Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Polypogon monspeliensis
(annual beard grass)

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Datasheet

Polypogon monspeliensis (annual beard grass)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Polypogon monspeliensis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • annual beard grass
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Polypogon monspeliensis is a grass that is native to parts of Europe, Asia and northern Africa, and has been introduced to North and South America, some countries in Africa, Australia, New Zealand and a number...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Polypogon monspeliensis (annual beard grass) plant with flower heads
TitleHabit
CaptionPolypogon monspeliensis (annual beard grass) plant with flower heads
Copyright©Trevor James/Hamilton, New Zealand
Polypogon monspeliensis (annual beard grass) plant with flower heads
HabitPolypogon monspeliensis (annual beard grass) plant with flower heads©Trevor James/Hamilton, New Zealand
Polypogon monspeliensis (annual beard grass) close-up of flower heads
TitleFlower heads
CaptionPolypogon monspeliensis (annual beard grass) close-up of flower heads
Copyright©Trevor James/Hamilton, New Zealand
Polypogon monspeliensis (annual beard grass) close-up of flower heads
Flower headsPolypogon monspeliensis (annual beard grass) close-up of flower heads©Trevor James/Hamilton, New Zealand
Polypogon monspeliensis (annual beard grass); habit, showing back-lit inflorescences and seedheads. Nr runway overrun on Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii. USA. March 2015.
TitleHabit
CaptionPolypogon monspeliensis (annual beard grass); habit, showing back-lit inflorescences and seedheads. Nr runway overrun on Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii. USA. March 2015.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Polypogon monspeliensis (annual beard grass); habit, showing back-lit inflorescences and seedheads. Nr runway overrun on Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii. USA. March 2015.
HabitPolypogon monspeliensis (annual beard grass); habit, showing back-lit inflorescences and seedheads. Nr runway overrun on Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Hawaii. USA. March 2015.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Polypogon monspeliensis (L.) Desf. (1798)

Preferred Common Name

  • annual beard grass

Other Scientific Names

  • Agrostis alopecuroides Lam.
  • Agrostis crinita (Schreb.) Moench
  • Alopecurus aristatus var. monspeliensis (L.) Huds.
  • Alopecurus monspeliensis L. (1753)
  • Phalaris aristata Gouan ex P. Beauv.
  • Phalaris crinita Forssk.
  • Phalaris cristata Forssk
  • Phleum crinitum Schreb
  • Phleum monospliense (L.) Koeler
  • Polypogon crinitus (Schreb.) Nutt
  • Polypogon flavescens J. Presl
  • Polypogon monspeliensis f. argentinus Hack.
  • Polypogon monspeliensis f. nana Stuck.
  • Santia monspeliensis (L.) Parl.

International Common Names

  • English: Montpelier beardgrass
  • Spanish: pajilla; rabo de zorro
  • French: polypogon de Montpellier
  • Chinese: Chang mang bang tou cao
  • Portuguese: rabo-de-zorra-macio

Local Common Names

  • Australia: beard grass
  • India: Lomar ghas
  • USA: annual rabbitsfoot grass; beard grass; rabbitfoot beardgrass; rabbitfoot polypogon; rabbitfoot polypogon; rabbitfootgrass; rabbitsfoot grass; rabbit'sfootgrass; tawny beardgrass

Summary of Invasiveness

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Polypogon monspeliensis is a grass that is native to parts of Europe, Asia and northern Africa, and has been introduced to North and South America, some countries in Africa, Australia, New Zealand and a number of islands. It is considered invasive in parts of its introduced range, such as Australia and the western USA, because it can form dense swards that crowd out native plants and prevent their regeneration (Weber, 2003). It is one of several grasses that invade other vegetation (introduced and native) along waterways, roadsides, grassland, etc., and which displace other species to a greater or lesser extent. It can be an agricultural weed, for example in India where it is considered important.

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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This species was named Alopecurus monspeliensis by Linnaeus in 1753 but given its current name, Polypogon monspeliensis, a few years later. A number of other synonuyms have been applied but none are in current use. The specific name derives from Montpellier in France, which is presumably where it was first collected.

Description

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This description of P. monspeliensis is from Clayton et al. (2012):

HABIT: Annual; culms solitary, or caespitose. Culms erect, or decumbent; 6–80 cm long. Ligule an eciliate membrane; 3–15 mm long. Leaf-blades 5–20 cm long; 2–8 mm wide. Leaf-blade surface scaberulous; rough adaxially, or on both sides.

INFLORESCENCE: Inflorescence a panicle.

Panicle spiciform; oblong, or ovate; continuous, or interrupted; 1.5–16 cm long; 1–3.5 cm wide. Panicle branches scabrous.

Spikelets solitary. Fertile spikelets pedicelled. Pedicels linear; 0.5 mm long; scabrous.

FERTILE SPIKELETS: Spikelets comprising 1 fertile floret; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets oblong; laterally compressed; 2–3 mm long; falling entire. Spikelet callus square; base obtuse.

GLUMES: Glumes similar; exceeding apex of florets; firmer than fertile lemma. Lower glume oblong; 1 length of upper glume; membranous; 1-keeled; keeled above; 1 -veined. Lower glume primary vein scabrous. Lower glume lateral veins absent. Lower glume surface asperulous. Lower glume margins ciliolate. Lower glume apex emarginate; awned; 1 -awned. Lower glume awn 4–7 mm long. Upper glume oblong; 2 length of adjacent fertile lemma; membranous; 1-keeled; keeled above; 1 -veined. Upper glume primary vein scabrous. Upper glume lateral veins absent. Upper glume surface asperulous. Upper glume margins ciliolate. Upper glume apex emarginate; awned; 1 -awned. Upper glume awn 4–7 mm long.

FLORETS: Fertile lemma oblong; 1–1.5 mm long; hyaline; without keel; 5 -veined. Lemma lateral veins obscure. Lemma apex dentate; 4 -fid; muticous, or awned; 1 -awned. Principal lemma awn from a sinus; 0–2 mm long overall. Palea 1 length of lemma; hyaline; 2 -veined.

FLOWER: Anthers 3; 0.3–0.5 mm long.

FRUIT: Caryopsis with adherent pericarp; obovoid. Hilum linear.

Plant Type

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Grass / sedge
Herbaceous
Seed propagated

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

AfghanistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
ArmeniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
AzerbaijanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
ChinaPresentGuertin, 2003; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2012; PIER, 2012
-AnhuiPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-FujianPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-GansuPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-GuangdongPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-HebeiPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-HenanPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-JiangsuPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-Nei MengguPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-NingxiaPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-QinghaiPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-ShaanxiPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-ShandongPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-ShanxiPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-SichuanPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-TibetPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-XinjiangPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-YunnanPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
-ZhejiangPresentFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2012
Georgia (Republic of)PresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
IndiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
-BiharPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-GujaratPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-Himachal PradeshPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-Jammu and KashmirPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-KarnatakaPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-Madhya PradeshPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-MaharashtraPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-ManipurPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-MeghalayaPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-SikkimPresentNativeNoltie, 2000
-Tamil NaduPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-Uttar PradeshPresentNativeShukla, 1996
-West BengalPresentNativeNoltie, 2000
IranPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
IraqPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
IsraelPresentNativeDanin, 2012
JapanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
-HonshuPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
-KyushuPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
-ShikokuPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
JordanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
KazakhstanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
KyrgyzstanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
NepalPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
PakistanPresentNative Invasive Missouri Botanical Garden, 2012Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, N.W.F.P., Gilgit & Kashmir
Sri LankaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
TaiwanPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedeFloras, 2012b
TajikistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
TurkeyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
TurkmenistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
UzbekistanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012

Africa

AlgeriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
BotswanaPresentIntroducedLaunert, 1971
EgyptPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
KenyaPresentNativeCLAYTON, 1970
LibyaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
MauritiusPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2012
MoroccoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
NamibiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2012
RéunionPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2012
Rodriguez IslandPresentIntroducedPIER, 2012
SomaliaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
South AfricaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2012
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
TanzaniaPresentNativeCLAYTON, 1970

North America

CanadaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-AlbertaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-British ColumbiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-ManitobaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-OntarioPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-QuebecPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-SaskatchewanPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-Yukon TerritoryPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
MexicoPresentIntroducedPIER, 2012
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-AlaskaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-ArizonaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-ArkansasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-CaliforniaPresentIntroduced Invasive Guertin, 2003; USDA-NRCS, 2012
-ColoradoPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-ConnecticutPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-DelawarePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-FloridaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2012Occasional in Northern Florida
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Wagner et al., 1999; PIER, 2012
-IdahoPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-KansasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-MainePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-MarylandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-MassachusettsPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-MichiganPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-MinnesotaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-MississippiPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-MontanaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-NebraskaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-NevadaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-New HampshirePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-New JerseyPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-New MexicoPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-New YorkPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-North CarolinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-North DakotaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-OklahomaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-OregonPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-South CarolinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-South DakotaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-TennesseePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-UtahPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-VirginiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-WashingtonPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-WisconsinPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012
-WyomingPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2012

Central America and Caribbean

Costa RicaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2012
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2012

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2012
BoliviaPresentIntroducedeFloras, 2012a
BrazilPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2012
ChilePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2012
EcuadorPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2012
ParaguayPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2012
PeruPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2012
UruguayPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2012

Europe

AlbaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
BelgiumPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedNational Botanic Garden of Belgium, 2012
BulgariaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
CyprusPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
FrancePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
-CorsicaPresentNativeRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2012
GreecePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
ItalyPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
NetherlandsPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedPIER, 2008
PortugalPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
-AzoresPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
-MadeiraPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
RomaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
Russian FederationPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Southern RussiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
SpainPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
-Balearic IslandsPresentNativeRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2012
UKPresentNative Not invasive Hubbard, 1984Rather uncommon generally
UkrainePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
Yugoslavia (former)PresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012
Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)PresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2012

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedQueensland Government, 2012
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedQueensland Government, 2012
-New South WalesPresentIntroducedQueensland Government, 2012
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedQueensland Government, 2012
-South AustraliaPresentIntroducedQueensland Government, 2012
-TasmaniaPresentIntroducedQueensland Government, 2012
-VictoriaPresentIntroduced Invasive Queensland Government, 2012
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive Queensland Government, 2012
New ZealandPresentIntroduced Invasive Edgar and Connor, 2000
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012; USDA-ARS, 2012
US Minor Outlying IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2012Midway Atoll

History of Introduction and Spread

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Polypogon monspeliensis is native to parts of Europe, Asia and northern Africa; it was probably carried to the United States, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere by colonists from Europe as a contaminant of hay, straw bedding, packing materials, agricultural seed, etc., although it may sometimes have been deliberately carried as seed for planting as an ornamental species (Hubbard, 1984).

It was introduced into California by 1848 (Frenke, 1977in Burgess et al., 1991). It was present in Arizona by 1891 (Toumey in Burgess et al., 1991). The first collection of P. monspeliensis was made at the Desert Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona in 1978 (Turner and Goldberg, in Burgess et al., 1991), and it is described as being local and occasional on moist sites (Burgess et al., 1991) (Guertin, 2003).

In New Zealand Thomson (1922) reported that it was first recorded by Kirk in 1877 and that in 1882 Cheeseman reported it from muddy places on the shores of the Manukau and Waitemata harbours, increasing rapidly. Cheeseman (1906) reported it as abundant in that year on roadsides and in waste places in both islands. In Australia, it was first recorded in ‘North Australia’ in 1802, in Tasmania in 1844 (Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2012), and in South Australia in 1851 (Jessop et al., 2006).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Arizona 1891 Hitchhiker (pathway cause) Yes Guertin (2003)
California 1848 Hitchhiker (pathway cause) Yes Guertin (2003)
New Zealand 1877 Hitchhiker (pathway cause) Yes THOMSON (1922) Wellington
South Australia 1851 Hitchhiker (pathway cause) Yes Jessop et al. (2006)

Risk of Introduction

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P. monspeliensis already occurs in many countries but could possibly spread still further in some.

Habitat

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In most places, P. monspeliensis tends to prefer wet or damp areas, often close to creeks or streams, especially close to the coast, where it is tolerant of brackish water.

In Britain, the species is describes as a lowland annual of fairly bare places by the sea, in damp, cattle-trodden grazing marshes, at the edges of dried-up brackish pools and ditches, and in the uppermost parts of saltmarshes. It also occurs around docks and inland as a casual from wool, bird-seed and other sources (Biological Records Centre, 2012). Hubbard (1984) described its occurrence as ‘Rather uncommon generally, though sometimes locally abundant, especially on the bare edges of pools, gullies and ditches in maritime grasslands.’

On the North American continent P. monspeliensis occurs around seeps and springs, in salt marshes, around lakes and ponds, streams, saline waste areas and irrigation ditches, and in damp pastures (Darke and Griffiths 1994, Whitson et al. 1992, both in Burgess et al., 1991). It is frequent on moist soil throughout most of Arizona, occurring in river bottoms, swales, streams, and mountain canyons, at elevations of 100- 8200 ft. (30-2500 m) (Parker, 1972, in Guertin, 2003). It also can be present in irrigated sites, cultivated fields, pastures, ditches, and roadsides (Parker, 1972, in Guertin, 2003). In Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, it can become locally common to abundant in low wet places and waterholes, and along washes during exceptionally wet springs (Felger 1990 in Burgess et al., 1991)

In Australia, the species occurs in disturbed and often damp places, including around brackish water (Jessop et al., 2006).

As noted above, the species appears to be tolerant of brackish water. During trials testing growth of marsh plant species at different levels of salinity (0, 0.25, 0.5, 1.5, 3.5, and 5.0% NaCl), Partridge and Wilson (1987) found that P. monspeliensis displayed a need of 0.5% salinity to attain maximum growth. A range between 0.5-2.0% salinity included the highest rate of growth, although 2.0% salinity was suitable for plants to reach half maximum growth, and the death of most plants occurred at 3.25% salinity. Kuhn (1997), however, noted that P. monspeliensis plants displayed a sharp decline in growth when salinities were greater than 0 g/litre sea salt.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Principal habitat Natural
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Principal habitat Natural
Wetlands Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Wetlands Principal habitat Natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Principal habitat Natural
Freshwater
Irrigation channels Principal habitat Natural
Brackish
Estuaries Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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In places where P. monspeliensis occurs, it is often one of a range of grassland species, although it can form fairly pure swards at times. However, it is regarded as being a special threat to some native species in both Australia and the United States.

Jessop et al. (2006) say that, in Australia, it may threaten native herbs. A fact sheet on the species (Queensland Government, 2012) states that in Victoria, it is seen as a serious threat to one or more vegetation formations, and to the endangered turnip copperburr (Sclerolaena napiformis).

On the sites of vernal pools in the Central Valley of California, USA, P. monspeliensis is named as one of several species threatening several plants considered for 'endangered' or 'threatened' status, specifically Orcuttia inaequalis, Orcuttia pilosa, and Tuctoria greenei (Federal Register 1997, reported in Guertin, 2003).

P. monspeliensis occurs as a minor weed of wheat in Pakistan (Ashiq et al., 2006); it has been recorded as a dominant grass species in wheat in Egypt (Tagour, 2011), and in India, it is regarded as one of several predominant weeds (KrishiSewa.com, 2012).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Triticum aestivum (wheat)PoaceaeOther

Growth Stages

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Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

According to Barkworth (2007), 2n = 14, 28, 35, 42, although elsewhere it is often reported as 2n = 28 or 35.

In Europe, P. monspeliensis hybridizes with Agrostis stolonifera, producing the sterile × Agropogon lutosus, and with P. viridis, forming P. × adscendens Guss. ex Bertol. (Barkworth, 2007).

Reproductive Biology

P. monspeliensis is an annual, C3 graminoid, reproducing by seed (Guertin, 2003). The flowers are hermaphrodite (with both male and female organs) and are pollinated by wind. The seeds can adhere to wool and skin of animals (Ridley, 1930). Carr et al. (1992) also suggested that seed may be spread by animals (attached externally or, possibly, through the gut), water or wind. The species produces over 100 seeds per plant and the seeds remain viable in the soil for 1 to 5 years (NatureServe, 2012).

Physiology and Phenology

Souza et al. (1999) found that rhizosphere bacteria aid in the ability of P. monspeliensis to accumulate selenium (Se) and mercury (Hg) from aquatic systems into its roots and shoots.

Associations

No associations are specifically reported for P. monspeliensis, although it co-exists with several other grasses and other species that grow in similar environments.

Environmental Requirements

In North America, and elsewhere, P. monspeliensis commonly grows in damp to wet, often alkaline soils, particularly in disturbed areas and often near waterways (Barkworth, 2007). As noted in the ‘Notes on Habitat’ section, it can tolerate some salinity, and occurs in brackish water.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
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)

Notes on Natural Enemies

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P. monspeliensis is a grass which appears to be palatable to livestock and is therefore grazed by sheep, cattle and other mammals when they have access to it. It is also, presumably, affected by locally active insect pests wherever it grows. There is no available information on any natural enemies that specifically feed on this species.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

Seeds of P. monspeliensis can be spread by wind or water (Carr et al., 1992).

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

The seeds can also be spread by animals (attached externally or, possibly, through the gut) (Carr et al., 1992).

Accidental Introduction

Since it occurs among other grass species, the species has probably been spread as a contaminant in hay or straw (whether used as animal feed or bedding), in grass seed, etc.

Intentional introduction

Use of the species as an ornamental (Hubbard, 1984) may have contributed to its spread.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Escape from confinement or garden escapeOccasional garden escape Yes Hubbard, 1984
ForageAs contaminant in hay, straw or packing material Yes Yes
HitchhikerAs contaminant in hay, straw or packing material Yes Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Containers and packaging - non-wood Yes
Containers and packaging - wood Yes
Floating vegetation and debris Yes
Livestock Yes Yes
Mulch, straw, baskets and sod Yes
Plants or parts of plantsAs a contaminant in hay, straw, grass seed, etc. Yes Yes
Water Yes
Wind Yes

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
True seeds (inc. grain) seeds Yes

Wood Packaging

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Wood Packaging liable to carry the pest in trade/transportTimber typeUsed as packing
Loose wood packing material No

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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McKay et al. (1993) found that P. monspeliensis can poison livestock in Australia when the seed head is infested with Anguina agrostis nematodes carrying Clavibacter toxicus [Rathayibacter toxicus] producing corynetoxins. These cause incoordination, tremor, convulsions, and sudden death; this is called Stewart Range syndrome or flood plain staggers. However, the disease is mostly caused by infected Lolium rigidum (Riley et al., 2010), which is much more common than P. monspeliensis in Australia.

P. monspeliensis occurs as a minor weed of wheat in Pakistan (Ashiq et al., 2006). It has been recorded as a dominant grass species in wheat in Egypt (Tagour, 2011). In India, it is regarded as one of several predominant weeds (KrishiSewa.com, 2012), and classified as a 'principal' weed by Holm et al. (1979).

Environmental Impact

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Inderjit and Dakshini (1995) demonstrated that allelopathic phenols of straw of P. monspeliensis inhibited root growth of radish and cluster bean, and also shoot growth of radish. They pointed out that this implies that P. monspeliensis does not affect crops (or other plants) growing with it, but only those growing in following seasons on a site where its dried biomass is present.

Impact on Habitats

According to the factsheet on P. monspeliensis in Weeds of Australia (Queensland Government, 2012), the species is regarded as a relatively important environmental weed in Victoria and Western Australia. While not widely regarded as a problem in other states, it commonly invades natural habitats in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

In Victoria, it is seen as a serious threat to one or more vegetation formations (Queensland Government, 2012). For example, it is classified as a high threat weed species in grassy wetland and brackish wetland communities. It also appears on some local and regional environmental weed lists (e.g. in the Goulburn Broken Catchment and in the Mornington Peninsula Shire) and grows in many conservation areas in this state (e.g. in Morwell National Park, Barkindji Biosphere Reserve, Phillip Island Nature Park and Organ Pipes National Park).

In Western Australia it grows in moist areas, along creeks and rivers, and in swamps (Queensland Government, 2012). It is a common weed of disturbed wetlands, both freshwater and brackish, from Kalbarri to Cape Arid, and was ranked as a moderate priority species in the Environmental Weed Strategy of Western Australia. It is particularly troublesome in brackish wetlands and saline areas along rivers in south-western Western Australia.

Impact on Biodiversity

P. monspeliensis is seen as a threat to the endangered turnip copperburr (Sclerolaena napiformis) in Victoria, Australia (Queensland Government, 2012).

According to Guertin (1993), the  Federal Register (1997) points out that on sites of vernal pools in the Central Valley of California, USA, Polypogonmonspeliensis is named as one of several species threatening several plants considered for 'endangered' or 'threatened' status, specifically Orcuttia inaequalis, Orcuttia pilosa, and Tuctoria greenei.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Orcuttia inaequalisNational list(s) National list(s)CaliforniaCompetitionGuertin, 2003
Orcuttia pilosa (hairy Orcutt grass)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesCaliforniaCompetitionGuertin, 2003
Sclerolaena napiformisNational list(s) National list(s)VictoriaCompetitionQueensland Government, 2012
Tuctoria greenei (Greene's tuctoria)National list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesCaliforniaCompetitionGuertin, 2003

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Causes allergic responses
  • Competition

Uses

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Economic value

P. monspeliensis has apparently been used in cut flower arrangements and also as a garden ornamental. It is palatable to livestock and therefore grazed by sheep, cattle and other mammals when they have access to it.

Social benefit

Moerman (2012) indicates its usage among Native Americans to treat heart palpitations, as food or as a lotion to wash a snake figurine before painting it.

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Forage

Environmental

  • Landscape improvement

General

  • Botanical garden/zoo

Detection and Inspection

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P. monspeliensis is easy to detect when flowering; otherwise it is hard to distinguish from other grasses.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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The genus Polypogon is similar to Agrostis, and occasionally hybridizes with it. It differs from Agrostis in having spikelets that disarticulate below the glumes, often at the base of a stipe (Barkworth 2007).

Among other species of Polypogon, P. strictus in South Africa is distinguished by its 3 awns per spikelet, much longer at up to 25 mm long., while in India, P. fugax differs in its much shorter awns, to 5 mm only. In southern Africa P. semiverticillatus has virtually no awns.

Prevention and Control

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Prevention

Modern phytosanitary regulations for international trade ought to prevent further international spread of the species.

Control

Physical/mechanical control

As with most other grasses, digging, pulling, or cultivation will give good control, depending on where the plants occur.

Biological control

No information on biological control has been found in the literature.

Chemical control

P. monspeliensis is probably effectively controlled by most grass-killing herbicides, including glyphosate, fluazifop, haloxyfop, etc.

Tagour et al. (2011) reported improved control of P. monspeliensis in wheat with two different formulations of clodinafop with the addition of nonylphenol polyglycol ether) as an adjuvant.

In India, KrishiSewa.com (2012) recommends pendimethalin as a pre-emergence treatment, sulfosulfuran, metribuzin or a mixture of these for the control of grass and broadleaf weeds, and clodinafop or fenoxaprop for control of grass weeds.

Heap (2012) reports that in Israel P. monspeliensis first evolved resistance to Group C1/5 herbicides in 1979 and infests roadsides; these biotypes are resistant to triazines (atrazine and simazine).

Guertin (2003) lists herbicides effective for control: propanil and metribuzin (Rice, 1992 in Guertin, 2003); chlorimuron -- effective against P monspeliensis in soyabean fields (Singh and Malik, 1993 in Guertin 2003); fluazifop -- observed to control P. monspeliensis in onion crops (Watkins and Hargrave, 1984 in Guertin, 2003); and oxyfluorfen.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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More information on the environmental and economic impacts of P. monspeliensis would be useful. Little is known of its agronomic value, whether it is a productive grass, how readily it is grazed, etc. Nor is anything known about its adverse effects on more valuable species in pastures or in other areas where it occurs.

References

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Ashiq M; Muhammad N; Ahmad N, 2006. Comparative efficacy of different herbicides to control grassy weeds in wheat. Pakistan Journal of Weed Science Research, 12(3):157-161.

Barkworth ME, 2007. Polypogon. Flora of North America vol. 24 [ed. by Barkworth, M. E. \Capels, K. M. \Long, S. \Anderton, L. K. \Piep, M. B.]. http://herbarium.usu.edu/webmanual

Biological Records Centre, 2012. Online Atlas of the British and Irish flora. Wallingford, UK: Biological Records Centre. http://www.brc.ac.uk/plantatlas/

Burgess TL; Bowers JE; Turner RM, 1991. Exotic plants at the desert laboratory, Tucson, Arizona. Madroño, 38(2):96-114.

Carr GW; Yugovic JV; Robinson KE, 1992. Environmental Weed Invasions in Victoria: Conservation and Management Implications. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: Department of Conservation and Environment, 78 pp.

Cheeseman TF, 1906. Manual of the New Zealand flora. Wellington, New Zealand: J. Mackay, Govt. Printer, 1199 pp.

Clayton WD, 1970. Flora of tropical East Africa. Gramineae (Part 1). London: Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, 176 pp.

Clayton WD; Vorontsova MS; Harman KT; Williamson H, 2012. GrassBase - The Online World Grass Flora. London, UK: The Board of Trustees, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://www.kew.org/data/grasses-db.html

Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2012. Australia's Virtual Herbarium. http://avh.ala.org.au/

Danin A, 2012. Flora of Israel online. Jerusalem, Israel: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. http://flora.huji.ac.il/browse.asp

Edgar E; Connor HE, 2000. Flora of New Zealand. Volume V: Grasses. Lincoln, New Zealand: Manaaki Whenua Press, 650 pp.

eFloras, 2012. Bolivia checklist. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=40

eFloras, 2012. Flora of Taiwan checklist. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=101

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2012. Flora of China Web. Cambridge, USA: Harvard University Herbaria. http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/

Guertin P, 2003. Factsheet for: Polypogon monspeliensis (L.) Desf. (USGS Weeds in the West project: Status of Introduced Plants in Southern Arizona Parks). Tucson, Arizona, USA: U.S. Geological Survey / Southwest Biological Science Center, 23 pp. http://sdrsnet.srnr.arizona.edu/data/sdrs/ww/docs/polymons.pdf

Heap I, 2012. International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds. http://www.weedscience.org/In.asp

Holm LG; Pancho JV; Herberger JP; Plucknett DL, 1979. A geographical atlas of world weeds. New York, USA: John Wiley and Sons, 391 pp.

Hubbard CE, 1984. Grasses: A Guide to their Structure, Identification, Uses and Distribution in the British Isles. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, UK: Penguin Books Limited, 476 pp.

Inderjit; Dakshini KMM, 1995. Allelopathic potential of an annual weed, Polypogon monspeliensis, in crops in India. Plant and Soil, 173(2):251-257.

ITIS, 2013. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution/NMNH. http://www.itis.gov/

Jessop J; Dashorst GRM; James FM, 2006. Grasses of South Australia. Kent Town, South Australia, Australia: Wakefield Press, 554 pp.

KrishiSewa.com, 2012. Weeds in Wheat. http://www.krishisewa.com/cms/articles/crop-protection/215-wheat-weeds.html

Kuhn N, 1997. Differential effects of salinity and soil saturation on native and exotic plants of a coastal salt marsh. Estuaries, 20(2):391-403.

Launert E, 1971. Flora Zambesiaca vol. 10 part 1. http://apps.kew.org/efloras/search.do

McKay AC; Ophel KM; Reardon TB; Gooden JM, 1993. Livestock deaths associated with Clavibacter toxicus/Anguina sp. infection in seedheads of Agrostis avenacea and Polypogon monspeliensis. Plant Disease, 77(6):635-641.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2012. Flora of Pakistan. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/projectwebportal.aspx?pagename=Home&projectid=32

Moerman D, 2013. Native American Ethnobotany. Dearborn, Michigan, USA: University of Michigan-Dearborn. http://herb.umd.umich.edu/

National Botanic Garden of Belgium, 2012. Manual of the Alien Plants of Belgium. http://alienplantsbelgium

NatureServe, 2012. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life. Arlington, Virginia, USA: NatureServe. http://www.natureserve.org/

Noltie HJ, 2000. Flora of Bhutan, Vol. 3, Part 2. Edinburgh, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh.

Partridge TR; Wilson JB, 1987. Salt tolerance of salt marsh plants of Otago, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 25(4):559-566.

PIER, 2008. Polypogon monspeliensis: risk assessment results. http://www.hear.org/pier/wra/pacific/polypogon_monspeliensis_htmlwra

PIER, 2012. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

Queensland Government, 2012. Weeds of Australia. Biosecurity Queensland Edition. Australia: The University of Queensland. http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/

Ridley HN, 1930. The Dispersal of Plants Throughout the World. Ashford, Kent, UK: Reeve and Co, 744 pp.

Riley I; Agarkova I; Alderman S; Bulluck R; Divan C; Carlson M; Schaad N; Wenbin T; Vidaver A, 2010. Recovery Plan for Rathayibacter poisoning caused by Rathayibacter toxicus (syn. Clavibacter toxicus)., USA: USDA, 26 pp. http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/00000000/opmp/RathayibacterPoisoningFeb2010.pdf

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2013. Flora Europaea, Database of European Plants (ESFEDS). Edinburgh, UK: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. http://rbg-web2.rbge.org.uk/FE/fe.html

Shukla U, 1996. The grasses of north-eastern India. Jodhpur, India: Scientific Publishers, 404 pp.

Souza MP de; Huang CPA; Chee N; Terry N, 1999. Rhizosphere bacteria enhance the accumulation of selenium and mercury in wetland plants. Planta, 209(2):259-263.

Tagour; RMH; Abd El-Hamed EL-Metwally GMIM, 2011. Improving herbicides efficacy of Topik and Traxos on wheat plants and associated weeds by adjuvants Arkopal. Nature and Science, 9(11):176-183. http://www.sciencepub.net/nature/ns0911/021_7276ns0911_176_183.pdf

Thomson GM, 1922. The naturalisation of animals & plants in New Zealand. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 607 pp.

USDA-ARS, 2012. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2012. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/

Wagner WL; Herbst DR; Sohmer SH, 1999. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawaii, Revised ed. Honolulu, USA: University of Hawaii Press.

Weber E, 2003. Invasive plant species of the world: A reference guide to environmental weeds. Wallingford, UK: CAB International, 548 pp.

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Pier (Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk)http://www.hear.org/pier/species/polypogon_monspeliensis.htm

Organizations

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USA: USDA-ARS, 2012. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), 10300 Baltimore Blvd. Room 330, Bldg. 003, BARC-West Beltsville,, MD 20705, http://www.ars-grin.gov/

Contributors

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28/10/2012 Original text by:

Ian Popay, consultant, New Zealand, with the support of Landcare Research.

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