Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Paspalum dilatatum



Paspalum dilatatum (dallisgrass)


  • Last modified
  • 25 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Paspalum dilatatum
  • Preferred Common Name
  • dallisgrass
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Paspalum dilatatum is a perennial grass native to South America that has been introduced into tropical and subtropical areas as a forage species/fodder. It is reported as invasive in Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vi...

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Paspalum dilatatum Poir.

Preferred Common Name

  • dallisgrass

Other Scientific Names

  • Digitaria dilatata (Poir.) Coste
  • Panicum platense (Spreng.) Kuntze
  • Paspalum eriophorum Schult. & Schult.f
  • Paspalum lanatum Spreng.
  • Paspalum moluccanum Huber
  • Paspalum ovatum Ness ex Trin.
  • Paspalum pedunculare J.Presl
  • Paspalum platense Spreng.
  • Paspalum selloi Spreng. ex Ness

International Common Names

  • English: caterpillar grass; dallis grass; golden crown grass; Leichhardt grass; paspalum; sticky heads; water grass; water paspalum
  • Spanish: grama de agua; gramilla; pasto chato; pasto dallis; pasto miel; zacate dilación
  • French: herbe de dallis; herbe de miel; herbe sirop; millet bâtard; paspalum dilate
  • Portuguese: capim-comprido; grama-comprida
  • German: Brasilianische futterhirse; Brasilianische hirse; dallisgras

Local Common Names

  • Australia: bastard millet grass; hairy flowered paspalum; large watergrass; large waterseed paspalum; paspalum grass; watergrass
  • Brazil: capim melador; capim mimosa; capim-dallis; capim-melado; capim-papua; grama-das-rocas; gramão; grama-samandura; sanduva
  • Chile: camalote; chepica gigante
  • China: mao hua que bai
  • Cuba: grama
  • Denmark: hirse
  • Dominican Republic: yerba de Australia
  • France: panic du Brésil; paspale dilate
  • Hungary: széles csomósmuhar
  • Indonesia: rumput australi
  • Israel: paspalum merhav
  • Italy: panico brasiliano; panico brasilinao; paspalo dilatato
  • Japan: shima-suzume-no-hie
  • Mauritius: herbe codaya
  • Mexico: zacate dallis
  • Niue: hiku nua
  • Philippines: halanaw; lawa-lawa; sakata
  • Portugal: grama-de-água; milha-graminheira
  • Puerto Rico: dalis; yerba dalis
  • Spain: gramón; mijera
  • Thailand: ya-daenlit
  • Vietnam: co'san dep

EPPO code

  • PASDI (Paspalum dilatatum)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Paspalum dilatatum is a perennial grass native to South America that has been introduced into tropical and subtropical areas as a forage species/fodder. It is reported as invasive in Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Hawaii, American Samoa, Australia, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Solomon Islands and the Minor Outlying Islands. In Hawaii and New Zealand, it forms dense stands that smother and prevent recruitment of native species.

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Paspalum is a genus in the Poaceae family with about 330 species, mainly from tropical to warm-temperate regions of the American continent (PROTA, 2017). The genus includes important forage grasses and widespread weeds. Paspalum comes from the Greek word for millet, Paspalos (Quattrocchi, 1999). The common name of dallisgrass for P. dilatatum is in honour of AT Dallis, who grew it extensively at La Grange, Georgia, USA (Hitchcock and Chase, 1951). From the synonyms applied to the species, P. lanatum, P. moluccanum and P. ovatum are illegitimate names and P. selloi is an invalid name (The Plant List, 2013).


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The following description is from Flora of China Editorial Committee (2017):

Perennial from a short rhizome. Culms forming a coarse, spreading tuft, 50-150 cm tall, c. 5 mm in diameter, glabrous. Leaf sheaths glabrous or pilose in the lower part; leaf blades linear, 10-45 x 0.3-1.2 cm, glabrous, apex attenuate; ligule 2-4 mm. Inflorescence axis 2-20 cm; racemes 2-10, 5-12 cm, spaced, diverging, axils pilose; spikelets paired; rachis 1-1.5 mm wide, glabrous. Spikelets green or purplish, broadly ovate, 3-4 mm, sharply acute; upper glume membranous, 5-9-veined, sparsely pubescent to almost glabrous on back, margins fringed with long white hairs; lower lemma similar but not hairy; upper lemma pallid at maturity, orbicular, c. 2 mm, clearly shorter than spikelet, papillose-striate, apex rounded.

Plant Type

Top of page Grass / sedge
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated


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P. dilatatum is native to Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Guyana, Paraguay and Uruguay (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017; PIER, 2017; PROTA, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017), and Hanelt (2017) extends its reported native distribution to Central America. The species has been introduced worldwide, being present in Asia, Africa, North America, Central America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe and Oceania and invasive in many of the introduced countries (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; DAISIE, 2017Encyclopedia of Life, 2017; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017; PIER, 2017; PROTA, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017).

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


ArmeniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
AzerbaijanPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
BhutanPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017
ChinaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2017Also as cultivated
-FujianPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017
-GuangxiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017
-GuizhouPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017
-Hong KongPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017
-HubeiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017
-ShanghaiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017
-YunnanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017
-ZhejiangPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017
Georgia (Republic of)PresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
IndiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
-Himachal PradeshPresentIntroducedIndia Biodiversity Portal, 2017
-Indian PunjabPresentIntroducedIndia Biodiversity Portal, 2017
-KeralaPresentIntroducedIndia Biodiversity Portal, 2017
-MaharashtraPresentIntroducedIndia Biodiversity Portal, 2017
-MeghalayaPresentIntroducedIndia Biodiversity Portal, 2017
-RajasthanPresentIntroducedIndia Biodiversity Portal, 2017
-SikkimPresentIntroducedIndia Biodiversity Portal, 2017
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
IndonesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017
-JavaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017
-Nusa TenggaraPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017
IraqPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
IsraelPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
JapanPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017
-Bonin IslandPresentIntroducedPIER, 2017
JordanPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
MalaysiaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017
-SabahPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017
PakistanPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
PhilippinesPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017
Saudi ArabiaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
TaiwanPresentIntroduced Invasive Encyclopedia of Life, 2017; PIER, 2017
TurkeyPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2017
VietnamPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017


AlgeriaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
AngolaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
CameroonPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017
EgyptPresentIntroducedEncyclopedia of Life, 2017Nile region and Sinai
GhanaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
KenyaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
LesothoPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
MadagascarPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017Antananarivo
MauritaniaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017
MauritiusPresentIntroducedPIER, 2017Mauritius and Mascarene islands
MoroccoPresentIntroducedMazih, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2017
South AfricaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2017
SwazilandPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
UgandaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017
ZambiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017

North America

BermudaPresentIntroduced1913Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017; New York Botanical Garden, 2017
MexicoPresentIntroducedEncyclopedia of Life, 2017; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017Chiapas, Chihuahua, Jalisco, Nuevo León, Veracruz
USAPresentIntroduced1875Heuzé et al., 2015
-AlabamaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-ArizonaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-ArkansasPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-ColoradoPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-FloridaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017Invasive at Big Island, Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’i and O’ahu islands
-IllinoisPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-MarylandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-MississippiPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-MissouriPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-New JerseyPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-New MexicoPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-North CarolinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-OklahomaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-OregonPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-South DakotaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-TennesseePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-VirginiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017
-West VirginiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2017

Central America and Caribbean

BahamasPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Costa RicaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017Alajuela, San José
CubaPresentIntroduced1921Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; New York Botanical Garden, 2017
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
HaitiPresentIntroduced1909Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; New York Botanical Garden, 2017
JamaicaPresentIntroduced1917Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; New York Botanical Garden, 2017
PanamaPresentIntroducedEncyclopedia of Life, 2017Chiriquí
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced1924Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; UPRRP, 2017

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Corrientes, Distrito Federal, Entre Ríos, Jujuy, Misiones, Salta, San Juan, Santa Fe
BoliviaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017Tarija
BrazilPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2017
-ParaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017
-ParanaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2017
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2017
-Santa CatarinaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2017
-Sao PauloPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2017
ChilePresentNativePIER, 2017
ColombiaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2017
French GuianaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017
GuyanaPresentNativePROTA, 2017
ParaguayPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
UruguayPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017Canelones, Colonia, Florida, Montevideo
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2017Barinas, Mérida


AustriaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
BelgiumPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive DAISIE, 2017
CroatiaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2017
CyprusPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
FrancePresentIntroduced1878DAISIE, 2017; Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 2017
-CorsicaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2017
GermanyPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
GreecePresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2017
HungaryPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedDAISIE, 2017
ItalyPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2017
PortugalPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2017
-AzoresPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2017
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2017
Russian FederationPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
SpainPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2017
-Balearic IslandsPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2017
SwitzerlandPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedDAISIE, 2017
UKPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017


American SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017Tutuila Island
AustraliaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
-Lord Howe Is.PresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017Also cultivated
-New South WalesPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
-QueenslandPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017
-South AustraliaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
-TasmaniaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
-VictoriaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2017
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2017Mangaia, Ma’uke, Miti’aro and Rarotonga Islands
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017Kandavu, Rambi, Taveuni, Vanua Levu and Viti Levu islands
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017Aboriginal introduction and invasive in Nuku Hiva Island. Present in Raiatea and Tupai islands. Introduced and cultivated in Tahiti Island
GuamPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2017Also cultivated
Johnston IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017Invasive and cultivated in Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia Islands, Ile Grande Terre, Isle of Pines
New ZealandPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017
NiuePresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017Kermadee Islands
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017Also cultivated
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2017
SamoaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2017Upolu Island
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017
TongaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2017Tongatapu Island
US Minor Outlying IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2017
VanuatuPresentIntroducedPIER, 2017

History of Introduction and Spread

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P. dilatatum was introduced to southern USA from Uruguay or Argentina in 1875 (Heuzé et al., 2015). In 1878, it was introduced from Uruguay into France (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 2017). The species was introduced to Japan in the early 1900s and is now naturalized in central-southern Japan (Sugiura and Yamazaki, 2007). There are collections reported from Haiti in 1909, Bermuda in 1913, Jamaica in 1917 (introduced as forage grass) and Cuba in 1921 (New York Botanical Garden, 2017). P. dilatatum was reported in Puerto Rico in 1924 (UPRRP, 2017).


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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
USA 1875 Forage (pathway cause) Yes No Heuzé et al. (2015)
Cuba 1921 Forage (pathway cause) Yes No New York Botanical Garden (2017)
Jamaica 1917 Forage (pathway cause) Yes No New York Botanical Garden (2017)
Haiti 1909 Forage (pathway cause) Yes No New York Botanical Garden (2017)
Bermuda 1913 Forage (pathway cause) Yes No New York Botanical Garden (2017)
Puerto Rico 1924 Forage (pathway cause) Yes No UPRRP (2017)
France Uruguay 1878 Forage (pathway cause) Yes No Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (2017)

Risk of Introduction

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P. dilatatum has a medium to high risk of introduction into tropical, subtropical and temperate zones, usually to be used as forage/fodder. However, its low sexual reproduction, low germination and slow establishment, together with its susceptibility of being infected by ergot (Claviceps paspali), are a deterrent to its spread. Nevertheless, the use of this species is favoured due to the high productivity of livestock that feeds on it (Miz and Souza-Chies, 2006). As research to identify genotypes that improve its use as a crop is underway, its distribution is likely to increase in the future (Glison et al., 2015).


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P. dilatatum is present in disturbed sites, savannas, moist grasslands, forests, wetlands, riparian habitats, roadsides and agricultural land (Flora do Brasil, 2017; PIER, 2017). It grows from 5 to 2200 m of elevation (PROTA, 2017).

Hosts/Species Affected

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P. dilatatum is reported as a weed of cultivation and is sometimes present in rice fields (Heuzé et al., 2015; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2017). When the species is infected by the ergot fungus, Claviceps paspali, it becomes toxic to animals that feed on it (FAO, 2017; PROTA, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Oryza sativa (rice)Poaceae

Biology and Ecology

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The chromosome numbers reported for P. dilatatum are 2n = 40, 50, 60 (PROTA, 2017). Germplasm collections are stored at various institutions, with the oldest collection in storage being around 21 years old (Glison et al., 2015; Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, 2017; PROTA, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017). DNA barcode information for the species is available at the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD, 2017). Seeds are produced in Australia, USA and Uruguay, and breeding work is being undertaken to increase species resistance to ergot and anthracnose, and to improve species management (Glison et al., 2015; PROTA, 2017).

The species is mainly apomictic by apospory and pseudogamy, with the sexual type being less common. Crossing apomict and sexual plants produces an interspecific hybrid with 2n = 50 (PROTA, 2017). There are reports of hybrids between P. dilatatum and P. urvellei (Miz and Souza-Chies, 2006). Important cultivars developed for P. dilatatum are ‘raki’ from New Zealand, ‘charu’ from Uruguay and ‘natsugumo’ from Japan (PROTA, 2017).

Reproductive Biology

Reproduction of P. dilatatum is by seed (PROTA, 2017). Most seeds are produced by apomixis, although wind pollination and pollination by solitary bees have been reported for the species (Adams et al., 1981). Pollen viability is low (Miz and Souza-Chies, 2006). Seed production is 570-750 seeds/g and is inhibited below 13°C (FAO, 2017; PROTA, 2017). Seeds have some post-harvesting dormancy, which is broken by removal of the glumes (FAO, 2017; PROSEA, 2017). It is considered a slow starter species, with slow germination and establishment rates (Miz and Souza-Chies, 2006; PROTA, 2017).  

Physiology and Phenology

P. dilatatum flowering and fruiting occurs from spring to summer, after which flowering declines (FAO, 2017; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2017). Early growth is slow but, once established, it grows vigorously. The fastest growth occurs during the reproductive season and slows down during mid-summer and autumn. In subtropical regions and at higher altitudes, the species becomes dormant during cool periods (PROTA, 2017).


P. dilatatum is usually grown with other fast growing plants in order to improve pastures (Heuzé et al., 2015). Species that are grown in association with P. dilatatum are Trifolium repens, T. semipilosum, T. subterraneum, Vigna parkeri, Cynodon dactylon and Lolium rigidum (Heuzé et al., 2015; PROTA, 2017).

Environmental Requirements

P. dilatatum can grow in areas with annual rainfall from 750 to 1650 mm, but is better adapted to permanently humid subtropical conditions of 10 to 12 humid months, with over 1000 mm annual rainfall (FAO, 2017; PROTA, 2017). It prefers moist fertile soils of fine and medium texture, with a pH of 4.9 to 7.5, although it can grow on heavy clay soils (Encyclopedia of Life, 2017; FAO, 2017). The species tolerates flooding, but will also grow in dry areas, being drought tolerant (Heuzé et al., 2015; PROTA, 2017). It is not common in areas exposed to fires, although it recovers well from them (FAO, 2017). Optimum growing temperature is 22 to 30°C, but it can grow in temperatures as low as -3°C, as its deep roots allow it to regrow after frost (Heuzé et al., 2015). It requires full sun and has an optimal day-length response of 14-16 hours (PROTA, 2017).


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Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
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])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
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)
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
50 45 5 2200

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -3
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 10 30


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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall750 mm1650 mmmm; lower/upper limits

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Barley yellow dwarf viruses Pathogen Other/All Stages not specific
Bipolaris micropus Pathogen Other/All Stages not specific
Claviceps paspali Pathogen Other/All Stages to species
Colletotrichum graminicola Pathogen Other/All Stages not specific
Diatraea saccharalis Herbivore Other/All Stages not specific
Lepidiota caudata Herbivore Other/All Stages not specific
Mocis latipes
Paspalum striate mosaic virus Pathogen Other/All Stages to genus
Rhopaea Herbivore Other/All Stages not specific
Spodoptera frugiperda

Notes on Natural Enemies

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P. dilatatum is affected by the following pests: Claviceps paspali, Glomerella graminicola [Colletotrichum graminicola] and Helminthosporium micropus [Bipolaris micropus]; the insects Lepidiota caudata, Rhopaea spp. and Diatraea saccharalis; and the barley and cereal yellow dwarf viruses (B/CYDV) and the Paspalum striate mosaic virus (PSMV) (Geering et al., 2012; Rúa et al., 2014; FAO, 2017; PROTA, 2017).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

P. dilatatum can be dispersed by water (PIER, 2017).


Vector Transmission (Biotic)

P. dilatatum can be dispersed by animals (Eurobodalla Shire Council, 2017; PIER, 2017; PROTA, 2017).


Accidental Introduction

P. dilatatum has been accidentally dispersed by soil, clothing, machinery and vehicles (Eurobodalla Shire Council, 2017).


Intentional Introduction

P. dilatatum has been introduced in tropical, subtropical and temperate regions as a forage species (PROTA, 2017).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Disturbance Yes PIER, 2017
Foragewidely introduced as forage for livestock Yes Yes PIER, 2017
Habitat restoration and improvementrecommended for erosion control Yes Yes Tropical Forages, 2017
Hitchhikerunintentionally dispersed by animals and humans Yes Yes Eurobodalla Shire Council, 2017; PIER, 2017
Intentional releasewidely introduced as forage/fodder for livestock Yes Yes PROTA, 2017; Tropical Forages, 2017
Internet salesplants and seeds available for sale locally and internationally Yes Yes
Off-site preservation germplasm collections at various institutions Yes Yes Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, 2017; PROTA, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017
Researchbreeding work carried out to increase resistance to ergot and anthracnose, and to improve management of the species Yes Yes Glison et al., 2015; PROTA, 2017

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Germplasmgermplasm collections at various institutions Yes Yes Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, 2017; PROTA, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017
Machinery and equipment Yes Eurobodalla Shire Council, 2017
Soil, sand and gravelseeds possibly dispersed in soil debris from cultivation Yes
Land vehicles Yes Eurobodalla Shire Council, 2017
Water Yes PIER, 2017

Economic Impact

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P. dilatatum is reported to be a potential seed contaminant (USDA-ARS, 2017) and to cause problems in irrigation channels (Nasseri, 2016).

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Biodiversity

P. dilatatum forms dense stands that smother and prevent recruitment of native species (PIER, 2017). The species by itself is not toxic, but can be infected by the ergot fungus Claviceps paspali, which is toxic to animals (FAO, 2017; PROTA, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017).

Social Impact

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P. dilatatum is a pest of lawns and turf grass (PROTA, 2017). It tolerates close mowing, traffic and high soil moisture, which contributes to its persistence in lawns (Elmore et al., 2013).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad 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
  • Long lived
  • Gregarious
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Pest and disease transmission
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately


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Economic Value
P. dilatatum is one of the earliest grasses used for sown pastures (Tropical Forages, 2017). Its use is favoured due to its palatability, productivity and ability to withstand heavy grazing. High production and milk yields are obtained from animals feeding on P. dilatatum (PROTA, 2017). It is one of the grasses recommended for broadening and stabilisation of the forage production calendar in Mediterranean-type environments (Gherbin et al., 2007). 
Social Benefit 
P. dilatatum is used as fodder/forage, for hay and silage (USDA-ARS, 2017). It is also used as a source of vitamins and minerals (PROTA, 2017).
Environmental Services
P. dilatatum is used for erosion control and for mine habitat restoration (USDA-ARS, 2017). In Australia, it is foraged by the eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) and the common wombat (Vombatus ursinus) (Jarman and Evans, 2010).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage


  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Soil conservation

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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P. dilatatum is similar to P. mandiocanum, P. notatum, P. urvillei, P. scrobiculatum and P. quadrifarium (University of Queensland, 2017). These species can be differentiated by the following: P. dilatatum is a moderately-sized grass with narrow leaves, large flower spikelets (3-4 mm long), long silky hairs on the leaf margins and seed-heads usually with 3-7 branches. P. mandiocanum is a low-growing grass with broad leaves, small flower spikelets (2-2.5 mm long), without long silky hairs on the leaf margins and seed-heads usually with 3-10 branches. P. notatum is a low-growing grass with relatively narrow leaves, relatively large flower spikelets (2.75-4 mm long), without silky hairs on the leaf margins and seed-heads usually with only two branches. P. urvillei is a tall grass with narrow leaves, small flower spikelets with long silky hairs on the leaf margins and seed-heads usually with 10-20 branches. P. scrobiculatum is a moderate-sized grass with narrow leaves, small flower spikelets (2-2.5 mm long), without long silky hairs on the leaf margins and seed-heads usually with only 2-7 branches (i.e. racemes). P. quadrifarium is a tall grass (1-2 m tall) with narrow leaves, relatively small flower spikelets (2-3 mm long), without long silky hairs on the leaf margins and seed-heads usually with 15-25 branches.

Prevention and Control

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In Canada, although the species is not present, it is listed as a prohibited noxious weed under the Seeds Act (Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2017).



Physical/mechanical control

Small plants of P. dilatatum can be dug out, removing all rhizomes. Plants that are cut or mowed regenerate fast, so mowing should be combined with chemical control (Henry et al., 2007a; PIER, 2017).


Chemical control

Herbicides recommended for the control of P. dilatatum are: paraquat, glyphosate, thiencarbazone-methyl, foramsulfuron, halosulfuron-methyl, fluazifop and monosodium methanearsonate (MSMA) combined with foramsulfuron (Henry et al., 2007b; Elmore et al., 2013; Johnston and Henry, 2016; PIER, 2017).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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More detailed information about the species impacts on habitats and other species is needed.


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Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the seed plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1-1192. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution.

Adams, D. E., Perkins, W. E., Estes, J. R., 1981. Pollination systems in Paspalum dilatatum (Poaceae): an example of insect pollination in a temperate grass. American Journal of Botany, 68(3), 389-394. doi: 10.2307/2442775

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Elmore, M. T., Brosnan, J. T., Mueller, T. C., Horvath, B. J., Kopsell, D. A., Breeden, G. K., 2013. Seasonal application timings affect dallisgrass (Paspalum dilatatum) control in tall fescue. Weed Technology, 27(3), 557-564. doi: 10.1614/WT-D-13-00007.1

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Eurobodalla Shire Council, 2017. Paspalum (Paspalum dilatatum). Moruya, New South Wales, Australia: Eurobodalla Shire Council.

FAO, 2017. Plant Production and Protection Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Flora do Brasil, 2017. Brazilian Flora 2020 under construction. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden.

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2017. Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria.

Geering, A. D. W., Thomas, J. E., Holton, T., Hadfield, J., Varsani, A., 2012. Paspalum striate mosaic virus: an Australian mastrevirus from Paspalum dilatatum. Archives of Virology, 157(1), 193-197. doi: 10.1007/s00705-011-1129-2

Gherbin, P., Franchi, A. S. de, Monteleone, M., Rivelli, A. R., 2007. Adaptability and productivity of some warm-season pasture species in a Mediterranean environment. Grass and Forage Science, 62(1), 78-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2494.2007.00566.x

Glison, N., Viega, L., Cornaglia, P., Gutiérrez, L., Speranza, P., 2015. Variability in germination behaviour of Paspalum dilatatum Poir. seeds is genotype dependent. Grass and Forage Science, 70(1), 144-153. doi: 10.1111/gfs.12119

Hanelt P, 2017. Mansfeld’s World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops. Gatersleben, Germany: Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK).

Henry, G. M., Burton, M. G., Yelverton, F. H., 2007a. Effect of mowing on lateral spread and rhizome growth of troublesome Paspalum species. Weed Science, 55(5), 486-490. doi: 10.1614/WS-07-030.1

Henry, G. M., Yelverton, F. H., Burton, M. G., 2007b. Dallisgrass (Paspalum dilatatum) control with foramsulfuron in bermudagrass turf. Weed Technology, 21(3), 759-762. doi: 10.1614/WT-06-163.1

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India Biodiversity Portal, 2017. Online Portal of India Biodiversity.

Jarman, P. J., Evans, M. C., 2010. Circadian variation in resource quality: leaf water content and its relevance to eastern grey kangaroo Macropus giganteus and common wombat Vombatus ursinus. Austral Ecology, 35(2), 176-188. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2009.02023.x

Johnston, C. R., Henry, G. M., 2016. Dallisgrass (Paspalum dilatatum) control with thiencarbazone-methyl, foramsulfuron, and halosulfuron-methyl in bermudagrass turf. HortScience, 51(6), 754-756.

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, 2017. Millennium Seed Bank - Seed List. Richmond, UK: Kew Royal Botanic Gardens.

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Miz, R. B., Souza-Chies, T. T. de, 2006. Genetic relationships and variation among biotypes of dallisgrass (Paspalum dilatatum Poir.) and related species using random amplified polymorphic DNA markers. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 53(3), 541-552. doi: 10.1007/s10722-005-1290-0

Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 2017. Collection: vascular plants (P).

Nasseri, A., 2016. Canal geometry, flow velocity, dallisgrass (Paspalum dilatatum Poir.) density and soil phosphorous effects on hydraulic resistance of vegetated canals. Tarim Bilimleri Dergisi, 22(2), 187-195.

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Sugiura, S., Yamazaki, K., 2007. Migratory moths as dispersal vectors of an introduced plant-pathogenic fungus in Japan. Biological Invasions, 9(2), 101-106. doi: 10.1007/s10530-006-9006-8

The Plant List, 2017. The Plant List: a working list of all plant species. Version 1.1. London, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Tropical Forages, 2017. Tropical Forages: an interactive selection tool. Brisbane, Australia: CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries Queensland, Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical and International Livestock Research Institute.

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UPRRP, 2017. UPRRP Herbarium. San Juan, Puerto Rico: University of Puerto Rico.

USDA-ARS, 2017. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory.

USDA-NRCS, 2017. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center.

Links to Websites

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Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Eurobodalla Shire Council
Flora do Brasil
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
India Biodiversity Portal
Millennium Seed Bank
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle database
New York Botanical Garden database
The Barcode of Life Data Systems
Tropical Forages
UPRRP Herbarium database


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07/02/17 Original text by:

Jeanine Vélez-Gavilán, Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, USA

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