Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Pennisetum occidentale
Chase, Poaceae
No images for this taxon

Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Habit:  grass

Description:  "Plants perennial, robust, in large clumps, glabrous as a whole; culms solid or pithy, obtusely angled, straggling or creeping at base, with prop roots at the lower nodes, as much as 3 meters tall, with numerous ascending, more or less geniculate branches; sheaths keeled, loose, the upper scaberulous toward the truncate or slightly auriculate summit; ligule fimbriate-ciliate, 1 to 1.5 mm long; blades flat, spreading, 20 to 60 cm long, 1 to 2 cm wide, smaller on the ultimate branches, scarcely tapering to a truncate or rounded base (the junction of sheath and blade somewhat constricted), very scabrous on the margin and upper surface, scabrous or nearly smooth beneath, the epidermis rather coarsely cellular (the cells visible under a lens); panicles rather short-exserted from the ends of the numerous leafy branches, often overtopped by the upper blades, mostly 8 to 12 cm long, 10 to 12 mm thick excluding the longer bristles, dense, pale, flexuous (with a loose S-shaped bend in the middle at maturity), the rather thick axis densely puberulent, the scars of the fallen fascicles surrounded by white hairs, giving the appearance of stellar pubescence; fascicles spreading, the bristles about 10, fine, scabrous, very unequal, a few exceeding the spikelet, one 15 to 25 cm long, fine and straight; spikelets 4.5 to 4.8 mm long, about 1 mm wide, lanceolate-acuminate, smooth or scaberulous toward the apex; first glume about one-third the length of the spikelet, 3-nerved, acute; second glume and sterile lemma 7-nerved, sharp-pointed, the glume three-fourth as long as the equal fruit and empty sterile lemma; fruit sharp-pointed, smooth" (Hitchcock, 1927; pp. 483-484).

Description from GrassBase.

Habitat/ecology:  In low ground (Ecuador) (Hitchcock, 1927; pp. 483-484).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  Western south America (GrassBase).


Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)

Control:  If you know of control methods for Pennisetum occidentale, please let us know.

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This page was created on 18 JUN 2004 and was last updated on 30 MAY 2010.