Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Setaria parviflora
(knotroot foxtail)

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Datasheet

Setaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Setaria parviflora
  • Preferred Common Name
  • knotroot foxtail
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • S. parviflora is a variable, self-compatible, rhizomatous, C4 plant with a short lived seed bank, commonly regarded as an agricultural weed both in its native and introduced range (

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Setaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); habit. Huelo, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2009.
TitleHabit
CaptionSetaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); habit. Huelo, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2009.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Setaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); habit. Huelo, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2009.
HabitSetaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); habit. Huelo, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2009.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Setaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); habit. Hanawi stream, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July, 2003.
TitleHabit
CaptionSetaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); habit. Hanawi stream, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July, 2003.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Setaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); habit. Hanawi stream, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July, 2003.
HabitSetaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); habit. Hanawi stream, Maui, Hawaii, USA. July, 2003.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Setaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); seedheads. MISC LZ, Piiholo, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January, 2009.
TitleSeedheads
CaptionSetaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); seedheads. MISC LZ, Piiholo, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January, 2009.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Setaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); seedheads. MISC LZ, Piiholo, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January, 2009.
SeedheadsSetaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); seedheads. MISC LZ, Piiholo, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January, 2009.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Setaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); seedhead. Kapunakea Preserve West Maui, Maui, Hawaii, USA.. February, 2009.
TitleSeedhead
CaptionSetaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); seedhead. Kapunakea Preserve West Maui, Maui, Hawaii, USA.. February, 2009.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Setaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); seedhead. Kapunakea Preserve West Maui, Maui, Hawaii, USA.. February, 2009.
SeedheadSetaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); seedhead. Kapunakea Preserve West Maui, Maui, Hawaii, USA.. February, 2009.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Setaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); close-up of seedhead, basal section. Kapunakea Preserve West Maui, Maui, Hawaii, USA.. February, 2009.
TitleSeedhead
CaptionSetaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); close-up of seedhead, basal section. Kapunakea Preserve West Maui, Maui, Hawaii, USA.. February, 2009.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Setaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); close-up of seedhead, basal section. Kapunakea Preserve West Maui, Maui, Hawaii, USA.. February, 2009.
SeedheadSetaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail); close-up of seedhead, basal section. Kapunakea Preserve West Maui, Maui, Hawaii, USA.. February, 2009.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Setaria parviflora (Poir.) Kerguelen

Preferred Common Name

  • knotroot foxtail

Other Scientific Names

  • Cenchrus parviflorus Poiret
  • Chaetochloa corrugata var. parviflora (Poiret) Lamson-Scribner & Merrill
  • Chaetochloa flava (Nees von Esenbeck) Lamson-Scribner
  • Chaetochloa geniculata (Lam.) Millsp. & Chase
  • Chaetochloa gracilis (Kunth) Lamson-Scribner & Merrill
  • Chaetochloa imberbis (Poiret) Lamson-Scribner
  • Chaetochloa laevigata (Nuttall) Lamson-Scribner
  • Chaetochloa parviflora (Poiret) Lamson-Scribner
  • Chaetochloa penicillata (J. Presl) Lamson-Scribner
  • Chaetochloa perennis (Beal) E. P. Bicknell
  • Chaetochloa ventenatii (Steudel) Nash
  • Chaetochloa versicolor E. P. Bicknell
  • Chamaeraphis glauca var. geniculata (Poiret) Kuntze
  • Chamaeraphis gracilis (Kunth) Kuntze ex Stuckert
  • Chamaeraphis imberbis (Poiret) Kuntze ex Stuckert
  • Chamaeraphis ventenatii (Steudel) Beal
  • Panicum berteronianum Steud.
  • Panicum flavum Nees
  • Panicum geniculatum Lam.
  • Panicum geniculatum Willd.
  • Panicum imberbe Poir.
  • Panicum laevigatum Muhl. ex Ell.
  • Panicum ventenatii Steudel
  • Panicum versicolor (E. P. Bicknell) Nieuwland
  • Pennisetum geniculatum Jacq.
  • Pennisetum indicum subvar. parviflorum (Poiret) Leeke
  • Pennisetum laevigatum Nuttall
  • Pennisetum parviflorum (Poiret) Trinius
  • Setaria berteroniana Schultes
  • Setaria flava Kunth.
  • Setaria geniculata (Lam.) P. Beauv.
  • Setaria geniculata auct.
  • Setaria geniculata P. Beauv.
  • Setaria gracilis H.B.K.
  • Setaria imberbis (Poir.) Gray
  • Setaria laeta Wit.
  • Setaria laevigata (Nuttall) Schultes
  • Setaria penicillata J. Presl
  • Setaria purpurescens H.B.K.
  • Setaria ventenatii Kunth

International Common Names

  • English: bristly foxtail; knotroot bristlegrass; marsh bristlegrass; slender pigeon grass; slender pigeongrass; yellow bristle grass
  • Spanish: barabal; cola de zorro; gasanillo; grama chileana; plumerillo; rabo de zorro; zacate cola de zorra
  • Portuguese: campim rabo de quati; capim-rabo-de-raposa; carrapinchinho do campo

Local Common Names

  • Argentina: paiten
  • Brazil: bambuzinho; rabo de raposa
  • Chile: pega-pega
  • Colombia: munchira
  • Dominican Republic: pajon blanco
  • El Salvador: gusanita; gusaw
  • Malaysia: verbena
  • Peru: chilena; chilicua; uschita
  • Puerto Rico: deshollinador
  • Sri Lanka: kavalu
  • Taiwan: hsio-li-gou-wei-tsao
  • Venezuela: limpia botella

EPPO code

  • SETGE (Setaria geniculata)

Summary of Invasiveness

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S. parviflora is a variable, self-compatible, rhizomatous, C4 plant with a short lived seed bank, commonly regarded as an agricultural weed both in its native and introduced range (Rabinowitz and Rapp, 1981; Pensiero, 1999Mollard et al., 2007; Mollard and Insausti, 2011; Randall, 2012). It often colonizes cultivated and disturbed soils or waste places including seasonally wet sites and salt marshes (Hubbard, 1954; Leithead et al., 1971; Pott and Pott, 2004; Edgar and Connor, 2010). It can contaminate wool (Ryves et al., 1996), seed crops, especially those of grasses such as dryland rice, lawn seed and Bahia grass (Paspalum notatum) (Silveira Filho and Aquino, 1983; Wehtje et al., 2008; Seed Regulatory and Testing Branch, 2011) and degrade and dominate sod and pastures (including alfalfa), lowering hay quality, a problem because it can cause lesions in livestock (Murphy et al., 1992; Arregui et al., 2001; Muller and Via, 2012). Land infested with it might be considered to have lower value because of poor pasture. It is regarded as a member of the alien flora of Chile (Ugarte et al., 2011).

Usually described as native to the USA, Central America and parts of South America, it may be an ancient introduction from Asia. A few U.S. states list it as a rare species of conservation concern (Mollard et al., 2007; Mollard and Insausti, 2011; USDA-NRCS, 2013). No U.S. state lists it as Noxious. Rarely is it regarded as an environmental weed though there are exceptions, e.g. Australia (Mosman Council, 2013). It is one of a suite of invasive grasses in Hawaii that can compete with threatened and endangered species.

Able to colonize wet sites, S. parviflora is regarded as a  facultative wetland plant, and is common in wet savannas, salt marshes, and flooded areas (Blydenstein, 1967; Leithead et al., 1971; Pott and Pott, 2004; Mollard et al., 2007; USDA-NRCS, 2013). This belies its ability to withstand drought and fire (Leithead et al., 1971; Chuine et al., 2012; USDA-NRCS, 2013). It is a relatively recent naturalization in parts of Europe where it is found in waste places, lawns and parks (Hubbard, 1954; Milovic et al., 2010). 

 

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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A polymorphic pan-tropical species, widespread in the New World, Setaria parviflora was based on an earlier name Cenchrus parviflorus Poir. S. parviflora (Poir.) Kerguélen and its synonym Setariageniculata (Wild.) P. Beauv., nom. illeg. are the most widely used in the literature for this taxon (with the former being preferred), though there are dozens of synonyms known (many listed above), mostly representing descriptions given for the same species made in different parts of the New World – an area to which it is widely regarded as native (Wunderlin and Hansen, 2012). The perennial form of S. parviflora was known as S. geniculata P. Beauvois, but that name was based not on Panicum geniculatumPoiret (1798), as has been widely supposed, but on P. geniculatumWilldenow (1809), which applies to a different species. For the purpose of this datasheet it is assumed that all records of occurrence of 'S. geniculata' as weeds refer to the same species (Gandhi and Barkworth, 2003).

S. parviflora mostly resembles Setaria pumila (Poir.) Roem. & Schult., but it is usually described as a short lived perennial (while S. pumila is an annual), with short creeping rhizomes, with more slender panicles and smaller spikelets (Hubbard, 1954). Other keys distinguish these two species on basis of spikelet size ( 2.5-3.5 mm in S. pumila vs 1.8-2.5), lower floret often staminate (vs neuter), and upper lemma is coarsely rugose (vs finely rugose) for S. pumila and S. parviflora respectively (Shouliang and Phillips, 2006). However, S. pumila and S. parviflora are likely different facets of the same polymorphic complex, and could be regarded as a single, variable species. No character taken on its own is reliable for separating the two species.

Phylogenetic work (using the ndhf gene) had most accessions of S. parviflora fall out in a monophyletic clade while one accession fell out in a clade with two other similar weedy species S. pumila and S. sphacelata (Kellogg et al., 2009; Chemisquy et al., 2010). The species S. pumila is distinguished based on the length of the inflorescence, which is short in S. parviflora. S. sphacelata has longer spikelets and is consistently perennial but it encompasses a substantial range of morphological variation and several ploidal levels (Elizabeth Kellogg pers. comm.). This suggests that there may be some anomalies surrounding this taxon that have yet to be resolved.

One common statement about the species that seems to be misleading, is that the taxon is tropical and subtropical in its distribution, but its distribution extends convincingly to 42 degrees North and South latitude in its native range, even if the higher latitudinal instances are mainly in coastal habitats (GBIF, 2012; USDA, 2013).

Wang et al. (1995) note that, although 'S. geniculata' and S. pumila are superficially very similar, they are clearly distinguished by allozyme analysis. They surmise that the two species may share a common African ancestor, and that their divergence from this common ancestor occurred relatively recently.

Elizabeth Kellog (pers. comm.) pointed out that S. parviflora could be native to the New World, but there are three things that call that into question. S. parviflora is reported mostly from the Americas, but both nuclear and chloroplast sequences clearly place it in an African clade (Kellogg et al., 2009; Chemisquy et al., 2010). Second, morphologically it is strikingly similar to the African annual Setaria pumila ( = S. glauca) with the only material difference being the habit (annual vs. perennial), which is hard to assess from herbarium specimens. And third, it is very weedy, and thus highly mobile. This creates an opportunity for confusion and opens up the possibility that the species is not completely distinguishable from the two closely related congeners S. pumila and S. sphacelata, or that it is a relatively recent arrival or introduced species in the Americas. The suggestion has been made that S. parviflora was introduced to the Americas by early settlers that crossed the Bering Strait in the last 10-20 thousand years (Wang et al., 1995; Dekker, 2003; Austin, 2006). A worldwide study with more variable markers could help to determine where this species originates from and whether these two other closely related congeners are distinct.

Description

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Annual or short-lived perennial (some accounts clearly state one, the other or both) with basal buds (branching at base) laxly tufted often straggling with a short knotty rhizome as long as 4 cm. Culms erect or geniculate, 10-30-(75) cm, ± erect, nodes compressed, often dark brown, internodes ridged, glabrous, minutely prickle-toothed to pubescent on ridges just below panicle. Leaf sheaths keeled, glabrous (sometimes scabrous toward the summit); leaf blades stiff, flat or involute, (3)-8-15-(20) cm × 2-5 mm, glabrous or adaxial surface pilose at base, apex acuminate; ligule ca. 1 mm. Panicle densely cylindrical, 2–15 × 0.5–1.2 cm; branches reduced to a single mature spikelet subtended by 8–12 bristles; axis pubescent; bristles golden (yellow) or purplish brown when mature, 2–3 times spikelet length. Spikelets elliptic, 1.8–2.5 mm, light green, falling entire at maturity.  lower glume ovate, approximately 1/3 as long as spikelet (0.7-1.2mm), 3 nerved acute or apiculate; upper glume broadly ovate, ca. 1/2 as long as spikelet 1-2 mm,3-(5) nerved, obtuse; lower floret neuter; lower palea firmly membranous, lanceolate, about as long as the upper floret but narrower, keels wingless, minutely papillose; upper lemma ovate-elliptic, finely rugulose, pale cream. Flowering and fruiting early autumn to early winter. This description combines sources (Hitchcock, 1931, 1971; Shouliang and Phillips, 2006; Edgar and Connor, 2010).

Plant Type

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Herbaceous
Perennial

Distribution

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S. parviflora is regarded as native to the Americas and moderately widely introduced to South and East Asia and South-west Europe, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere in the Pacific, but absent from Africa, other than South Africa (GBIF, 2012; SANBI, 2013). As noted in the section about taxonomy and nomenclature, some scholars doubt this centre of origin, mostly because the species has morphologically similar congeners; for example, different accessions fall out in clades made up of similar African species (Kellogg et al., 2009).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

AfghanistanPresentWang et al., 1995
CambodiaPresentHolm et al., 1979
ChinaPresentHolm et al., 1979; Shouliang and Phillips, 2006
-FujianPresentShouliang and Phillips, 2006
-GuangdongPresentShouliang and Phillips, 2006
-GuangxiPresentShouliang and Phillips, 2006
-GuizhouPresentShouliang and Phillips, 2006
-HainanPresentShouliang and Phillips, 2006
-HunanPresentShouliang and Phillips, 2006
-JiangxiPresentShouliang and Phillips, 2006
-SichuanPresentShouliang and Phillips, 2006
-YunnanPresentShouliang and Phillips, 2006
IndiaPresentHolm et al., 1979
IndonesiaPresentHolm et al., 1979
JapanPresentHolm et al., 1979
LaosPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1997
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
MyanmarPresentHolm et al., 1979
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
TaiwanPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
ThailandPresentHolm et al., 1979
TurkeyPresentWang et al., 1995
UzbekistanPresentWang et al., 1995

Africa

South AfricaPresentHolm et al., 1979
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentHansen, 1971

North America

BermudaPresentHolm et al., 1979
CanadaPresentNativeZuloaga et al., 2003
MexicoPresentHolm et al., 1979
USAWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979; USDA-NRCS, 2013
-AlabamaWidespreadNative Invasive Hitchcock, 1951; University of North Carolina, 2013
-ArizonaPresentHitchcock, 1951
-ArkansasWidespreadNative Invasive University of North Carolina, 2013
-CaliforniaWidespreadNativeHitchcock, 1951; GBIF, 2012
-ConnecticutPresentNativeHitchcock, 1951; USDA-NRCS, 2013
-District of ColumbiaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-FloridaWidespreadNative Invasive Hitchcock, 1951; Wunderlin and Hansen, 2012Probably in all counties
-GeorgiaPresentHitchcock, 1951
-HawaiiWidespreadIntroduced1851 Invasive Holm et al., 1979; Bishop Museum, 2013The main Hawaiian islands
-IdahoPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-IllinoisPresentHitchcock, 1951
-IndianaLocalisedNative Not invasive Wang et al., 1995; USDA-NRCS, 2013endangered
-IowaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-KansasPresentNativeHitchcock, 1951; USDA-NRCS, 2013
-KentuckyPresentNativeWang et al., 1995; USDA-NRCS, 2013
-LouisianaWidespreadNative Invasive Hitchcock, 1951; University of North Carolina, 2013
-MarylandPresentNativeHitchcock, 1951; USDA-NRCS, 2013
-MassachusettsLocalisedNative Not invasive Hitchcock, 1951; USDA-NRCS, 2013Special concern
-MinnesotaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MississippiWidespreadNative Invasive Hitchcock, 1951; University of North Carolina, 2013
-MissouriPresentNativeHitchcock, 1951; USDA-NRCS, 2013
-NevadaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-New HampshirePresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-New JerseyPresentNativeHitchcock, 1951; USDA-NRCS, 2013
-New MexicoPresentNativeHitchcock, 1951; USDA-NRCS, 2013
-New YorkPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-North CarolinaWidespreadNative Invasive Hitchcock, 1951; University of North Carolina, 2013
-OhioPresentNativeWang et al., 1995; USDA-NRCS, 2013
-OklahomaPresentNativeHitchcock, 1951; USDA-NRCS, 2013
-OregonPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-PennsylvaniaPresentHitchcock, 1951
-Rhode IslandLocalisedNative Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2013Special concern
-South CarolinaWidespreadNative Invasive Hitchcock, 1951; University of North Carolina, 2013
-TennesseeWidespreadNative Invasive Hitchcock, 1951; University of North Carolina, 2013
-TexasPresentNativeHitchcock, 1951; USDA-NRCS, 2013
-UtahPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-VirginiaPresentNativeHitchcock, 1951; USDA-NRCS, 2013
-WashingtonPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-West VirginiaPresentNativeHitchcock, 1951; USDA-NRCS, 2013

Central America and Caribbean

BelizePresentHolm et al., 1979
Costa RicaWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979; GBIF, 2012
CubaPresentNative Invasive Labrada, 1975
Dominican RepublicPresentHolm et al., 1979
El SalvadorWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979; GBIF, 2012
GuatemalaWidespreadNativeGBIF, 2012
HaitiWidespreadNativeGBIF, 2012
HondurasWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979; GBIF, 2012
JamaicaPresentHolm et al., 1979
NicaraguaWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1997; GBIF, 2012
PanamaWidespreadNativeGBIF, 2012
Puerto RicoPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; USDA-NRCS, 2013
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Pensiero, 1999
United States Virgin IslandsPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013

South America

ArgentinaWidespreadHolm et al., 1979; Arregui et al., 2001; GBIF, 2012
BoliviaWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1997; GBIF, 2012
BrazilWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979; Pensiero, 1999
-AmazonasWidespreadNativePensiero, 1999
-BahiaPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-CearaPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Espirito SantoPresentLorenzi, 1982; Lorenzi, 1982
-GoiasPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-MaranhaoPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-ParaPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-ParaibaPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-ParanaPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-PernambucoPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-PiauiPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Santa CatarinaPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Sao PauloPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-SergipePresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
ChilePresentIntroduced1859 Invasive Holm et al., 1979; Pensiero, 1999; Ugarte et al., 2011
ColombiaPresentNativeBLYDENSTEIN, 1967; Holm et al., 1979; GBIF, 2012
EcuadorWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979; GBIF, 2012
French GuianaWidespreadNativeGBIF, 2012
GuyanaWidespreadNativeGBIF, 2012
ParaguayWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979; GBIF, 2012
PeruWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979; GBIF, 2012
SurinamePresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; GBIF, 2012
UruguayWidespreadNativeHolm et al., 1979; GBIF, 2012
VenezuelaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; GBIF, 2012

Europe

AustriaPresent, few occurrences1800, 2001Introduced Not invasive NOBANIS, 2013Not established
CroatiaLocalisedIntroduced1997Milovic et al., 2010Settlement of Zablace
DenmarkPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced1958 Not invasive NOBANIS, 2013
FranceLocalisedIntroduced1850sChuine et al., 2012Southern France
ItalyPresentIntroducedPignatti, 1982; Wang et al., 1995
PortugalPresentIntroduced1961Almeida and Freitas, 2006
-AzoresPresentOrmonde, 1977
SpainPresentIntroduced Invasive Belmonte, 1983; Sanz-Elorza et al., 2001; Campos and Herrera, 2010Incipient invador
-Balearic IslandsPresentFraga et al., 2001
UKLocalisedIntroducedRyves et al., 1996

Oceania

AustraliaPresentHolm et al., 1979
-Australian Northern TerritoryLocalisedIntroducedCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2013
-New South WalesWidespreadIntroducedAuld and Medd, 1987; Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2013
-QueenslandWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Auld and Medd, 1987; Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2013
-South AustraliaWidespreadIntroducedCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2013
-VictoriaWidespreadIntroducedAuld and Medd, 1987; Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2013
-Western AustraliaLocalisedIntroducedAuld and Medd, 1987; Lloyd and Hussey, 2002; Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2013
New ZealandPresentHolm et al., 1979; Edgar and Connor, 2010

History of Introduction and Spread

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Most references point toward this species originating in the North and South American tropics and subtropics (e.g.: Hubbard, 1954; Ryves et al., 1996; Campos and Herrera, 2010; Andreu and Vilà, 2010) and being introduced via accidental means (trade in lawn grass, wool or other indeterminate means associated with world wide connectivity via trade) to other parts of the world. However, there has been the repeated contention that it is introduced to the New World, via Asia more than 10,000 years ago, from Africa (and is therefore related to Setaria pumila) as a food source for people that crossed the Bering Strait (Wang et al., 1995; Dekker, 2003; Austin, 2006). It is often mentioned as a food source for Mexican peoples about 7000 years ago but the articles cite a 1968 article that only mentions Setaria macrostachya (Smith, 1968).

Some simply call it a pan-tropical species, but it is unclear whether they mean that it is native throughout the indicated range (e.g. Shouliang and Phillips, 2006). This non-New World origin idea may be supported by the fact that the species comes out as sharing a most recent common ancestor with African taxa (Kellogg et al., 2009; Chemisquy et al., 2010).

For the purposes of this datasheet, it is regarded as native to the Americas where the plant is widespread and has the greatest genetic diversity (Wang et al., 1995). Even so it is considered introduced to Chile around the mid-1800s (Ugarte et al., 2011). It was collected in Europe in the mid 1800s (Milovic et al., 2010; Chuine et al., 2012) or possibly earlier (NOBANIS, 2013), and has naturalized at multiple locations there, but is still viewed as an incipient invader (Elorza et al., 2001; Milovic et al., 2010). It has naturalized or become invasive in warmer and wetter parts of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Hawaii, where it seems to have been collected prior to 1900. 

Risk of Introduction

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S. parviflora is recognized as a contaminant of seeds for sale (e.g. for lawns), of camping equipment, clothes, and hay, and is dispersed by livestock and most likely by birds (Carpenter, 1971; Wang et al., 1995; Arregui et al., 2001; Martin and Pensiero, 2003; Seed Regulatory and Testing Branch, 2011; Muller and Via, 2012). There are various reports of birds eating the seed, but none confirming seed viability after processing by birds.

Habitat

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Habitat of S. parviflora in its native range includes open ground, pastures, cultivated soil, salt marshes, and moist ground along the coast. Elsewhere it occurs in waste places, cultivated soils, lawns, concrete margins, mountain slopes, roadsides, and forest margins (Shouliang and Phillips, 2006; Milovic et al., 2010). In Hawaii it occurs in wet, mesic and dry sites (e.g. Kauai Mountains, coastal cliffs etc), and in clearly arid low lying sites (e.g. island of Kahoolawe).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Coastal dunes Present, no further details Natural
Salt marshes Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Industrial / intensive livestock production systems Present, no further details Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Wetlands Present, no further details Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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Not usually a serious weed, except where it is a contaminant of seed crops (especially rice, lawn and forage grasses) and hay. Often management strategies focus on limiting seeding.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

S. parviflora is more variable within the United States (north and south parts of the country) than it is between Europe and the United States (Wang et al., 1995). Chromosomes 36, 2n = 72.

Physiology and Phenology

S. parviflora is perennial but spreads mainly by seed (see Holm et al., 1997). The species flowers and fruits in autumn and early winter. It is able to  tolerate flooding and delay germination during periods of inundation ( Mollard et al., 2007). It is found in open wet areas, roadsides, pastures, wetlands, grasses, and low stature vegetation with high light levels.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
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])
B - Dry (arid and semi-arid) Tolerated < 860mm precipitation annually
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Tolerated Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
42 42

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • impeded

Soil reaction

  • acid

Special soil tolerances

  • saline

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Beniowskia sphaeroidea Pathogen

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Plants or parts of plantsSeed contaminant Yes Seed Regulatory Testing Branch, 2011
Water Yes Mollard et al., 2007

Economic Impact

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This species is a weed in its native range, problematic in cultivated open sites throughout the low to mid-latitudes in America. It has spread to Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and is a recent arrival in Europe where it threatens to spread widely under climate warming (Chuine et al., 2012). Holm et al. (1997) record the occurrence of S. parviflora as a weed in 46 countries, serious or principal in 7 countries, mainly in South America but including the USA. The plant is known to cause problems for pasture and seed crops including grasses and alfalfa, sod, lawn seed, rice and in vineyards (Lurvey, 1982; Silveira Filho and Aquino, 1983; Murphy et al., 1992; Ryves et al., 1996; Arregui et al., 2001; Edgar and Connor, 2010; Milovic et al., 2010; Muller and Via, 2012). In alfalfa (in Argentina) it is the dominant weed in many cases, and at its highest density it reduces yields by as much as 50% (Arregui et al., 2001).

Costs related to weed control and reduced yield would be the main tangible economic impacts (e.g.; Arregui et al., 2001).

Environmental Impact

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Impact on habitats

This species will most likely alter successional pathways in the sites where it is able to become dominant.

Impact on biodiversity

The following endangered plants from Hawaii were reported to compete with a suite of weeds including S. parviflora:Phyllostegiaknudsenii (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a), Plantagoprinceps (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010j), Poamannii (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010k), Pteralyxiakauaiensis (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b), Remyamontgomeryi (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010c), Schiedeaapokremnos (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010e), Schiedeaspergulina var. leiopoda (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010f), Schiedeastellarioides (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010g), Sesbaniatomentosa (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010i), Solanumsandwicense (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009), Spermolepishawaiiensis (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010h), Urerakaalae (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011), and Wilkesiahobdyi (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010d).

Throughout its introduced range you might expect this plant to compete with other facultative wetland plants in open and disturbed sites, and it will also be helped by those conditions associated with pig rooting, and moderate grazing. Seeds can be transported on animal pelts so grazing mammals likely transport seeds. It is unclear whether seeds survive digestion by animals.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Phyllostegia knudsenii (Waimea phyllostegia)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a
Plantago princepsNatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010j
Poa mannii (Mann's bluegrass)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010k
Pteralyxia kauaiensis (Kauai pteralyxia)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b
Remya montgomeryi (Kalalau Valley remya)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010c
Schiedea apokremnos (Kauai schiedea)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010e
Schiedea spergulina var. leiopodaNational list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010f
Schiedea stellarioidesCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010g
Sesbania tomentosaNational list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010i
Solanum sandwicenseNational list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009
Spermolepis hawaiiensis (Hawaii scaleseed)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010h
Urera kaalaeCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish Wildlife Service, 2011
Wilkesia hobdyi (dwarf iliau)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); National list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetitionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010d

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • 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
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
  • Damages animal/plant products
Impact mechanisms
  • Causes allergic responses
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Rapid growth

Uses

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S. parviflora is a threatened species and weed within part of its native range, and may have been an early domesticated crop in the Americas (Austin, 2006).

Detection and Inspection

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Seed detection is described in Seed Regulatory and Testing Branch (2011). Field detection may be poor due to its similarity to other congeners (Dekker, 2003).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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S. parviflora is similar to S. pumila  and S. sphacelata (Hitchcock, 1931, 1971; Shouliang and Phillips, 2006; Edgar and Connor, 2010). It is usually regarded as a short lived perennial in most descriptions (or plastic on that trait, and able to be an annual or perennial) while S. pumila is an annual. The species S. pumila is distinguished based on the length of the inflorescence - long in S. pumila and shorter in S. parviflora. S. sphacelata has longer spikelets and is consistently perennial but it encompasses a substantial range of morphological variation.

Prevention and Control

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Physical/Mechanical Control

Using a strimmer in the spring to remove seed heads before they are viable can suppress S. parviflora reproductive potential in pastures (Becky Buddenhagen pers. comm.).

Chemical Control

Information on susceptibility to herbicides is scarce, but Lorenzi (1984) and other sources indicate susceptibility to butachlor, metolachlor, EPTC, butylate, pendimethalin, atrazine, MSMA, propanil, dalapon, diclofop-methyl, sethoxydim, paraquat and glyphosate. It may not be well controlled by fluazifop-butyl.

Wehtje et al. (2008) reported that depending on the year, between one and three POST applications of diclofop at 1.12 kg/ha each were effective in reducing, but not completely eliminating, S. parvilfora seed head production in bahiagrass. Plants were not killed. 

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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The biggest doubts about this species relate to its distinctiveness from other variable and morphologically similar congeners that it is closely related to, and it remains to be seen if the species is truly native to the Americas.

References

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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13/03/13 Updated by:

Chris Buddenhagen, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA

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