Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Agrostis avenacea
(Pacific bent grass)

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Datasheet

Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Agrostis avenacea
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Pacific bent grass
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • A. avenacea is an annual grass native to Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific Islands and has been introduced to the west coast of North, Central and South America, South Africa and parts of Europe. A. ...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. Ballimore, New South Wales, Australia. October 2015.
TitleHabit
CaptionAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. Ballimore, New South Wales, Australia. October 2015.
Copyright©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. Ballimore, New South Wales, Australia. October 2015.
HabitAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. Ballimore, New South Wales, Australia. October 2015.©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. Ballimore, New South Wales, Australia. October 2015.
TitleHabit
CaptionAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. Ballimore, New South Wales, Australia. October 2015.
Copyright©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. Ballimore, New South Wales, Australia. October 2015.
HabitAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. Ballimore, New South Wales, Australia. October 2015.©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. In it's native habitat, a cool-season, annual or perennial, erect, slender and tufted grass up to 70 cm tall. Found in wetter areas where there is reduced ground cover (e.g. drainage lines and swamp edges) as it has low drought tolerance and competitiveness. Eaten by stock, but produces little feed. New South Wales, Australia. November 2006.
TitleHabit
CaptionAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. In it's native habitat, a cool-season, annual or perennial, erect, slender and tufted grass up to 70 cm tall. Found in wetter areas where there is reduced ground cover (e.g. drainage lines and swamp edges) as it has low drought tolerance and competitiveness. Eaten by stock, but produces little feed. New South Wales, Australia. November 2006.
Copyright©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. In it's native habitat, a cool-season, annual or perennial, erect, slender and tufted grass up to 70 cm tall. Found in wetter areas where there is reduced ground cover (e.g. drainage lines and swamp edges) as it has low drought tolerance and competitiveness. Eaten by stock, but produces little feed. New South Wales, Australia. November 2006.
HabitAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. In it's native habitat, a cool-season, annual or perennial, erect, slender and tufted grass up to 70 cm tall. Found in wetter areas where there is reduced ground cover (e.g. drainage lines and swamp edges) as it has low drought tolerance and competitiveness. Eaten by stock, but produces little feed. New South Wales, Australia. November 2006.©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. New South Wales, Australia. September 2012.
TitleHabit
CaptionAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. New South Wales, Australia. September 2012.
Copyright©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. New South Wales, Australia. September 2012.
HabitAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); habit. New South Wales, Australia. September 2012.©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); flowerheads are open panicles; 9-30 cm long, spreading or drooping and with delicate branches. It becomes straw-coloured and brittle with age, easily breaking off and blown by wind. New South Wales, Australia. November 2006.
TitleFlowerheads
CaptionAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); flowerheads are open panicles; 9-30 cm long, spreading or drooping and with delicate branches. It becomes straw-coloured and brittle with age, easily breaking off and blown by wind. New South Wales, Australia. November 2006.
Copyright©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); flowerheads are open panicles; 9-30 cm long, spreading or drooping and with delicate branches. It becomes straw-coloured and brittle with age, easily breaking off and blown by wind. New South Wales, Australia. November 2006.
FlowerheadsAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); flowerheads are open panicles; 9-30 cm long, spreading or drooping and with delicate branches. It becomes straw-coloured and brittle with age, easily breaking off and blown by wind. New South Wales, Australia. November 2006.©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); flowerheads are open panicles; 9-30 cm long, spreading or drooping and with delicate branches. It becomes straw-coloured and brittle with age, easily breaking off and blown by wind. New South Wales, Australia. September 2012.
TitleFlowerheads
CaptionAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); flowerheads are open panicles; 9-30 cm long, spreading or drooping and with delicate branches. It becomes straw-coloured and brittle with age, easily breaking off and blown by wind. New South Wales, Australia. September 2012.
Copyright©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); flowerheads are open panicles; 9-30 cm long, spreading or drooping and with delicate branches. It becomes straw-coloured and brittle with age, easily breaking off and blown by wind. New South Wales, Australia. September 2012.
FlowerheadsAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); flowerheads are open panicles; 9-30 cm long, spreading or drooping and with delicate branches. It becomes straw-coloured and brittle with age, easily breaking off and blown by wind. New South Wales, Australia. September 2012.©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via flickr - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); flowerheads are open panicles; 9-30 cm long, spreading or drooping and with delicate branches. It becomes straw-coloured and brittle with age, easily breaking off and blown by wind. New South Wales, Australia. November 2006.
TitleFlowerheads
CaptionAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); flowerheads are open panicles; 9-30 cm long, spreading or drooping and with delicate branches. It becomes straw-coloured and brittle with age, easily breaking off and blown by wind. New South Wales, Australia. November 2006.
Copyright©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); flowerheads are open panicles; 9-30 cm long, spreading or drooping and with delicate branches. It becomes straw-coloured and brittle with age, easily breaking off and blown by wind. New South Wales, Australia. November 2006.
FlowerheadsAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); flowerheads are open panicles; 9-30 cm long, spreading or drooping and with delicate branches. It becomes straw-coloured and brittle with age, easily breaking off and blown by wind. New South Wales, Australia. November 2006.©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of spikelet, which are 2-4 mm long, flattened, single-flowered and usually held close to the branches. Lemma is hairy, with a twisted awn arising from its back. New South Wales, Australa. September 2012.
TitleSpikelet
CaptionAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of spikelet, which are 2-4 mm long, flattened, single-flowered and usually held close to the branches. Lemma is hairy, with a twisted awn arising from its back. New South Wales, Australa. September 2012.
Copyright©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of spikelet, which are 2-4 mm long, flattened, single-flowered and usually held close to the branches. Lemma is hairy, with a twisted awn arising from its back. New South Wales, Australa. September 2012.
SpikeletAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of spikelet, which are 2-4 mm long, flattened, single-flowered and usually held close to the branches. Lemma is hairy, with a twisted awn arising from its back. New South Wales, Australa. September 2012.©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of a single spikelet.Spikelets are 2-4 mm long, flattened, 1-flowered and usually close to the branches. Lemma is hairy, with a twisted awn arising from its back. New South wales, Australia. December 2012.
TitleSingle spikelet
CaptionAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of a single spikelet.Spikelets are 2-4 mm long, flattened, 1-flowered and usually close to the branches. Lemma is hairy, with a twisted awn arising from its back. New South wales, Australia. December 2012.
Copyright©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of a single spikelet.Spikelets are 2-4 mm long, flattened, 1-flowered and usually close to the branches. Lemma is hairy, with a twisted awn arising from its back. New South wales, Australia. December 2012.
Single spikeletAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of a single spikelet.Spikelets are 2-4 mm long, flattened, 1-flowered and usually close to the branches. Lemma is hairy, with a twisted awn arising from its back. New South wales, Australia. December 2012.©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of  node, which are hairless and not strongly coloured. New South weales, Australia. January 2005.
TitleNode
CaptionAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of node, which are hairless and not strongly coloured. New South weales, Australia. January 2005.
Copyright©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of  node, which are hairless and not strongly coloured. New South weales, Australia. January 2005.
NodeAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of node, which are hairless and not strongly coloured. New South weales, Australia. January 2005.©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); ligule, membranous and to 3.5 mm long.
TitleLigule
CaptionAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); ligule, membranous and to 3.5 mm long.
Copyright©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); ligule, membranous and to 3.5 mm long.
LiguleAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); ligule, membranous and to 3.5 mm long.©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of  ligule, membranous and to 3.5 mm long. Australia. January 2005
TitleLigule
CaptionAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of ligule, membranous and to 3.5 mm long. Australia. January 2005
Copyright©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0
Agrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of  ligule, membranous and to 3.5 mm long. Australia. January 2005
LiguleAgrostis avenacea (Pacific bent grass); close-up of ligule, membranous and to 3.5 mm long. Australia. January 2005©Harry Rose/'Macleay Grass Man'/via wikipedia - CC BY 2.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Agrostis avenacea J. F. Gmel.

Preferred Common Name

  • Pacific bent grass

Other Scientific Names

  • Agrostis avenacea var. avenacea
  • Agrostis avenacea var. perennis Vickery
  • Agrostis chamissonis (Trin.) Trin.
  • Agrostis debilis Poir.
  • Agrostis lasiantha Phil.
  • Agrostis leonii Parodi
  • Agrostis ligulata Steud.
  • Agrostis retrofracta Willd.
  • Avena filiformis G.Forst.
  • Calamagrostis avenacea (J.F.Gmel.) W.R.B.Oliv.
  • Calamagrostis chamissonis (Trin.) Steud.
  • Calamagrostis retrofracta (Willd.) Link
  • Calamagrostis retrofracta (Willd.) Link ex Steud.
  • Deyeuxia chamissonis (Trin.) Kunth
  • Deyeuxia filiformis var. aristata (Benth.) Domin
  • Deyeuxia filiformis var. laeviglumis (Benth.) Domin
  • Deyeuxia forsteri (Steud.) Kunth
  • Deyeuxia forsteri var. aristata Benth.
  • Deyeuxia forsteri var. laeviglumis Benth.
  • Deyeuxia retrofracta (Willd.) Kunth
  • Lachnagrostis avenacea (J.F.Gmel.) Veldkamp
  • Lachnagrostis chamissonis Trin.
  • Lachnagrostis filiformis (J.R.Forst.) Trin.
  • Lachnagrostis retrofracta (Willd.) Trin.
  • Vilfa debilis (Poir.) P.Beauv.
  • Vilfa retrofracta (Willd.) P.Beauv.

International Common Names

  • English: blown-grass; common blown grass; fairy grass; New Zealand wind grass

Summary of Invasiveness

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A. avenacea is an annual grass native to Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific Islands and has been introduced to the west coast of North, Central and South America, South Africa and parts of Europe. A. avenacea has been recorded as a nuisance species when it occurs in large populations. The mature inflorescences become detached and may be blown by the wind, massing against fences, in farm sheds, houses and gardens, and blocking ventilation ducts. In its native range of Australia, A. avenacea has been reported in local news to be a fire hazard and can interfere with trains. It is particularly invasive in California, where it is a designated noxious weed (Cal-IPC, 2016) and has caused biodiversity loss in sensitive pool ecosystems.

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Although this species is perhaps most widely known as Agrostis avenacea and this is the name accepted by The Plant List (2016) and USDA-ARS (2016) other sources including Euro+Med (2016), Kew GrassBase (Clayton et al., 2006) and Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria(2016) now use Lachnagrostis filiformis.

Description

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The following description is taken from Victorian Resources Online (2015), USDA-NRCS (2015) and Clayton et al. (2006):

A. avenacea is a variable annual to perennial, caespitose grass. Culms erect, or geniculately ascending; 15–70 cm long; 4-noded. Culm-nodes brown; glabrous. Leaves mostly basal. Leaf-sheaths scaberulous; glabrous on surface. Ligule an eciliate membrane; 2–3.5 mm long. Leaf-blades flat; 8–25 cm long; 2–3 mm wide. Leaf-blade apex acuminate. Inflorescence a panicle; deciduous as a whole. Peduncle antrorsely scabrous above; fracturing. Panicle open; obovate; effuse; 10–20 cm long; with spikelets clustered towards branch tips. Primary panicle branches drooping; whorled at most nodes. Spikelets solitary. Fertile spikelets pedicelled. Pedicels 1–5 mm long, comprising 1 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets cuneate; laterally compressed; 2.5 mm long; breaking up at maturity; disarticulating below each fertile floret. Floret callus glabrous.

Glumes persistent; similar; exceeding apex of florets; firmer than fertile lemma; shiny; gaping. Lower glume lanceolate; 2.3 mm long; 0.9 length of upper glume; membranous; 1-keeled; 1 -veined. Lower glume primary vein scabrous. Lower glume lateral veins absent. Lower glume apex acute. Upper glume lanceolate; 2.5 mm long; 1.4 length of adjacent fertile lemma; membranous; 1-keeled; 1 -veined. Upper glume primary vein scabrous. Upper glume lateral veins absent. Upper glume apex acute.

Florets: Fertile lemma oblong; 1.8 mm long; hyaline; without keel; 5-veined. Lemma surface pubescent. Lemma apex dentate; 4-fid; truncate; awned. Principal lemma awn dorsal; arising 0.75 way up back of lemma; geniculate; 4 mm long overall; with twisted column. Palea 0.75 length of lemma; hyaline; 2 -veined. Flowers lodicules 2; membranous. Anthers 3; 0.2 mm long. Fruit a caryopsis 1-1.5 mm long with adherent pericarp. Hilum linear. Endosperm farinose. 

Plant Type

Top of page Annual
Grass / sedge
Perennial

Distribution

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A. avenacea is native to Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific Islands. It has been introduced to parts of Europe, North, Central and South America and to South Africa.

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

JapanPresentIntroducedInvasive Species of Japan, 2016
TaiwanLocalisedIntroducedJung et al., 2006

Africa

South AfricaLocalisedIntroducedGBIF, 2015Identified by specimens.

North America

MexicoPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2015
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-CaliforniaPresentIntroduced Invasive Zedler and Black, 2004; Victorian Resources Online, 2015The present abundance and historical spread of A. avenacea is documented for California, USA, and for the vernal pools of San Diego County.
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2015
-OhioPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-South CarolinaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
-TexasPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015

Central America and Caribbean

Costa RicaLocalisedIntroducedGBIF, 2015First identified in 1996. Last officially identified in 2003.

South America

ArgentinaLocalisedIntroducedGBIF, 2015Identified via specimens.
ChilePresentFinot et al., 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015; Global Species, 2016Easter Island

Europe

BelgiumLocalisedIntroducedEuro+Med, 2016
GermanyLocalisedIntroducedEuro+Med, 2016
NetherlandsLocalisedIntroducedEuro+Med, 2016
SwitzerlandLocalisedIntroducedEuro+Med, 2016
UKLocalisedIntroducedGBIF, 2015

Oceania

AustraliaPresentNativeVictorian Resources Online, 2015
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentNativeVictorian Resources Online, 2015
-New South WalesPresentNativeVictorian Resources Online, 2015
-QueenslandPresentNativeGriffiths et al., 1974; Victorian Resources Online, 2015
-South AustraliaPresentNativeVictorian Resources Online, 2015
-TasmaniaPresentNativeVictorian Resources Online, 2015
-VictoriaPresentNativeVictorian Resources Online, 2015
-Western AustraliaPresentNativeVictorian Resources Online, 2015
New ZealandPresentNativeVictorian Resources Online, 2015
Norfolk IslandPresentNativeGlobal Species, 2016
Papua New GuineaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015

History of Introduction and Spread

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There is little information available with regards to the introduction of A. avenacea. It was first reported in Mexico in 2002 (Nava-Rojo et al., 2002). The first specimens recorded by GBIF (2016) are 1895 for USA, 1920 for South Africa, 1958 for UK, 1962 for Argentina, 1985 for Japan and 1917 for Easter Island (Chile). In California it was first collected in 1987 in San Diego County where it has since become problematic (Zedler, 2004).

Habitat

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In Australia A. avenacea has been reported to grow in a wide variety of habitats, from those with soils that are well drained, with dry surface conditions, through to moist flood plain soils, those that are seasonally inundated or tidal and those that have damp surface conditions with fluctuating water-tables e.g. drainage lines, river and creek flats and seasonal swamps (Victorian Resources Online, 2015). It occupies a similarly wide range of ecologies in California (Cal-IPC, 2016). In its invasive range of California, A. avenacea is generally distributed among the damper of soils and drainage channels, especially around ponds and pools (Zedler and Black, 2004). In Papua New Guinea it occurs on mountains up to 2600 m (Davidson et al., 1991/1992).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Littoral
Mud flats Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Salt marshes Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Freshwater
Irrigation channels Present, no further details Natural
Lakes Principal habitat Natural
Reservoirs Present, no further details Natural
Rivers / streams Principal habitat Natural
Ponds Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Spies et al. (1996) record a chromosome number of n = 4x = 28. A. avenacea is reported to be quite highly variable genetically with a Shannon information index of 0.1389 (James et al., 2000).

Reproduction

A. avenacea reproduces by producing seed. Germination of seed is favoured by alternating temperatures and is highest at 15/20°C and much reduced at constant 25°C. Light daily for 12 hours generally increases germination but not consistently (Gosney et al., 2006).

Physiology 

A. avenacea has C3 photosynthesis and is more resistant to low temperatures than C4 grasses at similar altitudes in Papua New Guinea (Earnshaw et al., 1990).

A. avenacea usually behaves as an annual but may sometimes perennate (Victoria Online Resources, 2015). When the inflorescences mature and are shedding their seeds, they break off and behave as ‘tumbleweeds’ in the wind. A. avenacea can be associated with vesicular arbuscular (VA) mycorrhizae (Khan, 1978).

Environmental Requirements

Gosney et al. (2006) report that in Victoria, Australia A. avenacea is particularly associated with soils of high salinity (ECe = 8–16) and is less common at lower salinities. Brown and James (2016) indicate tolerance of salinity 1.2 EC, dS/m.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Df - Continental climate, wet all year Tolerated Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)
Ds - Continental climate with dry summer Tolerated Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)
Dw - Continental climate with dry winter Tolerated Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • impeded
  • seasonally waterlogged

Special soil tolerances

  • saline

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Anguina paludicola Herbivore
Brachaspis nivalis Herbivore
Paprides nitidus Herbivore
Sigaus australis Herbivore

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Natural enemies of A. avenacea include Brachaspis nivalis, Paprides nitidus, Sigaus australis and the nematode Anguina paludicola (Global Species, 2016).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

Seeds and vegetative fragments of A. avenacea can be transported over short distances by the wind.

Accidental Introduction

It is possible for seeds and fragments of A. avenacea to be accidentally transported to new locations along railways.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
HitchhikerOn land transport, but particularly via railway. Yes Yes Victorian Resources Online, 2015
Landscape improvementIntroduced to areas outside its native range initially for landscape improvements. Yes Victorian Resources Online, 2015

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Land vehiclesSeeds can be transported long distances, especially via railway. Yes Yes Victorian Resources Online, 2015
WindSeeds and vegetative parts. Yes Victorian Resources Online, 2015

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Economic/livelihood Negative
Environment (generally) Negative
Native flora Negative
Transport/travel Negative

Economic Impact

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A. avenacea is a minor pest of cotton production in Australia and it is easily controlled with many of the herbicides commonly used in cotton. However, the heads can be a significant contaminant in cotton lint, leading to downgrading of the fibre when large numbers of heads are blown onto crops from surrounding pastures following summer rains (CottonInfo, 2014).

In Australia, A. avenacea also has impacts on agricultural infrastructure, with the loose vegetation blocking ventilation and pipes, and being blown and collecting along fences. A. avenacea has also caused issues, together with millipedes, along railroads where the blown material can cover the track and circuits that are activated as a train passes over them, and also be transported across great distances by the trains (Carey, 2012). 

A. avenacea can be responsible for the development of ‘floopdplain staggers’ in cattle, sheep, pigs and horses, when it is infected with the bacterium Rathayibacter toxicus (= Claviceps toxicus) leading to tunicaminyluracil toxicosis (Bourke et al., 1992; McKay et al., 1993; Davidson, 1991/1992). In New South Wales, over a period of 18 months 1722 cattle, 2466 sheep and 11 horses died on 31 farms (Davis et al., 1995). The bacteria are transmitted by a seed-gall nematode Anguina species. 

Environmental Impact

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A. avenacea is designated as a noxious weed within the state of California, USA where it is a weed of sensitive vernal pool ecosystems around San Diego and has since caused a loss in biodiversity (Zedler and Black, 2004). Specifically, A. avenacea is among several exotic grasses which can overtake pools and decrease the number of days of inundation following rain events so pools no longer provide suitable habitat for the San Diego fairy shrimp, Branchinecta sandiegonensis (BIOS, 2016).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Orcuttia californica (California Orcutt grass)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesCaliforniaCompetition - stranglingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011
Orcuttia pilosa (hairy Orcutt grass)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesCaliforniaCompetition - stranglingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009
Pogogyne nudiuscula (Otay Mesa mint)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesCaliforniaCompetition - stranglingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010

Social Impact

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When large quantities of plant material of A. avenacea get blown against fence-lines it creates a serious fire hazard around domestic properties.

According to Global Species (2016)A. avenacea is highly allergenic.

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
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of fire regime
  • Modification of hydrology
  • Modification of natural benthic communities
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts cultural/traditional practices
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Reduced amenity values
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Soil accretion
  • Transportation disruption
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - strangling
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field

Uses

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In its native range, A. avenacea has been used for animal feeds, and is regularly contained within hay and silage. However, there have been livestock deaths associated with Rathayibacter toxicus/Anguina sp. infection in the seedheads of A. avenacea. Additionally, A. avenacea-derived tunicaminyluracil toxicosis of cattle in northern New South Wales has been reported (Bourke et al., 1992; McKay et al., 1993).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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In areas where it is introduced, A. avenacea can be distinguished from most other species in the genus by its long effuse panicle, pubescent lemmas, columnate awns and well developed paleas. In Australia the native species Lachnagrostis deflexa. could confused with A. avencea but Victorian Resources Online (2015) provide a useful key showing that A. avenacea (referred to as L. filiformis) differs in having flat rather than inrolled and sharply folded leaves and lacks the long awn-like bristle which occurs in L. deflexa.

Prevention and Control

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Control

Physical/Mechanical Control

Warnock et al. (2012) report that slashing grazing and burning could all be effective in the short term control of A. avenacea but did not prevent re-establishment in the following season. Werner (2102) reports that caution is needed in the use of fire which may get out of control and/or destroy desirable species.

Chemical Control

Glyphosate has been used successfully in Australia to control A. avenacea (Warnock et al., 2008) but there is rapid re-establishment from seed in the following year (Warnock et al., 2012). According to CottonInfo (2014) A. avenacea can be treated with herbicides used to control cotton.

IPM

A combination of late-season glyphosate herbicide, late-season slashing and seed broadcasting of two native species to reduce A. avenacea inflorescence biomass through competition is recommended (Warnock et al., 2008).

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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26/06/2016 Updated by:

Chris Parker, Consultant, UK

22/06/15 Original text by: 

Philip D. Roberts, CABI, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK.

Distribution Maps

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