found viable seed set by many ornamental cultivars of M. sinensis, most variegated forms set less than 18% viable seed.
A high level of self-incompatibility has been reported from Russia and Japan (Hirayoshi et al., 1955; Nechiporenko et al., 1997). Matumura and Yukimura (1975) found no dormancy in M. sinensis and a wide variation in seed set over several years.
Physiology and Phenology
M. sinensis can withstand harsh winters (Meyer, 2003). In the warmer climate of New South Wales seeds germinate in late winter to early spring (August to October) and established plants flower in summer (December to February) and shed seed in autumn (February to June) (NSW-DPI, 2008).
Once established, M. sinensis can tolerate a variety of poor conditions, including soils of various pH, compacted soils, nutrient poor soils, heat, and drought (ISSG, 2008). The plant doesn't survive in soil with a high salt content (Gilman, 1999).It is however tolerant of heavy metals (Hsu and Chou, 1992) and aluminium in the soil (Ezaki et al., 2008).
ClimateTop of page
|Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year||Tolerated||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year|
|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)|
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||12||18|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||22||32|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||-2||12|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Mean annual rainfall||1003||2093||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page Summer
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Special soil tolerances
Natural enemiesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
There are few reports on natural enemies of M. sinensis in the literature. Indeed most information sources about growing the species as an ornamental emphasize that it remains relatively free of pests and diseases.
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)
The species has been introduced to many temperate areas of the world as a garden ornamental (e.g. Meyer, 2003). A diversity of cultivars is readily available from the nursery trade.
Pathway CausesTop of page
|Disturbance||Along road verges in USA||Yes||Meyer, 2003|
|Escape from confinement or garden escape||Various States in USA; NSW Australia||Yes||Harley, 2007; Meyer, 2003|
|Garden waste disposal||Various States in USA; NSW Australia||Yes||Harley, 2007|
|Internet sales||Species available via nurseries in North America and Australia||Yes|
|Nursery trade||Species available via nurseries in North America and Australia||Yes|
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
While Morita (1997) lists the species as an arable weed in Japan it is not generally known as a weed of crops but as a species invading disturbed sites. No reports have therefore been made of its economic impact.
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact on Habitats
M. sinensis is a high biomass producer and as such can increase the risk of fire in areas that it has invaded. In Japan semi-natural grasslands dominated by the species are maintained by regular burning and where this practice ceases it tends to decline to be replaced by other species (Kamada, 1994). There do not appear to have been any specific studies of the impact of M. sinensis on invaded habitats. In the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia the species creates dense thickets and forms extensive infestations that prevent the growth and germination of other plants. It rapidly colonises disturbed or open areas, and can invade large areas of bushland after fire, outcompeting all native species (Harley, 2007).
Impact on Biodiversity
The literature does not report on impacts of M. sinensis on biodiversity, although there is concern for areas invaded in USA and New South Wales, Australia. There does not appear to have been any specific research on this topic.
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
Social ImpactTop of page
M. sinensis is one of a number of invasive species of concern in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia (Harley, 2007) This is an area of considerable importance to the tourist industry in New South Wales but as yet there are no reports of loss of amenity or adverse impact on the landscape value of the area.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad 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)
- Long lived
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Reproduces asexually
- Has high genetic variability
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Modification of fire regime
- Modification of hydrology
- Modification of successional patterns
- Monoculture formation
- Reduced amenity values
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Causes allergic responses
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Competition - shading
- Competition - smothering
- Rapid growth
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Difficult to identify/detect in the field
Uses ListTop of page
- Miscellaneous fuels
Human food and beverage
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
In the USA both Miscanthus sinensis and M. sacchariflorus are considered to be weedy, invading natural vegetation or disturbed areas (Meyer, 2003). The latter is said to have more aggressive rhizomes, no awns on the spikelets, and the hairs surrounding the spikelet are twice as long as the spikelet - in M. sinensis they are equal in length to the spikelet. M. sacchariflorus always has green foliage while that of M. sinensis can be of many colours and variegated patterns. M. sacchariflorus is reported to be invasive in Mid-Western USA, for example, in Iowa and Minnesota (Meyer, 2003).
Andropogon gerardii (big blue stem) could also be confused with M. sinensis in North America due its large size. One distinguishing feature is that big blue stem has a three-pronged flower spike that resembles a turkey’s foot. Sugarcane plumegrass (Saccharumgiganteum) resembles M. sinensis due to its large plume and arching leaves. Plume grass can be differentiated by its longer flower stalks (up to 4 m) and shorter leaves (to 50 cm).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Preventing further introductions of M. sinensis beyond gardens and parks is being increasingly emphasized. It is suggested that the species is not planted in gardens in New South Wales (Harley, 2007) and a number of nurseries in North America and horticultural industry information includes a 'health warning' to avoid planting adjacent to sensitive natural landscapes. There is increasing interest in educating horticulture industry professionals about invasive plants and in a survey of attitudes in Minnesota, Peters et al. (2006) found that only 38% of Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association members thought that M. sinensis could be invasive.
A number of US state invasive plant committees list the species as a potential problem but it has only been given noxious weed status in Connecticut, although sales are still allowed.
Individual self-seeded plants can be removed by hand digging of the entire root system where these are found in nearby gardens to ornamental plantings. Removal before flowering or at least removal of flowers before seed fall is practical on a small scale. However, physical removal is likely to leave rhizome fragments in the soil, particularly if discing, cultivating or other mechanized methods are used (Morisawa, 1999). Areas treated in this way will need to be monitored and follow up treatments applied the following year.
Burning is a traditional method for maintaining M. sinensis grassland and in the USA Meyer (2003) warns that burning, especially in late autumn or winter, will increase plant vigour, growth and seed set. Burning should only be used in conjunction with a follow-up herbicide application. In Australia it is recommended to bag seed heads of naturalized stands prior to seed set (NSW-DPI, 2008) although this would not be practical on a large scale.
Despite concerns about the invasive potential of M. sinensis there are no regulations in place to control movement or sale.
Meyer (2003) recommends the application of glyphosate in mid-spring to early summer to re-growth of plants that had been cut back or burnt in late winter to early spring. In situations where it is not practical to remove the previous season growth it is better to allow more foliage to develop and spray in summer. Treated stands should be monitored and any re-growth sprayed in the autumn or the following spring. Applications of glyphosate are also recommended in New South Wales (NSW-DPI, 2008).
Control by utilization
Although the productivity of M. sinensis can be reduced by defoliation the species can withstand grazing and cutting. Both are used for livestock production in Japan where M. sinensis grassland tolerated being cut up to five times in 5 months (Hayashi, 1994). However, utilization will prevent seed production. Control can be achieved if the plants are mown or grazed close to the ground (Nogami et al., 1993). Repeated mowing during the growing season is an effective method of control (Meyer, 2003).
ReferencesTop of page
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
Ezaki B, Nagao E, Yamamoto Y, Nakashima S, Enomoto T, 2008. Wild plants, Andropogon virginicus L. and Miscanthus sinensis Anders, are tolerant to multiple stresses including aluminum, heavy metals and oxidative stresses. Plant Cell Reports, 27(5):951-961. http://www.springerlink.com/content/y5867881127pq27p/?p=cb9787de9159456ca14a618c4366748a&pi=15
Hayashi I, Numata M, 1971. Viable buried-seed populations in the Miscanthus and Zoysia type grasslands in Japan- Ecological studies on the buried-seed population in the soil as related to plant succession, VI. Japanese Journal of Ecology, 20:243-252.
Meyer M, 2003. Fact sheet and Management of Miscanthus sinensis. Fact sheet of the Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota. http://www.horticulture.umn.edu/miscanthus/identification.html
Morisawa T, 1999. Weed notes: Miscanthus sinensis. Fact sheet of The Nature Conservancy, Wildland Weeds Management and Reserch, University of California, Davis. http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/moredocs/missin01.pdf
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16/07/08 Original text by:
Charlie Riches, Consultant, UK
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