Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Paspalum scrobiculatum
(ricegrass paspalum)



Paspalum scrobiculatum (ricegrass paspalum)


  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2021
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Paspalum scrobiculatum
  • Preferred Common Name
  • ricegrass paspalum
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • P. scrobiculata is a common weed in the tropics. It is listed as a noxious weed by USDA-APHIS (USDA-ARS, 2003) but is not widely considered to be highly i...

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P. scrobiculatum showing leaves and panicle, Rokupr Upland Farm, Sierra Leone.
CaptionP. scrobiculatum showing leaves and panicle, Rokupr Upland Farm, Sierra Leone.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
P. scrobiculatum showing leaves and panicle, Rokupr Upland Farm, Sierra Leone.
HabitP. scrobiculatum showing leaves and panicle, Rokupr Upland Farm, Sierra Leone.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
P. scrobiculatum showing panicle, Rokupr Upland Farm, Sierra Leone.
CaptionP. scrobiculatum showing panicle, Rokupr Upland Farm, Sierra Leone.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
P. scrobiculatum showing panicle, Rokupr Upland Farm, Sierra Leone.
PanicleP. scrobiculatum showing panicle, Rokupr Upland Farm, Sierra Leone.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
Inflorescence of P. scrobiculatum.
CaptionInflorescence of P. scrobiculatum.
Copyright©John Terry
Inflorescence of P. scrobiculatum.
InflorescenceInflorescence of P. scrobiculatum.©John Terry


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Paspalum scrobiculatum L.

Preferred Common Name

  • ricegrass paspalum

Other Scientific Names

  • Paspalum akoense Hay.
  • Paspalum auriculatum
  • Paspalum barbatum Schum.
  • Paspalum cartilagineum var. horneri
  • Paspalum commersonii Lam.
  • Paspalum horneri var. lanceolatum
  • Paspalum lamprocaryon
  • Paspalum orbiculare Forst.
  • Paspalum polystachyum R. Br.
  • Paspalum zollingeri var. bispicatum

International Common Names

  • English: creeping paspalum; ditch millet; Indian paspalum; kodo; kodo millet; rice grass; scrobic; water couch
  • Spanish: mijo koda
  • French: herbe à épée

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Kodahirse
  • India: arika; haraka; kodra
  • India/Madhya Pradesh: kondon
  • India/Tamil Nadu: varagu
  • Japan: suzumenokobie

EPPO code

  • PASSC (Paspalum scrobiculatum)

Summary of Invasiveness

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P. scrobiculata is a common weed in the tropics. It is listed as a noxious weed by USDA-APHIS (USDA-ARS, 2003) but is not widely considered to be highly invasive. It is not considered an environmental invasive on Pacific Islands (PIER, 2004).

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Clayton and Renvoize (1982) comment that P. scrobiculatum is 'a polymorphic species, but with variation apparently quite continuous; possibly a swarm of apomicts.' Some of the variants were given specific status until quite recently with P. scrobiculatum (s.s.) representing the erect annual form sometimes used as a crop, P. commersonii and P. orbiculare the more weedy perennial forms, and P. polystachyum, a particularly robust form.


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P. scrobiculatum is a tufted annual or perennial grass up to 150 cm tall. Culms stout, erect, glabrous, somewhat bulbous at base, sheaths 7-14 cm long, glabrous or with sparse hairs at the collar, compressed, basal ones often purplish; ligule very short, 1 mm, membranous, but with a dense row of hairs just behind it; blades flat, 12-40 cm long, 3-12 mm wide, acute, scabrous, glaucous on upper surface. Inflorescence has four to six racemes, these are 2-4 cm long, alternate, distant, their axis 4-9 cm long, villous at base, sometimes pilose in the axils. Rachis 1-1.5 mm wide, scabrous, usually reddish on the margins; spikelets paired, 2-2.5 mm long, broadly elliptic, imbricate, glabrous. Second glume and sterile lemma 3-nerved. Fertile lemma indurated, finely pitted; caryopsis 1.5 mm long, compressed-elliptic, pale (Stone, 1970).

Plant Type

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Grass / sedge
Seed propagated


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This species is found throughout the Paleotropics and in south-eastern USA (USDA-ARS, 2003). It is widely cultivated in India, which is probably its centre of origin. It is native to Africa, tropical Asia and Australia. The distribution in the Pacific is given in PIER (2004).

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.

Last updated: 12 May 2022
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes


Burkina FasoPresentNative
Central African RepublicPresent
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresent, LocalizedNativeInvasive
Congo, Republic of thePresent
Côte d'IvoirePresent, LocalizedNative
Equatorial GuineaPresent
GhanaPresent, LocalizedNativeInvasive
MauritiusPresent, LocalizedNativeInvasive
NigeriaPresent, LocalizedNativeInvasive
SenegalPresent, LocalizedNative
Sierra LeonePresentNative
South AfricaPresentNative


CambodiaPresent, LocalizedNative
ChinaPresent, Localized
-HunanPresent, WidespreadNativeInvasive
Hong KongPresent, Localized
IndiaPresent, LocalizedNativeInvasive
-Tamil NaduPresent
-Uttar PradeshPresent
-West BengalPresentNative
IndonesiaPresent, LocalizedNativeInvasive
JapanPresent, LocalizedNativeInvasive
-Bonin IslandsPresent
MalaysiaPresent, LocalizedNativeInvasive
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresent
North KoreaPresent, Localized
PhilippinesPresent, LocalizedNativeInvasive
Sri LankaPresentNative
TaiwanPresent, LocalizedNativeInvasive
ThailandPresent, LocalizedNativeInvasive
United Arab EmiratesPresent

North America

United StatesPresent, LocalizedIntroduced
-MarylandPresent, LocalizedIntroduced
-New JerseyPresent, LocalizedIntroduced


American SamoaPresent
AustraliaPresent, LocalizedNativeInvasive
-New South WalesPresentNative
-Northern TerritoryPresentNative
-Western AustraliaPresentNative
Cook IslandsPresent
Federated States of MicronesiaPresent
FijiPresent, LocalizedInvasive
French PolynesiaPresent
New CaledoniaPresent
New ZealandPresent
Northern Mariana IslandsPresent
Papua New GuineaPresent, WidespreadInvasive
Solomon IslandsPresent
Timor-LestePresent, WidespreadNative
Wallis and FutunaPresent

South America

BrazilPresent, Localized
-Rio Grande do SulPresent

History of Introduction and Spread

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P. scrobiculatum has been introduced to many parts of the world as an agricultural crop either as a grain crop or as a pasture species.


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P. scrobiculatum is a common weed of wastelands and fields in the tropics. Usually found in exposed areas, but tolerant of shade. In Fiji it is abundant at elevations up to 1300 m (Smith, 1979). In Hawaii it is common on slopes in poor soils where few other grasses will grow, and in wet, swampy ground up to 1100 m (Wagner et al., 1999).

Habitat List

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Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedProtected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Present, no further details
Terrestrial ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details
Terrestrial ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedManaged grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedRail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalWetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
LittoralCoastal areas Present, no further details

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContextReferences
Corchorus olitorius (jute)TiliaceaeMain
Oryza sativa (rice)PoaceaeUnknown


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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall00mm; lower/upper limits

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • shallow

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Soil, sand and gravel Yes

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx weeds/seeds
Growing medium accompanying plants weeds/seeds
True seeds (inc. grain) weeds/seeds

Impact Summary

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


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Holm et al. (1991) record this species (as 'P. scrobiculatum') as a 'serious' weed in India, the Philippines, Senegal, Taiwan and Thailand, and as a 'principal' weed in Côte d'Ivoire, Korea and Mauritius; also (as 'P. orbiculare') as a 'serious' weed in Ghana; and (as 'P. commersonii') as a 'principal' weed in Malaysia, Nigeria and Swaziland.

Risk and Impact Factors

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  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Pest and disease transmission
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant


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Widely cultivated as a minor millet in Africa and Asia, especially India (Senthivel et al., 1994; Anon., 1996; Ramasamy et al., 1996). Also used for forage (Bisset et al., 1974; Kitamura and Nada, 1986; Su and Lin, 1994; Compere et al., 1995) and as a feed supplement (Kapoor et al., 1987). In India, it has been used as a substrate for mushroom production (Kumar and Chandra, 1998) and for medicinal purposes (Roy and Pal, 1994).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage

Human food and beverage

  • Cereal


  • Poisonous to mammals

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Often found in association with P. conjugatum but distinguished from it by the tufted habit and more compact flower head.


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