Phalaris minor (littleseed canarygrass)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Phalaris minor Retz. (1783)
Preferred Common Name
- littleseed canarygrass
International Common Names
- English: canarygrass
- Spanish: alfarin (Argentina); alpiste silvestre (Honduras); alpistillo; pasto de San Juan; pasto romano
- French: alpiste mineur; alpiste modeste; petit phalaris
- Portuguese: erva-cabecinha; talaceiro
Local Common Names
- Germany: Glanzgras, Kleines
- India: bandaria; gulli danda; kanki
- Netherlands: kanariegras, klein
- PHAMI (Phalaris minor)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Monocotyledonae
- Order: Cyperales
- Family: Poaceae
- Genus: Phalaris
- Species: Phalaris minor
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page The name Phalaris minor is universally accepted for this weed. It is normally a tetraploid with chromosome number 2n=28 (Sidhu, 1991). Several varieties have been reported, including P. minor var. minor, P. minor var. integra (Dotham, 1986) and P. minor var. nepalensis (Bor, 1979).
DescriptionTop of page P. minor is a winter annual propagated by seeds. It is erect or decumbent, caespitose, more-or-less slender with stems up to 90 cm tall. Leaves long, linear, acuminate; sheath smooth; ligule an oblong hyaline membrane, about 5 mm long (Hooker, 1982; Shukla, 1996). Panicle more-or-less protruding or entirely protruding from the uppermost swollen leaf sheath, ovate to oblong, 5-8 cm long, green; spikelets green, broadly lanceolate on short pedicels, shining, not as conspicuously striped as in P. brachystachys, 4-5 mm long, strongly laterally compressed. Glumes 4-6 mm long, fertile lemma lanceolate about 3 mm long, more or less lustrous; sterile lemma solitary, about 1 mm long. Glumes acute, but not mucronate, with a minutely toothed wing. Hermaphrodite florets with palea villous with applied hairs, and with very small filiform residue of a neutral floret at the base.
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|
|Afghanistan||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Bangladesh||Present||Samunder Singh, 2007|
|India||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|-Chhattisgarh||Present||Tripathi and Tiwari, 2007|
|-Haryana||Present||Ashok et al., 2006|
|-Himachal Pradesh||Present||Saini and Angiras, 2005|
|-Indian Punjab||Present||Dhawan and Shubra, 2007|
|-Jammu and Kashmir||Present||Shukla, 1996|
|-Madhya Pradesh||Present||Mishra, 2008|
|-Rajasthan||Present||Ramesh et al., 2004|
|-Uttar Pradesh||Present||Shukla, 1996|
|-Uttarakhand||Present||Govindra and Singh, 2005|
|-West Bengal||Present||Shukla, 1996|
|Iran||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|Iraq||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|Israel||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|Jordan||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|Lebanon||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|Nepal||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|Pakistan||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|Saudi Arabia||Present||Chaudhary et al., 1981|
|Syria||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Turkey||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Egypt||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|Morocco||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|South Africa||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|Zimbabwe||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Mexico||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|USA||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|-California||Present||Groenigen and Kessel, 2002|
|Argentina||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Brazil||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Colombia||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|Ecuador||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Uruguay||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Greece||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Italy||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|Portugal||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|Spain||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|-Balearic Islands||Present||Tutin, 1980|
|UK||Present||Bhan and Froud-Williams, 2006|
|Yugoslavia (former)||Present||Tutin, 1980|
|Australia||Widespread||Holm et al., 1979|
|-Victoria||Present||Niknam et al., 2002|
|New Zealand||Present||Parham and Healy, 1985|
HabitatTop of page P. minor is a typical winter annual, and grows best at temperature ranges of 5-20°C. It is more dominant under irrigated conditions. It occurs on a wide range of soil types of varying pH and salinity. The problem is most serious in vast areas of south Asia where rice-wheat cropping systems are followed.
Habitat ListTop of page
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page P. minor infests almost all crops grown in winter. It is a serious weed in wheat in most parts of India and Pakistan, the Mediterranean countries, the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East, Central America, Australia and South Africa.
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Allium cepa (onion)||Liliaceae||Other|
|Brassica juncea var. juncea (Indian mustard)||Brassicaceae||Other|
|Cicer arietinum (chickpea)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Hordeum vulgare (barley)||Poaceae||Main|
|Lens culinaris subsp. culinaris (lentil)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Linum usitatissimum (flax)||Other|
|Pisum sativum (pea)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Solanum tuberosum (potato)||Solanaceae||Other|
|Trifolium alexandrinum (Berseem clover)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Triticum aestivum (wheat)||Poaceae||Main|
Biology and EcologyTop of page P. minor is a very competitive weed which infests many crops. The seeds germinate best at a temperature range of 10-20°C (Bhan and Choudary, 1976). No germination occurs at temperatures below 5°C or above 30°C. Alternating temperatures of 20/10°C gave the highest germination, and light had no effect on P. minor germination (Yaduraju et al., 1984). The seeds do not exhibit dormancy but require ca 4-5 months of after-ripening to attain maximal germination (Yaduraju et al., 1984). The seeds retain viability for 5-6 years when stored under room conditions (Chhokar, 1998), but their fate in soil is not known.
The seeds survive successfully under the anaerobic conditions created by rice culture during the summer months in the Indo-Gangetic plains and dominate the weed flora in the wheat crop, while it is not a very serious weed in other rotation systems of the region. The seeds are reported to undergo secondary dormancy under anaerobic conditions (Parasher and Singh, 1985).
Growth is favoured by high fertility, but soil type and pH are not critical. Growth is apparently favoured most by medium-to-heavy, moist and well drained soils, but it will also grow in alkaline and saline conditions. The weed grows successfully in most winter crops, but competition is most serious with crops of short stature. Allelopathic effects of root exudates of P. minor on wheat have been reported (Parasher and Singh, 1985).
ImpactTop of page P. minor is a very competitive weed in several winter crops in many Mediterranean countries, the Middle East, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Mexico, Australia and South Africa. Yield losses vary depending on crop, climate and management practices. The losses are maximum in crops of short stature such as chickpea, lentil, peas, etc.
In India, yield losses ranging from 15-50% have been reported (Gill et al., 1978). Cudney and Hill (1979) recorded 40-60% reduction in wheat yield with P. minor at 108-915 plants per square metre. Afentouli and Eleftherohorinos (1996) reported 36-39% reduction in wheat yield in Greece with 304 canarygrass plants per square metre.
P. minor has been listed as amongst the top ten weeds in Pakistan (Shad and Siddique, 1996) and in central Greece (Damanakes, 1982). In Spain, several species of Phalaris are known to infest wheat and barley in the west Andulasian region, of which P. paradoxa and P. minor are the most serious (Saavedra et al., 1989). The problem has taken a new turn in some countries with reported development of resistance to herbicides. Vast wheat areas in the fertile north-western parts of India are faced with the problem of resistance to isoproturon - the herbicide recommended for its control (Malik and Singh, 1995). An extremely heavy population build-up, in the order of 2000-3000 plants per square metre, is frequently seen. Yield reductions in the region of 60-100% have been reported from these areas. A similar problem, albeit at a lesser intensity, has been documented in Israel (Tal et al., 1996).
Uses ListTop of page
Animal feed, fodder, forage
- Fodder/animal feed
- Poisonous to mammals
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page Several other Phalaris species occur as weeds. Perennial species include P. tuberosa (= P. nodosa, P. aquatica) and P. arundinacea. These are robust, 1-2 m high, with rhizomes.
Annual species with which P. minor is more likely to be confused include:
P. paradoxa (see separate datasheet) - this is similar in vegetative morphology but the spikelets have distinctive winged, toothed glumes, 7 mm long.
P. brachystachys (see separate data sheet) - this is even more similar, but has larger glumes, 7-8 mm long with distinct green stripes at the base of the entire wings. These are sterile florets less than one-third as long as the fertile.
P. canariensis - similar to P. brachystachys but sterile florets more than half as long as the fertile, and the inflorescence shorter and fatter, usually ovoid.
These annual species all occur around the Mediterranean and may overlap. Edgecombe (1970) provides useful drawings of the spikelets of P. minor, P. brachystachys and P. paradoxa.
Prevention and ControlTop of page Cultural Control
Mechanical removal is very effective and useful if done during the initial growth stages of the crop. However, this is not always practical because of the morphological similarities of P. minor to wheat, in which it is a major weed. The stale seed-bed technique involves encouraging emergence of P. minor by irrigating the field, then later eliminating the weed either by shallow cultivation or by use of non-residual foliage-acting herbicides. Competitive crops such as rape, mustard, barley, etc. are useful. Rotations with fodder crops such as oats or berseem (Trifolium alexandrinum) and cultivation of sugarcane have been found to be effective in checking weed growth (Banga et al., 1997). Employing a higher seed rate, narrow row spacing, criss-cross sowing, etc. in wheat offers P. minor control to some extent, but these methods are inconsistent and cannot be relied upon. In India, P. minor has been found to be very sensitive to soil solarization carried out for a short period during summer, but its practical use in the field is unlikely due to economic considerations.
P. minor is highly sensitive to phenylureas. Clorotoluron, isoproturon, methabenzthiazuron and metoxuron have been widely used in India, Pakistan and the Mediterranean countries (Gill et al., 1978; Catizone and Viggiani, 1980). Isoproturon, however, has remained as the most stable and reliable herbicide available for use in India. Excellent control of several species of Phalaris including P. minor has been reported with post-emergence application of diclofop-methyl (Breidert, 1978; Catizone and Viggiani, 1980). Continuous use of herbicides has, however, resulted in the development of P. minor populations resistant to isoproturon in India (Malik and Singh, 1995) and for some aryloxyphenoxypropionate herbicides in the Mediterranean region (Tal et al., 1996).
ReferencesTop of page
Afentouli CG; Eleftherohorinos IG, 1996. Littleseed canarygrass (Phalaris minor) and short-spiked canarygrass (Phalaris brachystachys) interference in wheat and barley. Weed Science, 44(3):560-565; 24 ref.
Banga RS; Yadav A; Malik RK, 1997. Crop rotation - an effective means to control resistant Phalaris minor in wheat. Farmer and Parliament, 33(3):15-16.
Bhan A; Froud-Williams RJ, 2006. Phalaris spp. competition with wheat using an additive design series. In: 15th Australian Weeds Conference, Papers and Proceedings, Adelaide, South Australia, 24-28 September 2006: Managing weeds in a changing climate [ed. by Preston, C.\Watts, J. H.\Crossman, N. D.]. Victoria, Australia: Weed Management Society of South Australia, 417-419.
Bhan VM; Chaudary DDB, 1976. Germination, growth and reproductive behaviour of Phalaris minor Retz as affected by the date of planting. Indian Journal of Weed Science, 8:126-130.
Bor NL, 1979. The Grasses of Burma, Ceylon, India and Pakistan (excluding Bambuseae). Dehra Dun, India: R. P. S. Galot, International Book Distributors.
Breidert D, 1978. Hoe 23408 36 e.c. (diclofop-methyl), a new post-em. selective grasskiller in cereals and broad-leaved crops. Proceedings of the Mediterranean Herbicide Symposium, Madrid, 1978. Madrid, Spain: Ministerio de Agricultura, 2:147-154
Catizone P; Viggiani P, 1980. Four years of research into Phalaris spp. infestation of wheat. Atti Giornate Fitopatologiche, Supplemento nr. 3:257-311
Chhokar RS, 1998. Studies on the biology and control of isoproturon resistant Phalaris minor Retz. PhD Thesis. Hisar, India: CCS Haryana Agricultural University.
Dhawan RS; Shubra Gupta, 2007. Variable response of malathion on isoproturon-resistant biotypes of Phalaris minor from Haryana and Punjab. Annals of Plant Protection Sciences, 15(2):537-539. http://www.indianjournals.com/ijor.aspx?target=ijor:apps&type=home
Dotham NF, 1986. Flora of Palestina. Part Four. Jerusalem, Israel: The Israel Academy of Science and Humanities.
Edgecombe WS, 1970. Weeds of Lebanon, 3rd Edition. Beirut, Lebanon: American University of Beirut, 42.
Hooker JD, 1982. Flora of British India. Vol II. Dehra Dun, India: Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh.
Niknam SR; Moerkerk M; Cousens R, 2002. Weed seed contamination in cereal and pulse crops. 13th Australian Weeds Conference: weeds "threats now and forever?", Sheraton Perth Hotel, Perth, Western Australia, 8-13 September 2002: papers and proceedings, 59-62; 3 ref.
Parham BEV; Healy AJ, 1985. Common Weeds in New Zealand. Wellington, New Zealand: P. D. Hasselberg.
Ramesh Verma; Nepalia V; Kumawat SK, 2004. Influence of weed control and sulphur nutrition on weed dynamics and productivity of pea (Pisum sativum L.). Indian Journal of Weed Science, 36(3/4):285-286.
Saini JP; Angiras NN, 2005. Standardization of dose of sulfosulfuron (MON 37503) in controlling weeds of rainfed wheat (Triticum aestivum) under mid-hill conditions of Himachal Pradesh. Indian Journal of Agronomy, 50(1):41-43.
Samunder Singh, 2007. Role of management practices on control of isoproturon-resistant littleseed canarygrass (Phalaris minor) in India. Weed Technology ["Fighting back." Proceedings of the symposium on grass weed resistance.], 21(2):339-346. http://wssa.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1614%2FWT-06-150.1
Shukla V, 1996. Grasses of North-Eastern India. Jodhpur, India: Scientific Publishers.
Sidhu MK, 1991. Biology of Punjab weeds. Mohali, India: Anova Publications, 31-173.
Tutin TG, 1980. Phalaris L. In Tutin TG, Heywood VH, Burges NA, Moore DM, Valentine DH, Walters SM, Webb DA, eds. Flora Europaea, Volume 5. Alismataceae to Orchidaceae Moncotyledones. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Yaduraju NT; Caseley JC; Drennan DSH, 1984. Studies on germination, emergence and growth of Phalaris spp. Proceedings EWRS 3rd Symposium on Mediterranean Weeds, Lisbon, Portugal, 447-454.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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