Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Pennisetum setaceum
(Forssk.) Chiov., Poaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results: 

High risk, score: 26 (Go to the risk assessment (Pacific))
Reject, score: 20 (Go to the risk assessment (U.S. (Florida)))

Other Latin names:  Cenchrus setaceus (Forssk.) Morrone; Pennisetum ruppelii Steud.

Common name(s): [more details]

English: African fountain grass, fountain grass

Habit:  grass

Description:  "Sparsely branching, tufted perennial [grass] 0.2-1 m high with feathery (bristly), spike-like inflorescences, the bristles long and detaching with the spikelets.  Leaves:  Up to 40 mm long x 3 mm wide, not rigid or ending in sharp points.  Inflorescence:  Cylindrical, 100-250 mm long or more, usually purple or rose-colored, bristles about 20 mm long.  Fruits:  Seeds" (Henderson, 1995; p. 28).

Description from GrassBase.

Habitat/ecology:  Dry forest, roadsides, grasslands, lava fields. This bunchgrass is a noxious weed, crowding out other herbs and seedlings. It is a fire-stimulated grass which carries intense fires throughout its range (Smith, 1985; p. 198).  "Adapted to harsh conditions, it thrives on unweathered lava flows, exposed subsoil, fire-prone areas, and droughty climatic zones"  (Motooka et al., 2003).  "Grass- and woodland, coastal dunes, desert scrub.  A very fire and drought tolerant bunch grass that displaces native grassland communities where invasive.  It forms thick stands that impede growth and regeneration of native plants, completely eliminating the native vegetation in time.  It promotes fires by accumulation of large quantities o dead biomass, and the grass spreads as a result of fires because it rapidly colonizes burned areas"  (Weber, 2003; p. 314).

In Hawai‘i, "cultivated and naturalized in dry, pen places such as barren lava flows and cinder fields, 40-2,140 m"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1581). In New Caledonia, "cultivé comme ornemental dans les jardins; aussi spontané et envahissant" (MacKee, 1994; p. 61).

Propagation:  The seeds are dispersed by wind. A prolific seed producer.

Native range:  Africa.

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Ta‘u Island cultivated
Yuncker, T. G. (1945) (p. 24)
Cultivated ornamental. Voucher cited: Yuncker 9214 (BISH)
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2005) (voucher ID: PTBG 47450)
Taxon name on voucher: Pennisetum setaceum
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1979) (p. 359)
Vouchers cited: DA 16225, DA 12303
Semi-naturalized.
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Hiva Oa Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Voucher cited: J. Florence 2618 (PAP)
Ornementale assez commune à Tahiti.
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Rurutu Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Meyer, Jean-Yves (2000) (p. 95)
"Potential invader".
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Falanruw, Marjorie (1999) (p. 3)
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island cultivated
Space, Jim (2004)
Observed in cultivation (J. Space).
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1581)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaho‘olawe Island introduced
invasive
Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. (2006) (p. 39)
Subject of an eradication program. Voucher cited: Starr, Starr, Higashino & Andrade 040216-1 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1581)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1581)
Voucher cited: Munro 345 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. (2006) (p. 39)
East Maui. Subjest of an eradication program. Vouchers cited: Starr & Martz 011121-1 (BISH), Starr, Starr & MISC 040106-1 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1581)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Islands introduced
invasive
Meyer, Jean-Yves (2000) (p. 100)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Islands introduced
invasive
Gargominy, Oliver/Bouchet, Philipe/Pascal, Michel/Jaffre, Tanguy/Tourneu, Jean-Christophe (1996) (p. 381)
Envahissante.
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 61)
Voucher cited: MacKee 42195
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (pp. 14, 86)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Ngerkebesang Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (pp. 14, 82)
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)
New South Wales introduced
invasive
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 186)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 186)
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of)   Hafliger, Ernst/Scholz, Hildemar (1980) (p. 116)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
Owen, S. J. (1997)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
Edgar, E./Connor, H. (2000) (p. 578)
"Escape from cultivation; on roadsides".
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 67)
Cultivated only
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Oregon) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Canary Islands
Canary Islands
Canary Islands introduced
invasive
Lorence, David (year unknown)
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)

Comments:  On the State of Hawai‘i and New Zealand noxious weed lists. Very invasive in the Canary Islands (Tenerife and Gran Canaria) per David Lorence (personal communication).

Control:  Herbicides must be used on all except isolated plants.

Physical:  "The only practical management is probably by intensive grazing management in pastures and perhaps by replanting trees in dryland forests.  Unpalatable to cattle except for young shoots"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Chemical:" Sensitive to glyphosate applied by spraying and by the drizzle method. HAVO staff reported control with hexazinone at 10-20% of liquid concentrate applied to wet the green foliage (Zimmer, HAVO)"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

"1. Weed wipe: glyphosate (200ml/L) or Gallant (200ml/L). 2. Spray (spring-summer): glyphosate (15ml/L) + penetrant. 3. Slash and spray regrowth (spring-autumn): Gallant (150ml/10L)"  (Weedbusters New Zealand).

Additional information:
Additional online information about Pennisetum setaceum is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Information about Pennisetum setaceum as a weed (worldwide references) may be available from the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Taxonomic information about Pennisetum setaceum may be available from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

Information sheet from Weedbusters New Zealand about Pennisetum setaceum

Excerpt from the book "Weeds of Hawaii‘s Pastures and Natural Areas; An Identification and Management Guide" (Motooka et al., 2003) about Pennisetum setaceum

Excerpt from "Alien Plant Invasions..." book re: fountain grass (Loope et al.) (Courtesy HEAR)

Excerpt from "Alien Plant Invasions..." book re: fountain grass (Tunison) (Courtesy HEAR)

Information on Pennisetum setaceum from the Global Invasive Species Database

Fact sheet on Pennisetum setaceum on the web site of the Alien Plants Working Group, "Weeds Gone Wild"

Fact sheet from the Government of Queensland, Australia about Pennisetum setaceum

References:

Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp.

Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. 1998. Potential environmental weeds in Australia: Candidate species for preventative control. Canberra, Australia. Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia. 208 pp.

Edgar, E./Connor, H. 2000. Flora of New Zealand, vol. V: Gramineae. Manaaki Whenua Press. .

Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. 2013. Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP). (online resource).

Gargominy, Oliver/Bouchet, Philipe/Pascal, Michel/Jaffre, Tanguy/Tourneu, Jean-Christophe. 1996. Conséquences des introductions d'espèces animales et végétales sur la biodiversité en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Rev. Ecol. (Terre Vie) 51:375-401.

Hafliger, Ernst/Scholz, Hildemar. 1980. Grass weeds, vol. 1. CIBA-GEIGY Ltd., Basle, Switzerland. 142 pp. + plates.

Henderson, Lesley. 1995. Plant invaders of Southern Africa. Plant Protection Research Institute Handbook No. 5, Agriculture Research Council, ARC/LNR, Pretoria, South Africa. 177 pp.

Lorence, David. 0. David Lorence, pers. com.

MacKee, H. S. 1994. Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 164 p.

Meyer, Jean-Yves. 2000. Preliminary review of the invasive plants in the Pacific islands (SPREP Member Countries). In: Sherley, G. (tech. ed.). Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy. South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Samoa. 190 pp.

Motooka, Philip/Castro, Luisa/Nelson, Duane/Nagai, Guy/Ching, Lincoln. 2003. Weeds of Hawaii‘s Pastures and Natural Areas; An Identification and Management Guide. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa. 184 pp.

Motooka, Philip/Ching, Lincoln/Nagai, Guy. 2002. Herbicidal Weed Control Methods for Pasture and Natural Areas of Hawaii. Cooperative Extension Service, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai‘i. CTAHR free publication WC-8.

Owen, S. J. 1997. Ecological weeds on conservation land in New Zealand: A database. Working draft. Wellington, New Zealand. Department of Conservation.

Smith, Albert C. 1979. Flora Vitiensis nova: a new flora of Fiji. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii. Volume 1. 494 pp.

Smith, Clifford W. 1985. Impact of Alien Plants on Hawai‘i's Native Biota. In: Stone, Charles P. and Scott, J. Michael, eds. Hawai‘i's terrestrial ecosystems: preservation and Management. Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, University of Hawaii, Manoa.

Space, James C./Falanruw, Marjorie. 1999. Observations on invasive plant species in Micronesia. USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. Report to the Pacific Islands Committee, Council of Western State Foresters. USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. 32 pp.

Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar. 2003. Report to the Republic of Palau on invasive plant species of environmental concern. USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. 174 pp.

Space, Jim. 2004. Jim Space, pers. com.

Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. 2006. New plant records from the Hawaiian Archipelago. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucias G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2004-2005. Part 1: Articles. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 87:31-43.

Tunison, J. T./Zimmer, N. G./Gates, M. R./Mattos, R. M. 1994. Fountain grass control in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 1985 -1992. Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, University of Hawai‘i, Department of Botany. Technical Report 91.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. 1999. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawaii. Revised edition. Bernice P. Bishop Museum special publication. University of Hawai‘i Press/Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 1919 pp. (two volumes).

Weber, Ewald. 2003. Invasive plants of the World. CABI Publishing, CAB International, Wallingford, UK. 548 pp.

Yuncker, T. G. 1945. Plants of the Manua Islands. Bishop Mus. Bull. 184. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 73 pp.


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 19 JAN 2011.