Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Cenchrus ciliaris
L., Poaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  Reject, score: 7 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Pennisetum cenchroides (L.)Rich.; Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: shui niu cao

English: African foxtail grass, anjan grass, buffel grass

French: cenchrus cilié

Spanish: pasto buffle, zacate buffle

Habit:  grass

Description:  "Perennial [grass], sometimes short-rhizomatous and forming mats or tussocks; culms ascending, 10-150 cm tall, 1-2 mm in diameter, wiry or sometimes almost woody at base, sometimes many-branched from lower or basal nodes.  Sheaths keeled, glabrous or sparsely pilose; ligule a densely ciliate membrane 0.5-2.5 mm long; blades 3-25 cm long, 2-13 mm wide, glabrous or sparsely pilose, apex caudate.  Inflorescences paniculate, gray, purple, or yellowish, densely cylindrical to ovoid, 2-14 cm long, 1-2.6 cm wide, rachis angular and puberulent; burs 6-16 m long, bristles connate only at base to form a disk 0.5-1.5 mm in diameter, inner bristles much exceeding spikelets, 1 of them longer and stouter than the rest, at least the longest somewhat flattened at base, sparsely or densely ciliate above, flexuous, often wavy, antrorsely scaberulous, outer bristles filiform; spikelets 1-4 per bur, 2-5.5 mm long, dorsally compressed, lanceoloid; glumes distinct, first glume membranous, 1-nerved, 1-3 mm long, second glume 1-3-nerved, 1.3-3.5 mm long; palea 2.5-5 mm long, enclosing a staminate flower; second lemma thin, 5-nerved, 2.2-5.4 mm long.  Caryopsis turgid, ovoid, 1.4-1.9 mm long, ca. 1 mm in diameter."  (Wagner et al., 1999)"This species is very similar to species of Pennisetum.  The bristles of the involucre in Cenchrus are connate, while those in Pennisetum are distinct.  Cenchrus ciliaris has the least connate involucral bristles in the genus and thus has been alternately placed in both genera"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1512).

Description from GrassBase.

Habitat/ecology:  "Grass- and shrubland, arid rangeland.  A native of semi-arid areas, the grass grows mainly in open bush and grassland.  It is very drought resistant but cannot stand flooding for more than a week.  Where invasive, the grass forms dense mats or tussocks that displace native grassland communities and reduce their species richness.  The dried shoots provide excellent fuel for fires and thus increase fire hazards.  The cover of this grass may increase rapidly after a fire.  Once established, the grass will withstand considerable grazing"  (Weber, 2003; p. 94).  The dried shoots provide an excellent fuel for fire, from which the plant recovers rapidly by basal shoots. It is a fire-enhanced species as its cover increases with each succeeding fire.

In Hawai‘i, "naturalized in dry areas and sandy soil in a wide variety of disturbed habitats, 0-120 m" (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1512). In New Caledonia, "introduit paraît-il récemment dans les pâturages des secteurs secs de la côte Ouest. Parfois spontané" (MacKee, 1994; p. 58). In Australia, "in disturbed areas; often around urban areas such as school grounds, homesteads, parks, roadsides, on and near coastal sand dunes, along creeks and swamp margins" (Smith, 2002; pp. 70-71).

Propagation:  Seed, largely spread by wind (Smith, 2002; pp. 70-71).

Native range:  Africa and western Asia; cultivated and widely naturalized (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Rota Island native
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 55)
As Pennisetum cilliare (L.) Link
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Vanua Levu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1979) (p. 357)
Voucher cited: DA 15390
Naturalized.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Vanua Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1968) (voucher ID: BISH 31564)
Taxon name on voucher: Cenchrus ciliaris L.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1979) (p. 357)
Vouchers cited: DA 11844, DA 12579, DA 3961, DA 7457, DA 3583, DA 9040
Naturalized.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1955) (voucher ID: BISH 31562)
Taxon name on voucher: Cenchrus ciliaris L.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1955) (voucher ID: BISH 31563)
Taxon name on voucher: Cenchrus ciliaris L.
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Voucher cited: J. Florence 11475 (PAP)
Naturalisée
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1992) (voucher ID: BISH 643983)
Taxon name on voucher: Cenchrus ciliaris L.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1512)
Voucher cited: Ewart III 258 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaho‘olawe Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1512)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1512)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1512)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Ni‘ihau, Lehua Islet introduced
invasive
Wood, K. R./LeGrande, Maya (2006) (p. 25)
Voucher cited: Flynn et al. 4848 (BISH, PTBG, US)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1512)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1512)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1512)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Pearl and Hermes Reef introduced
invasive
Starr, Forest/Martz, Kim (1999) (p. 19)
There is a small patch (about 300 plants) located inland on the eastern side of the island
Kiribati
Phoenix Islands
Kanton Island introduced
invasive
Fosberg, F. R./Stoddart, D. R. (1994) (p. 43)
Voucher cited: Fosberg & Stoddart 54771 (US, HAW, K), Fosberg & Stoddart 54905 (US, HAW, K)
Kiribati
Tungaru (Gilbert) Islands
Tarawa Atoll native
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 55)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 58)
Vouchers cited: MacKee 37820, Morat 6704
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
Sykes, W. R. (1970) (p. 236)
Vouchers cited: CHR 168751, CHR 168755
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
Whistler, W. A. (1988) (p. 47)
Uncommon. Voucher cited: Sykes 1332
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island) introduced
Henty, E. E. (1969) (p. 46)
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands native
Hancock, I. R./Henderson, C. P. (1988) (p. 56)
Tonga
Ha‘apai Group
Lifuka and Foa Islands introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2001) (p. 71)
Tonga
Tongatapu Group
‘Eua Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2001) (p. 59)
Tonga
Tongatapu Group
Tongatapu Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2001) (p. 51)
Tonga
Vava‘u Group
Vava‘u Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2001) (p. 65)
United States (other Pacific offshore islands)
Midway Atoll
Midway Atoll introduced
invasive
Starr, Forest/Martz, Kim (2000) (p. 11)
Voucher cited: Starr & Martz 990427-1 (BISH)
United States (other Pacific offshore islands)
Midway Atoll
Sand Island introduced
invasive
Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd (2008) (pp. B-5)
Wallis and Futuna
Wallis and Futuna (Horne) Islands
Wallis (‘Uvea) Island introduced
cultivated
Morat, Ph./Veillon, J.-M. (1985)
Morat & Veillon, 1985, cited in Meyer, 2007
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Northern Territory introduced
invasive
Smith, Nicholas M. (2002) (p. 70)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
Smith, Nicholas M. (2002) (p. 70)
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica (Republic of) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Ecuador (Mainland)
Ecuador
Ecuador (Republic of) (continental) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador (Republic of) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of)   Hafliger, Ernst/Scholz, Hildemar (1980) (p. 28)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua (Republic of) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Panama
Panama
Panama (Republic of) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Perú
Perú
Perú (Republic of) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Taiwan
Taiwan Island
Taiwan Island introduced
invasive
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Pastures and weedy places, introduced.
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Indian Ocean offshore islands)
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Cocos (Keeling) Islands introduced
invasive
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1993) (p. 38)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas
Naturalized
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized

Comments:  A problem species in Hawai’i and Australia.

Control:  Additional control information from the Bugwood Wiki.

Physical:  "A valued forage in dryer pastures"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Chemical:  "Sensitive to glyphosate. Preemergence and postemergence control by drizzle application of hexazinone effective"  (Motooka et al., 2003).


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 9 MAR 2013.