Cookies on Invasive Species Compendium

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.

 

Continuing to use www.cabi.org  means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

Datasheet

Urochloa mutica (para grass)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 03 January 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Urochloa mutica
  • Preferred Common Name
  • para grass
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae

Don't need the entire report?

Generate a print friendly version containing only the sections you need.

Generate report

Pictures

Top of page
PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Growth habit.
TitleHabit
CaptionGrowth habit.
CopyrightSheldon Navie
Growth habit.
HabitGrowth habit.Sheldon Navie
Growth habit at water's edge.
TitleHabit
CaptionGrowth habit at water's edge.
CopyrightSheldon Navie
Growth habit at water's edge.
HabitGrowth habit at water's edge.Sheldon Navie
Seed head.
TitleSeed head
CaptionSeed head.
CopyrightSheldon Navie
Seed head.
Seed headSeed head.Sheldon Navie
Leaf and stem, note profuse hairs.
TitleStem
CaptionLeaf and stem, note profuse hairs.
CopyrightSheldon Navie
Leaf and stem, note profuse hairs.
StemLeaf and stem, note profuse hairs.Sheldon Navie
Leaf and stem.
TitleStem
CaptionLeaf and stem.
CopyrightSheldon Navie
Leaf and stem.
StemLeaf and stem.Sheldon Navie

Identity

Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Urochloa mutica (Forssk.) T.Q.Nguyen

Preferred Common Name

  • para grass

Other Scientific Names

  • Brachiaria mutica (Forssk.) Stapf
  • Brachiaria numidiana (Lam.) Henrard
  • Brachiaria purpurascens (Raddi) Henr.
  • Panicum amphibium Steud.
  • Panicum barbinode Trin.
  • Panicum equinum Salzm. ex Steud.
  • Panicum limnaeum Steud.
  • Panicum muticum Forssk.
  • Panicum numidianum Lam.
  • Panicum pictigluma Steud.
  • Panicum punctulatum Arn. ex Steud.
  • Panicum purpurascens Raddi

International Common Names

  • English: buffalo grass; California grass; Carib grass; Mauritius grass; para grass; Scotch grass; tall panicum; water grass
  • Spanish: gramalote; hierba de para; hierba para; malojilla; papare; parana; pasto para; Zacate para
  • French: herbe borer; herbe de Para
  • Portuguese: capim-de-Angola

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: angolinha; bengo; braquiária; capim-angola; capim-bengo; capim-branco; capim-das-ilhas; capim-de-cavalo; capim-de-corte; capim-de-lastro; capim-de-pará; capim-de-planta; capim-do-Pará; capim-fino; capim-planta; egipto; erva-do-pará; vapim-fino
  • Germany: Paragras
  • Indonesia: rumput melela
  • Mexico: zacate para
  • Puerto Rico: malojillo; yerba pará

EPPO code

  • PANPU (Brachiaria mutica)

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Monocotyledonae
  •                     Order: Cyperales
  •                         Family: Poaceae
  •                             Genus: Urochloa
  •                                 Species: Urochloa mutica

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page

The grass species U. mutica was first described as Panicum muticum by Forsskal in 1775. It was moved to the genus Brachiaria in 1919 by Otto Stapf. The current name U. mutica was published in 1966. The genus Urochloa is paleotropical and includes 12 species native mainly to the African savannas (Torres-Gonzalez and Morton, 2005).

The weaknesses of the characters used to separate Brachiaria from Urochloa (i.e., spikelet orientation and presence or absence of an upper floret) have been discussed by several authors including Webster (1987, 1988) and Morrone and Zuloaga (1992, 1993). Consequently, floristic studies conducted in Australia (Webster, 1987), North America (Webster, 1988; Zuloaga and Morrone, 2003), South America, Mexico and Central America (Morrone and Zuloaga, 1992, 1993) have circumscribed species of Brachiaria into Urochloa. On the other hand, Sharp and Simon (2002) maintain the name Brachiaria for all species that occur in Australia and the annual species of Brachiaria are now included in the new genus Moorochloa (Veldkamp, 2004). The taxonomic positions of these genera still remain unclear.

Description

Top of page

U. mutica is a perennial; stoloniferous grass. Culms to 5 m long, long-decumbent and rooting at the lower nodes, vertical portion 90-200 (300) cm; nodes villous. Lower sheaths with papillose-based hairs, margins ciliate; collars pubescent; ligules 1-1.5 mm; blades 7.5-35 cm long, 4-20 mm wide, glabrous or sparsely pilose on both surfaces, margins scabrous. Panicles 10-25 cm long, 5-10 cm wide, pyramidal, with 10-30 spikelike branches in more than 2 ranks; primary branches 2.5-8 cm long, 0.4-0.9 mm wide, ascending to divergent, axes flat, glabrous or with a few papillose-based hairs, secondary branches present or absent; pedicels shorter than the spikelets, scabrous, sometimes with hairs. Spikelets 2.6-3.5 mm long, 1-1.4 mm wide, mostly in pairs, in 2-4 rows, appressed to the branches, purplish to green. Glumes scarcely separate, lower glumes 0.6-1.1 mm, 1/5-1/3 as long as the spikelets, glabrous, 0-1(3)-veined; upper glumes 2.6-3.5 mm, glabrous, 5-(7)-veined, without cross venation; lower florets staminate; lower lemmas 2.6-3.3 mm, glabrous, 5-veined, without cross venation; upper lemmas 2.3-2.8 mm long, 1-1.3 mm wide, apices rounded, mucronate; anthers 1-1.5 mm. Caryopses 1.8-2 mm long (Barkworth et al., 2003).

Plant Type

Top of page Grass / sedge
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

Top of page

U. mutica is native to tropical areas of western and northern Africa (Parsons 1972) including areas from the Sahara to Angola, northern Africa to Syria, and the Southwestern Arabian Peninsula (Clayton et al., 2014). It is now also widely distributed in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, South America and the West Indies (for details see Distribution Table).

Distribution Table

Top 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/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

BangladeshPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
CambodiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1977
ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Hong KongPresentIntroducedWu, 2001
IndiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-AssamPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-JavaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-SulawesiPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
-SumatraPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
IsraelPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
JapanPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2014
LaosPresentWaterhouse, 1993
LebanonPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
MalaysiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1977
MyanmarPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
NepalPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
PhilippinesPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1977
SingaporePresentIntroduced Invasive Chong et al., 2009
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
SyriaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
TaiwanPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1977
ThailandPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1977
VietnamPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1977
YemenPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014

Africa

AlgeriaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
AngolaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
BeninPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
Burkina FasoPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
CameroonPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
ChadPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
CongoPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
Côte d'IvoirePresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
EgyptPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
GabonPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
GambiaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
GhanaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
GuineaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
LiberiaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
MadagascarPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
MaliPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
MauritaniaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
MauritiusPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1977
MoroccoPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
NigerPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
NigeriaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
RéunionPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
Rodriguez IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1977
SenegalPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
SeychellesPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
Sierra LeonePresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
SomaliaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
TogoPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014
TunisiaPresentNativeClayton et al., 2014

North America

BermudaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
MexicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Villaseñor and Espinosa-Garcia, 2004
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-FloridaPresentIntroduced Invasive Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2011
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Wagner et al., 1999
-MarylandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-OregonPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-South CarolinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2014

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
ArubaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
BahamasPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
BarbadosPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
BelizePresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
Costa RicaPresentIntroduced Invasive Chacón and Saborío, 2012
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive González-Torres et al., 2012
CuraçaoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
DominicaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
GrenadaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
HaitiPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
HondurasPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
JamaicaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
MartiniquePresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
MontserratPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
PanamaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedGraveson, 2012Very common
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
BoliviaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
BrazilPresentIntroducedShirasuna, 2014Distrito Federal
-GoiasPresentIntroducedShirasuna, 2014
-Mato GrossoPresentIntroducedShirasuna, 2014
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroducedShirasuna, 2014
-ParanaPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N Brasil, 2014
-Sao PauloPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N Brasil, 2014
ColombiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1977
EcuadorPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1977Invasive on Galapagos Islands
French GuianaPresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007Naturalized
GuyanaPresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007Naturalized
ParaguayPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
PeruPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
SurinamePresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007Naturalized
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014

Europe

PortugalPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AzoresPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2014

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Flynn, 2000
AustraliaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroduced Invasive Smith, 2002
-New South WalesPresentIntroduced Invasive Smith, 2002
-QueenslandPresentIntroduced Invasive Smith, 2002
-South AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive Smith, 2002
-TasmaniaPresentIntroduced Invasive Smith, 2002
-VictoriaPresentIntroduced Invasive Smith, 2002
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive Smith, 2002
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedMcCormack, 2013
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive Smith, 1979
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Florence et al., 2013
GuamPresentIntroduced Invasive Stone, 1970
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive MacKee, 1994
New ZealandPresentIntroduced Invasive Sykes, 1977
NiuePresentIntroduced Invasive Space et al., 2004
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
PalauPresentIntroduced Invasive Space et al., 2003
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1977
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroducedClayton et al., 2014
TongaPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Flynn, 2001
US Minor Outlying IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
VanuatuPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014
Wallis and Futuna IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014

History of Introduction and Spread

Top of page

U. mutica was introduced into the Americas via Brazil in the early days of trading (Parsons, 1972; Smith, 1979). Consequently, in the 1800s, there was confusion about its origin, with suggestions that it was native to South America, and in 1823 it was described from Brazilian specimens as Panicum purpurascens, and as Panicum barbinode in 1829 (Stone, 1970). It was introduced into Florida in the 1870s and recommended as a forage plant by the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station in 1910 (Langeland et al., 2008; Chaudhari et al., 2012). In Australia, it was introduced into Queensland around 1880 to reduce soil erosion along the banks of waterways (Hannan-Jones and Csurhes, 2012). In the West Indies, it was first collected in 1883 in Puerto Rico (US Herbarium collection). By 1977, Holm and collaborators listed this species as a serious weed in Australia, Fiji and Thailand, a weed in Sri Lanka, Colombia, Hawaii, Jamaica, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad, and as a common weed in Borneo and Mauritius (Holm et al., 1977).

Risk of Introduction

Top of page

The risk of introduction of U. mutica is very high. It has been intentionally introduced repeatedly in tropical and subtropical regions to be used as a fodder, forage and silage crop (Cook et al., 2005). It has escaped from cultivation and rapidly naturalized into natural areas where it colonizes forming dense stands and displacing native vegetation (Holm et al., 1977; Langeland et al., 2008; Hannan-Jones and Csurhes, 2012). When growing under suitable environmental conditions (i.e., moist soils), U. mutica spreads rapidly (up to 5 metres in a year) through its long stolons and possibly through water-borne seed (Cook et al., 2005).

Habitat

Top of page

U. mutica can be found growing in poorly drained, swampy or seasonally waterlogged areas, along creeks, rivers, floodplains, wetlands and drainage channels, around lakes and dams, in roadside ditches and in other damp habitats (Holm et al., 1977; Cook et al., 2005; Hannan-Jones and Csurhes, 2012). In Florida, the species has been reported growing in coastal berms, hardwood hammocks, mesic and wet flatwoods, bottomland forests, floodplain forests, stream and spring shores, and ruderal communities. U. mutica also grows as a weed of summer crops, plantation crops such as sugarcane, sown pastures, rice plantations and orchards (Holm et al., 1977; Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011).

Habitat List

Top of page
CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Freshwater
Irrigation channels Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Irrigation channels Present, no further details Natural
Irrigation channels Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Lakes Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Lakes Present, no further details Natural
Lakes Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Ponds Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Ponds Present, no further details Natural
Ponds Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rivers / streams Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rivers / streams Present, no further details Natural
Rivers / streams Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Wetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Wetlands Present, no further details Natural
Wetlands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

Top of page
Plant nameFamilyContext
Elaeis guineensis (African oil palm)ArecaceaeOther
Hevea brasiliensis (rubber)EuphorbiaceaeOther
Oryza sativa (rice)PoaceaeOther

Biology and Ecology

Top of page

Genetics

The chromosome number reported for U. mutica is 2n = 36 (Barkworth et al., 2003). 

Reproductive Biology

U. mutica has been reported as a short-day species that flowers most prolifically in humid environments at latitudes of 10–20º (Cook et al., 2005). Pollination is apparently wind-aided and little or no flowering is reported at subtropical latitudes. In Florida, it flowers from September through December (Langeland et al., 2008) and in northern Australia it flowers in late April/early May and seeds in May (Cook et al., 2005). 

Longevity

U. mutica is a long-lived perennial species (Barkworth et al., 2003). 

Environmental Requirements

U. mutica is native to floodplains in sub-Saharan tropical Africa; thus this species prefers to grow in flat, poorly drained, seasonal floodplains or high rainfall environments in tropical and subtropical regions of the world (mostly in areas with full sunlight; Cook et al., 2005; Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011). It is also adapted to grow in wetlands, ponds, and along rivers, creeks and lakes from sea level to about 1500 metres in elevation. U. mutica is well adapted to a wide range of soil types (from sandy to clay soils), and tolerates moderate salinity, low pH to 4.5 and the high levels of trace elements normally produced under water-logged conditions. It is also adapted to high temperatures (20-35°C) but growth is restricted by temperatures below 15ºC (Cook et al., 2005).

Climate

Top of page
ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Tolerated > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Tolerated Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
BW - Desert climate Tolerated < 430mm annual precipitation
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated 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)

Air Temperature

Top of page
Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 18 27.5

Rainfall

Top of page
ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall8704100mm; lower/upper limits

Soil Tolerances

Top of page

Soil drainage

  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • shallow

Natural enemies

Top of page
Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Capnodium Mycoparasite Growing point not specific N
Mocis latipes Herbivore All Stages not specific N
Rhizoctonia Pathogen All Stages not specific N

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page

According to the Purdue University NewCROP web site (based on Duke, 1983), the following fungi have been reported on U. mutica:

  • Epicoccum andropogonis
  • Thanatephorus cucumeris
  • Gibberella pulicaris
  • Helminthosporium sp.
  • Marasmius sacchari
  • Mayriogenospora paspali
  • Myrothecium striatosporum
  • Khuskia oryzae
  • Nigrospora panici
  • Perisporium zeae
  • Pythium artorogus
  • Pythium arrhenomanes
  • Magnaporthe grisea
  • Uromyces setariae-italicae 

This species is also attacked by the bacterium Pectobacterium carotovorum var. graminarum and the list of nematode species isolated from this grass includes:

  • Dolichodorus nigeriensis
  • Helicotylenchus pseudorobustus
  • Hemicriconemoides cocophilus
  • Scutellonema clathricaudatum
  • Tylenchorhynchus sp.
  • Xiphinema ifacolum

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page

U. mutica spreads by seed and vegetatively by stolons. It can grow up to 5 metres in a year (Cook et al., 2005). U. mutica has water-borne seed and consequently seeds and stem fragments can be spread by floodwaters. Seeds and stem segments can also be dispersed by animals such as birds and by cattle. Long-distance dispersal occurs principally through its use as a pasture grass (Cook et al., 2005; Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011).

Pathway Causes

Top of page
CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Animal productionPasture grass Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
Escape from confinement or garden escapeEscaped from cultivation Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
ForagePasture grass Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005

Pathway Vectors

Top of page
VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesSeeds, stem fragments Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
Host and vector organismsBirds spread seeds and stem fragments Yes Yes Smith, 2002
Land vehiclesSeeds, stem fragments Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
LivestockSeeds, runners and cuttings Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
Machinery and equipmentSeeds, stem fragments Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
MailSeeds Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
Soil, sand and gravelSeeds, stem fragments Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
WaterSeeds, stem fragments Yes Yes Smith, 2002

Impact Summary

Top of page
CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Negative

Environmental Impact

Top of page

U. mutica is a fast-growing species which grows forming very dense infestations that smother riverbanks, wetlands, and floodplain vegetation, and it also floats out over the water surface reducing areas available for waterfowl and water-birds. It is invasive in riparian habitats, wetlands, and swamps in Australia, the United States (i.e., Florida and Hawaii), Mexico, Central America, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and islands in the Pacific (Holm et al., 1977; Wagner et al., 1999; Villaseñor and Espinosa-Garcia, 2004; Langeland et al., 2005; Chacon and Saborio, 2012; Gonzalez et al., 2012; PIER, 2014; USDA-NRCS, 2014). U. mutica also invades areas of remnant vegetation away from water, especially in coastal areas and disturbed sites.

In Australia, U. mutica is considered a serious environmental weed in wetlands in the Western Territory, Northern Territory, Queensland, and New South Wales, where it is destroying water-bird breeding habitats and replacing native vegetation along streams and in riparian zones. Here, this grass is destroying the breeding habitat of the magpie goose (Anseranas semipalmata) and reducing the ability of this bird to feed in open water. It is also one of the major environmental weeds infesting floodplains in the Northern Territory and contributing to the decline of the endangered yellow chat Epthianura crocea tunneyi (Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011; Hannan-Jones and Csurhes, 2012).

In Florida, U. mutica invades disturbed low channels, lake shorelines, coastal berms, hardwood hammocks, mesic and wet flatwoods, bottomland forests, floodplain forests, streams, spring shores, marshes, swamps and ruderal communities where it is displacing native vegetation (Langeland et al., 2008).

U. mutica can also change the fire regime in invaded habitats because during the dry season the aboveground portion of the grass dries out becoming a potential “fuel activator” for fires. It also has the potential to alter the water carrying capacity of streams and riparian areas invaded, causing increased flooding in infested water systems (Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011). In Brazil, U. mutica is one of several aquatic plant species that has caused significant damage to infrastructure associated with hydroelectric dams (Costa et al., 2006). 

Threatened Species

Top of page
Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Epthianura crocea tunneyi (Yellow Chat (tunneyi))National list(s) National list(s)Australian Northern TerritoryCompetition - smothering; Competition - stranglingQueensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page

Uses

Top of page

U. mutica has been used as forage, fodder and pasture grass in waterlogged conditions and ponded pastures. It has also been used to control soil erosion on sloping fields and in seasonally waterlogged areas (Cook et al., 2005; PROTA, 2014).

Uses List

Top of page

Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage

Environmental

  • Erosion control or dune stabilization

Prevention and Control

Top of page

A combination of manual and chemical methods is recommended for the management of infestations of U. mutica. In the case of smaller infestations, plants can be cut out and all stolons must be removed. Larger infestations can be controlled by cutting the foliage and the aboveground segments of the grass. Long-term control of treated areas is recommended. The herbicide glyphosate can be applied to actively growing plants at the early head stage, but not to weeds growing over water (Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011).

In Florida, a study evaluating the use of non-chemical control of U. mutica showed that burning, cutting, or roller-chopping should be applied in conjunction with flooding for effective management. This study shows that roller-chopping followed by flooding, and burning followed by flooding, can be options to control this grass species in areas where herbicides cannot be applied (Chaudhari et al., 2012).

References

Top of page

Acevedo-Rodríguez P; Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Barkworth ME; Capels KM; Long S; Piep MB, 2003. Urochloa. Flora of North America, volume 25. http://herbarium.usu.edu/webmanual/

Chacón E; Saborío G, 2012. Red Interamericana de Información de Especies Invasoras, Costa Rica ([English title not available]). San José, Costa Rica: Asociación para la Conservación y el Estudio de la Biodiversidad. http://invasoras.acebio.org

Chaudhari S; Sellers BA; Rockwood SV; Ferrell JA; MacDonald GE; Kenworthy KE, 2012. Nonchemical methods for paragrass (Urochloa mutica) control. Invasive Plant Science and Management, 5(1):20-26. http://wssajournals.org/loi/ipsm

Chong KY; Tan HTW; Corlett; RT, 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore. National University of Singapore, Singapore: Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, 273 pp.

Clayton WD; Govaerts R; Harman KT; Williamson H; Vorontsova M, 2014. World Checklist of Poaceae. Richmond, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/

Cook B; Pengelly B; Brown S; Donnelly J; Eagle D; Franco A; Hanson J; Mullen B; Partridge I; Peters M; Schultze-Kraft R, 2005. Tropical Forages: an interactive selection tool. Brisbane, Australia: CSIRO, DPI&F (Qld), CIAT and ILRI. http://www.tropicalforages.info/

Costa NV; Rodella RA; Martins D, 2006. Differentiation of aquatic weeds by multivariate analysis of foliar structural characters. (Diferenciação de espécies daninhas aquáticas pela análise multivariada de caracteres estruturais foliares.) Planta Daninha, 24(1):13-20. http://www.scielo.br/pdf/pd/v24n1/a02v24n1.pdf

DAISIE, 2014. Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe. European Invasive Alien Species Gateway. www.europe-aliens.org/default.do

Duke JA, 1983. Bracheri mutica (Forsk). Stapf. Handbook of Energy Crops. Unpublished. West Lafayette, Indiana, USA: Centre for New Crops and Plant Products, Purdue University. http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Brachiaria_mutica.html#Yields%20and%20Economics

Florence J; Chevillotte H; Ollier C; Meyer J-Y, 2013. Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP) (Botanical database of the Nadeaud Herbarium of French Polynesia). http://www.herbier-tahiti.pf

Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2011. Florida EPPC's 2011 Invasive Plant Species List. http://www.fleppc.org/list/11list.html

Funk V; Hollowell T; Berry P; Kelloff C; Alexander SN, 2007. Checklist of the plants of the Guiana Shield (Venezuela: Amazonas, Bolivar, Delta Amacuro; Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana). Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, 584 pp.

González-Torres LR; Rankin R; Palmarola A (eds), 2012. Invasive plants in Cuba. (Plantas Invasoras en Cuba.) Bissea: Boletin sobre Conservacion de Plantad del Jardin Botanico Nacional, 6:1-140.

Graveson R, 2012. The Plants of Saint Lucia (in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean). The Plants of Saint Lucia (in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean). http://www.saintlucianplants.com

Hannan-Jones M; Csurhes S, 2012. Para grass- Urichloa mutica. Invasive species risk assessment., Australia: Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/65254/IPA-Para-Grass-Risk-Assessment.pdf

Holm LG; Plucknett DL; Pancho JV; Herberger JP, 1977. The World's Worst Weeds. Distribution and Biology. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: University Press of Hawaii.

I3N Brasil, 2014. National database of exotic invasive species (Base de dados nacional de espécies exóticas invasoras). Florianópolis - SC, Brazil: I3N Brasil, Instituto Hórus de Desenvolvimento e Conservação Ambiental. http://i3n.institutohorus.org.br

Langeland KA; Cherry HM; McCormick CM; Craddock Burks KA, 2008. Identification and Biology of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas. Gainesville, Florida, USA: University of Florida IFAS Extension.

MacKee HS, 1994. Catalogue of introduced and cultivated plants in New Caledonia. (Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie.) Paris, France: Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, unpaginated.

McCormack G, 2013. Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, Version 2007. Cook Islands Biodiversity Database. Rarotonga, Cook Islands: Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust. http://cookislands.bishopmuseum.org/search.asp

Morrone O; Zuloaga FO, 1992. A revision of the native and introduced South American species of Brachiaria (Trin.) Griseb. and Urochloa P. Beauv. (Poaceae: Panicoideae: Paniceae). (Revisión de las especies sudamericanas nátivas e introducidas de los géneros Brachiaria y Urochloa (Poaceae: Panicoideae: Paniceae).) Darwiniana, 31(1-4):43-109.

Morrone O; Zuloaga FO, 1993. Synopsis of the genus Urochloa (Poaceae: Panicoideae: Paniceae) from Mexico and Central America. (Sinopsis del género Urochloa (Poaceae: Panicoideae: Paniceae) para Mexico y América Central.) Darwiniana, 32:59-75.

PARSONS JJ, 1972. Spread of African pasture grasses to the American tropics. Journal of Range Management, 25(1):12-17.

PIER, 2014. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

PROTA, 2014. PROTA4U web database. Grubben GJH, Denton OA, eds. Wageningen, Netherlands: Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. http://www.prota4u.org/search.asp

Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, 2011. Special edition of Environmental Weeds of Australia for Biosecurity Queensland., Australia: The University of Queensland and Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries. http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/03030800-0b07-490a-8d04-0605030c0f01/media/Html/Index.htm

Randall RP, 2012. A Global Compendium of Weeds. Perth, Australia: Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, 1124 pp. http://www.cabi.org/isc/FullTextPDF/2013/20133109119.pdf

Sharp D; Simon BK, 2002. AusGrass1: Grasses of Australia. Canberra and Queensland, Australia: Australian Biological Resources Study and Environmental Protection Agency.

Shirasuna RT, 2014. Urochloa in Lista de Espécies da Flora do Brasil ([English title not available]). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. http://reflora.jbrj.gov.br/jabot/floradobrasil/FB24316

Smith AC, 1979. Flora Vitiensis nova: A new flora of Fiji. Volume I. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii, USA: National Tropical Botanical Garden, 494 pp.

Smith NM, 2002. Weeds of the wet/dry tropics of Australia - a field guide., Australia: Environment Centre NT, Inc, 112 pp.

Space JC; Flynn T, 2000. Observations on invasive plant species in American Samoa. Honolulu, USA: USDA Forest Service, 51 pp.

Space JC; Flynn T, 2001. Report to the Kingdom of Tonga on invasive plant species of environmental concern. Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 79 pp.

Space JC; Waterhouse B; Miles JE; Tiobech J; Rengulbai K, 2003. Report to the Republic of Palau on invasive plant species of environmental concern. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, 174 pp.

Space JC; Waterhouse BM; Newfield M; Bull C, 2004. Report to the Government of Niue and the United Nations Development Programme: Invasive plant species on Niue following Cyclone Heta. 80 pp. [UNDP NIU/98/G31 - Niue Enabling Activity.] http://www.hear.org/pier/reports/niue_report_2004.htm

Stevens PF, 2012. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/

Stone BC, 1970. The flora of Guam. Micronesia, 6:1-659.

Sykes WR, 1977. Kermadec Islands flora: an annotated checklist. New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Bulletin, 219:216 pp.

Torres González AM; Morton CM, 2005. Molecular and morphological phylogenetic analysis of Brachiaria and Urochloa (Poaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 37(1):36-44. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/10557903

USDA-ARS, 2014. 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, 2014. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/

Veldkamp JF, 2004. Miscellaneous notes on mainly Southeast Asian gramineae. Reinwardtia, 12:135-140.

Villaseñor JL; Espinosa-Garcia FJ, 2004. The alien flowering plants of Mexico. Diversity and Distributions, 10(2):113-123.

Wagner WI; Herbst DR; Sohmer SH, 1999. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawaii, revised edition. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: University of Hawaii Press.

Waterhouse DF, 1993. The Major Arthropod Pests and Weeds of Agriculture in Southeast Asia. ACIAR Monograph No. 21. Canberra, Australia: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, 141 pp.

Webster RD, 1987. Australian Paniceae (Poaceae). Berlin, Germany: J. Cramer, 322pp.

Webster RD, 1988. Genera of the North American Paniceae (Poaceae: Panicoideae). Systematic Botany, 13(4):576-609.

Wu T-L, 2001. Check List of Hong Kong Plants. Hong Kong Herbarium and the South China Institute of Botany. Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department Bulletin (revised), 1:384 pp.

Zuloaga FO; Morrone O, 2003. Brachiaria, Urochloa. Contributions of the US National Herbarium, 46:141-143, 629-634. [Catalogue of New World Grasses (Poaceae): III. Subfamilies Panicoideae, Aristidoideae, Arundionoideae, and Danthonioideae.]

Links to Websites

Top of page
WebsiteURLComment
Catalogue of Seed Plants of the West Indieshttp://botany.si.edu/antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm
Grasses in North Americahttp://herbarium.usu.edu/webmanual/
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER): Plant threats to Pacific ecosystemshttp://www.hear.org/pier/index.html
Plant Resources of Tropical Africahttp://www.prota.org
Tropical Forageshttp://www.tropicalforages.info/index.htm

Contributors

Top of page

12/02/14 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Distribution Maps

Top of page
You can pan and zoom the map
Save map
Download KML file Download CSV file
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Please click OK to ACCEPT or Cancel to REJECT

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Please click OK to ACCEPT or Cancel to REJECT