Global invasive species database

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Common name
 
Synonym
Pennisetum quartinianum , A. Rich
Pennisetum angolense , Rendle
Pennisetum giganteum , A. Rich.
Similar species
Summary
Cenchrus macrourus (Pennisetum macrourum) is a 1 to 1.8 metre erect perennial grass native to South Africa. It has been introduced to New Zealand and Australia, where it has established and is known to replace desirable stock grass with grass of low palatability in pastoral areas.
Species Description
African feather grass is a perennial grass which grows up to two metres high and resembles pampas grass. Native to South Africa (Environment Waikato Regional Council 2002) this tussock-forming and rhizomatous grass forms an extensive fibrous root system to a metre in depth. Stout rhizomes may develop reaching two metres in length and reaching downwards approximately one metre in depth. The leaves of C. macrourus are light green to dark underneath with occasional bluish-purple edges (Greater Wellington Regional Council 2002). The leaves of the plant may arise from the base of the plant, or from erect, cylindrical stems. The leaves grow to 1.2m long, and are 10 - 13 millimetres wide. Ribbing is pronounced on the upper surface. They are slightly curved in cross-section, and the edge has tangible serrations (Australian Department of Primary Industries and Water 2002).
African Feather Grass produces a long, thin flower head (\"inflorescence\"), in late spring to summer. It ranges from 75 - 300 millimetres long, and 10 - 20 millimetres in diameter. Prominent bristles protrude out from the stem of the inflorescence (approximately 1 centimetre long). Seeds are released in late summer and autumn and are yellow - brown in colour and 5 - 7 millimetres long. They have a number of tiny barbed bristles attached to them, allowing them to easily lodge in animal fur and wool. (Australian Department of Primary Industries and Water 2002).
Please note that in comparison to pampas grass, feather grass may be distinguished by its distinctive long, thin inflorescence and by its smaller more compact flowerhead/spikelets. Also, African feather grass often gets confused with pampas grass and toetoe. To distinguish between the three: African feather grass produces a narrow flower spike, while pampas and toetoe produce fluffy flower heads; African feather grass has a hairy leaf sheath where as pampas and toetoe don’t (Environment Canterbury 2003).
Notes
Cenchrus macrourus is also referred to as Pennisetum macrourum
Feather grasses have clusters of feather-like spiklets and belong to the grass family (a large and widespread family of plants - the Gramineae or Poaceae); these are characterised by hollow stems, sheath-forming leaves in two longitudinal rows, and minute flowers arranged in spikelets. A spikelet is a small or secondary spike, characteristic of grasses and sedges, having a varying number of reduced flowers each subtended (underlying, enclosing and surrounding) one or two scale-like bracts. The grasses include important food plants such as wheat, rice, corn, barley, oats, and sorghum and also plants for turf and fodder (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition 2000).

Please follow these links to view the profile of a related species buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris; kikuyu grass Cenchrus clandestinus; feathery pennisetum Cenchrus polystachios; fountain grass Cenchrus setaceus; bur grass Setaria verticillata).

Uses
African feather grass is used as a landscape ornamental plant and is sometimes found in residental gardens, often around ponds (Environment Canterbury 2003).
Habitat Description
African feather grass (Cenchrus macrourus (Pennisetum macrourum)) invades poor pasture areas, roadside verges and reserves (Environment Waikato Regional Council 2002). The Australian Department of Primary Industries and Water (2002) reports that the plant is mainly found along roadsides, waste areas, banks of small creeks and rivers and areas with moisture ability. It occasionally invades poorly maintained pasture. Young plants exhibit a great need for a constant supply of moisture, however, mature well-established plants are capable of with-standing long periods of drought.
Apparently in New Zealand African feather grass prefers to grow in damp places such as ponds, river systems, coastlines, estuaries and gullies. However it can also be found in bare sand, low shrubland and dry and disturbed forest (Environment Canterbury 2003).
While it mainly colonises road sides, river-banks and waste areas (where adequate moisture is available) it requires full sunlight. Rarely will dense infestation occur within a shady bush-land or forest environment (Australian Department of Primary Industries and Water 2002).
Reproduction
African feather grass spreads by seed and vegetative material, that is by one metre long stout rhizomes. (In Australia the plant spreads mainly by vegetative means). In this process small plantlets develop along its length which, much like strawberries produce runners, are used as reproductive organs (Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Victoria 2008).
Pathway

Principal source:

Compiler: IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from ASB Community Trust, New Zealand

Review:

Publication date: 2008-04-17

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2021) Species profile: Cenchrus macrourus. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1353 on 28-09-2021.

General Impacts
African feather grass Cenchrus macrourus (Pennisetum macrourum) has an extensive root system making it a difficult species to remove. It produces a large amout of seeds which are easily dispersed by wind and can be carried on clothing. This means C. macrourus can be distributed to distant places where it may be difficult to control the species. It spreads quickly, crowding out native low growing plant species. It is also a fire hazard, can block waterways and prevent site access.

C. macrourus has the potential to become a major weed of production forestry, roadsides, coastlines, wetlands, amenity and urban areas in New Zealand according to Environment Bay of Plenty Regional Council (2005).
Management Info
An integration of preventative and control methods is critical in combating African feather grass infestations. Additional follow-up inspections of the infested region should also be regularly carried out. At present, a number of methods are available in controlling the spread of P . macrourum.

Preventative measures : Plantation of appropriate shrubs or trees may directly compete with the African feather grass for nutrients, water and light, and hence help with the ongoing management programs (DPIW, 2002).

Physical: Mechanical control such as excavation can be achieved with the use of a spade or excavator depending on the size of the infestation. It is important to ensure the complete removal of soil at the level of the rhizomes to prevent regeneration and regrowth (DPIW, 2002). Cultivation may be another viable strategy, as it disrupts the rhizome system, causing the sprouting of buds, which ultimately exhausting the plant of its energy (DPIW, 2002).

Chemical: Chemical control using herbicides may be the most effective form of management. Glyphosate and flupropanate are the most commonly used herbicides. Best time for herbicide application is from late spring to early autumn. Furthermore, the herbicide should completely cover the foliage to ensure effectiveness. It may be useful to first slash or burn away the plant material prior to application.

Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Cenchrus macrourus
ALIEN RANGE
NATIVE RANGE
  • southern africa
  • yemen
Informations on Cenchrus macrourus has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Cenchrus macrourus in information
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Impact information
African feather grass Cenchrus macrourus (Pennisetum macrourum) has an extensive root system making it a difficult species to remove. It produces a large amout of seeds which are easily dispersed by wind and can be carried on clothing. This means C. macrourus can be distributed to distant places where it may be difficult to control the species. It spreads quickly, crowding out native low growing plant species. It is also a fire hazard, can block waterways and prevent site access.

C. macrourus has the potential to become a major weed of production forestry, roadsides, coastlines, wetlands, amenity and urban areas in New Zealand according to Environment Bay of Plenty Regional Council (2005).
Red List assessed species 0:
Locations
Mechanism
[1] Competition
Outcomes
[1] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [1] Reduction in native biodiversity
Management information
An integration of preventative and control methods is critical in combating African feather grass infestations. Additional follow-up inspections of the infested region should also be regularly carried out. At present, a number of methods are available in controlling the spread of P . macrourum.

Preventative measures : Plantation of appropriate shrubs or trees may directly compete with the African feather grass for nutrients, water and light, and hence help with the ongoing management programs (DPIW, 2002).

Physical: Mechanical control such as excavation can be achieved with the use of a spade or excavator depending on the size of the infestation. It is important to ensure the complete removal of soil at the level of the rhizomes to prevent regeneration and regrowth (DPIW, 2002). Cultivation may be another viable strategy, as it disrupts the rhizome system, causing the sprouting of buds, which ultimately exhausting the plant of its energy (DPIW, 2002).

Chemical: Chemical control using herbicides may be the most effective form of management. Glyphosate and flupropanate are the most commonly used herbicides. Best time for herbicide application is from late spring to early autumn. Furthermore, the herbicide should completely cover the foliage to ensure effectiveness. It may be useful to first slash or burn away the plant material prior to application.

Bibliography
27 references found for Cenchrus macrourus

Management information
Australian Department of Primary Industries and Water, 2002. Weeds, Pests and Diseases. (Home > Weeds, Pests & Diseases > Weeds > African Feather Grass - Control Guide.)
Summary: African Feather Grass (Pennisetum macrourum Trin.) Control Guide.
Available from: http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/webpages/rpio-4zv89l?open [Accessed 20 April 2008]
Biosecurity New Zealand. 2007. National Plant Pest Accord (NPPA), NPPA Plant List
Summary: Available from: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests-diseases/plants/accord/plant-list.htm [Accessed 31 March 2008]
Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Victoria. 2008. African Feathergrass (Pennisetum macrourum) (Nox)
Summary: Available from: http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/vro/vrosite.nsf/pages/weeds_perennial_african_feathergrass [Accessed 31 March 2008]
Ecological Australia. 2007. Goulburn Mulwaree Biodiversity Strategy, FINAL DRAFT Volume 2: APPENDICES Report prepared for: Goulburn Mulwaree Shire Council (Project No. 145-001)
Summary: Available from: http://www.goulburn.nsw.gov.au/files/5132/File/GoulburnBiodiversityStrategyFINALDRAFTAppendices25.6.071.pdf [Accessed 31 March 2008]
Environment Bay of Plenty Regional Council (EBOP). 2005. African feather grass (Pennisetum macrourum)
Environment Bay of Plenty Regional Council (ENV BOP). 2005. Sustainable options, Pest Plant Control 07. African feather grass (Pennisetum macrourum)
Environment Canterbury (ECAN). 2003. Weed of the month: January 2003, African feather grass (Pennisetum macrourum)
Environment Waikato Regional Council (EW). 2002. Regional Pest Management Strategy 2002-2007. Plant Pests, Eradication (Service Delivery) Plant Pests 5.2.1 African Feather Grass (Pennisetum macrourum)
Froude, Victoria Ann., 2002. Biological control options for invasive weeds of New Zealand protected areas. Department of Conservation, SCIENCE FOR CONSERVATION 199
Summary: Available from: http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/science-and-technical/sfc199.pdf [Accessed 23 October 2009
Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC). 2002. Proposed Greater Wellington: Regional Pest Management Strategy 2002-2022
Marlborough Distric Council, undated. Weed Alert: African feather grass (Pennisetum macrourum)
Marlborough District Council, 2007. Total Control Pests, Total Control Plant Pests (Marlborough District Council Initiative)
Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk (PIER), 2008. Pennisetum macrourum Trin., Poaceae
Summary: Available from: http://www.hear.org/pier/species/pennisetum_macrourum.htm [Accessed 31 March 2008]
Proposed Pest Management Strategy for Otago 2006: Otago Regional Council 30 August 2006 ISBN 1 - 877265 - 37 - 3
Summary: Available from: http://www.orc.govt.nz/Documents/ContentDocuments/publications/pest_strategy/2006/intro.pdf [Accessed 31 March 2008]
Scott, J. K.; F. D. Panetta., 1993. Plant Distributions: From Willows to Weeds Predicting the Australian Weed Status of Southern African Plants. Journal of Biogeography, Vol. 20, No. 1. (Jan., 1993), pp. 87-93.
Varnham, K. 2006. Non-native species in UK Overseas Territories: a review. JNCC Report 372. Peterborough: United Kingdom.
Summary: This database compiles information on alien species from British Overseas Territories.
Available from: http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-3660 [Accessed 10 November 2009]
General information
Esler, A. E. and Sandra J. Astridge., 1987. The naturalisation of plants in urban Auckland, New Zealand 2. Records of introduction and naturalisation. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 1987, Vol. 25: 523-537
Summary: Available from: http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/CA256F310024B628/0/AC402BF3C585F5D1CA257058002CB62C/$File/Regional+Priority+Setting+for+Weed+Management+on+Public+Land+in+Victoria.pdf [Accessed 31 March 2008]
Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), 2008. Species: Pennisetum macrourum Trin.
Summary: Available from: http://data.gbif.org/species/13760718 [Accessed 15 June 2010]
Harradine, A.R., 1980. The biology of African feather grass (Pennisetum macrourum Trin.) in Tasmania, I. Seedling establishment. Weed Researeh, 1980, Volume 20. 165-169.
Harradine, A.R., 1982. Effect of Salinity on Germination and Growth of Pennisetum macrourum in Southern Tasmania. The Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol. 19, No. 1. (Apr., 1982), pp. 273-282.
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System), 2008. Online Database Pennisetum macrourum Trin.
Summary: An online database that provides taxonomic information, common names, synonyms and geographical jurisdiction of a species. In addition links are provided to retrieve biological records and collection information from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data Portal and bioscience articles from BioOne journals.
Available from: http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=504199 [Accessed 18 March 2008]
Searchable World Wide Web Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database. 2006.
Summary: On-line service provided to the community by Michel H. Porcher and friends with the cooperation of The University of Melbourne, Australia. (no access-charge)
Available from: http://www.plantnames.unimelb.edu.au/Sorting/Pennisetum.html [Accessed 20 April 2008]
The American Heritage� Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.
Summary: General names for this type of grass.
Available from: http://www.bartleby.com/61/20/S0612050.htmlh [Accessed 20 April 2008]
Contact
The following 0 contacts offer information an advice on Cenchrus macrourus
Cenchrus macrourus
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Recommended citation
(2021). Cenchrus macrourus. IUCN Environmental Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (EICAT).