Galapagos Species Checklist


Pennisetum purpureum

Schumach.

Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Plantae
Division Magnoliophyta
Class Liliopsida (= Monocotyledoneae)
Order Cyperales
Family Poaceae
Genus Pennisetum

Pennisetum purpureum  Schumach.

 

English common name: Elephant grass, napier grass

Spanish common name: pasto elefante

Local name: pasto elefante

Taxonomic comments: Syn.: Amphochaeta exaltata Andersson, Pennisetum exaltatum (Andersson) Hook.f. ex Jacks. fide Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew & Missouri Botanical Garden (2010)

Name status: Accepted name; taxon occurs in Galapagos.

Description: Elephant grass is a tall, 2-5 m high, perennial grass. It grows in loose tussocks with short rhizomes. Reproduction is mainly vegetative via rhizomes. The grass is very resistant to drought and provides poor quality forrage for cattle.

A perennial grass that can grow up to 6 m in height. Reproduction is primarily vegetative via horizontal stems that produce roots. The grass is drought resistant and used as fodder for livestock.

Year of first record: 1966

Last updated: 16 Oct 2017

Origin

  • In
    Introduced
  • Na
    Native

  • Ac
    Accidental
  • Cu
    Cultivated
  • Er
    Eradicated
  • Es
    Escaped

    Taxon introduced for agricultural or domestic use; naturalized in the wild.

  • Ic
    Intercepted
  • AcQ
    Questionable Accidental
  • NaQ
    Questionable Native

Distribution

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Galapagos island groups: Floreana, Isabela, San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz.

Floreana, Isabela, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, originally from tropical Africa.

Preference for altitude zone in Galapagos: Humid zone.

Native range: Tropical Africa

Distribution classification: Eutropical.


Please be aware that this distribution map is automatically generated from database records (CDF and external specimens, literature records, and observations) and may not accurately reflect the currently-known distribution for all species.

General Ecology

Habitat preferences: Prefers open areas at mid-elevations with full sunlight. Often found in and around cultivated and previously cultivated areas. Tolerates a wide variety of soil types from poorly-drained clay soils to highly-drained sandy soils.

Trophic role: Primary producer (autotroph: an organism that does not require organic matter to feed on but is capable to produce its own energy).

Growth form: Perennial herbs.

Reproductive biology: Reproduction is primarily vegetative via rhizomes that produce roots. Elephant grass can also effectively reproduce by seeds, but is often inconsistent in seed production and seeds have a high rate of inviability.

Reproduction mode: Predominantly asexual (reproduction mostly through asexual means, rarely becoming fertile).

Dispersal mechanism: Wind dispersed.

Dispersal propagule: Seed.
Disperses with seeds, but may also propagate via rhizomes and cuttings.

Economic use: Used as fodder for livestock.

Invasion Ecology

Aggressive status: Transformer (An introduced species that is in the process of drastically, fundamentally and often irreversibly changing natural habitat.).

Form of introduction: Intentional introduction.

Impact in Galapagos: This species forms dense thickets that are difficult to penetrate and exclude most other vegetation. It is cited as a major problem in the Galápagos due to the vast areas which it occupies. However, it can also prevent other weeds from germinating and planting of this grass can be useful as an intermediary step in the forest restoration projects as it can be removed later with grass specific herbicides.

Known pest elsewhere: Extensive

Impact elsewhere: This species forms dense stands, which are hard for other species to germinate through.

Persistence mechanisms: Elephant grass can resprout from both cuttings and rhizomes. If all cuttings and rhizomes are not completely removed from the soil, regrowth can occur.

Management

Control methods elsewhere: Mechanical & Chemical: Cutting/mowing or burning is effective if followed up with grass-specific herbicide treatment of regrowth. Mechanical: Frequent mowing can lead to replacement of elephant grass by other grasses. Chemical: Grass-specific herbicides are useful for its control.

Indicator

Temperature tolerance: Wide range (adapted to a wide range of temperatures).

Continentality: Continental (Distribution of a terrestrial species far away from the ocean.).

Light tolerance: Heliophytic (an indicator of moderately light-exposed habitats).

Precipitation preference: Wide range (adapted to a wide range of rainfall).

Adaptation to substrate moisture: Wide range (adapted to a wide range of substrate moisture).

Exposure tolerance: Wide range (adapted to a wide range of light-, rain-, wind-exposure).

Literature

  • Andersson, N.J. (1855) Om Galápagos Öarnes Vegetation. Kongliga Svenska Vetenskaps Akademien Handl., Stockholm: 61-256.
  • Atkinson, I. A. E. (1987) Algunas consideraciones sobre la cartografía y clasificación de la vegetación en las Islas Galápagos. Memorias. Taller de Investigación Botánica y Manejo en Galápagos. Pg. 114- 131.
  • Chen, J., Craven, L.A. (2007) Flora of China. Flora of China 13: 321–328. http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=10599
  • Clavijo, P., Valdebenito, H. & Hurtado, F. (1991) Plantas introducidas en las areas urbanas de las islas Galapagos. Typescript reports in files of Botany Dept.
  • Guerrero, A., Tye, A. (2009) Darwin's Finches as seed predators and dispersers. The Wilson Journal Of Ornithology 121 (4):752-764, 2009
  • Guézou, A., Trueman, M., Buddenhagen, E., Chamorro, S., Guerrero, A.M., Pozo, P., Atkinson, R. (2010) An extensive Alien Plan Inventory from the Inhabited Areas of Galapagos Plos One/ www.plosone.org. Volume 5/ Issue 4/e10276
  • Hamann, O. (1984) Changes and threats to the vegetation. In: Perry, R. (ed.) Key Environments: Galapagos. Pergamon Press, Oxford, p. 115-131.
  • Jaramillo, P. (1998) Distribución Espacial de la Vegetación Vascular y Dispersión de Especies Introducidas dentro del Parque Nacional Galápagos. Tesis de Doctorado en Biología, Universidad Central del Ecuador. Especialización ECOLOGIA DE POBLACIONES.
  • Jaramillo, P. (1999) Impact of Human Activities on the Native Plant Life in Galapagos National Park. Galapagos Report, 50-55 (Eds P. Ospina and E. Muñóz.). Quito-Ecuador: Fundación Natura and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
  • Jaramillo, P. (1999) Impacto de las Actividades Humanas sobre las comunidades de plantas nativas en el Parque Nacional Galápagos. Informe Galápagos, 50-55 (Eds P. Ospina and E. Muñóz). Quito-Ecuador: Fundación Natura y el Fondo Mundial para la Naturaleza (WWF).
  • Jaramillo, P. (2000) Plantas amenazadas y medidas de conservación en varias islas del archipiélago. Informe Galápagos, 70-76 (Eds P. Ospina and E. Muñoz.). Quito-Ecuador: Fundación Natura y el Fondo Mundial para la Naturaleza (WWF).
  • Laegaard, S., García, P.P. (2004) Invasive grasses in the Galapagos Islands. Lyonia, 6(2):171-175.
  • Lawesson, J.E. (s.a.) Pers. obs. field notes, collections 1985-7.
  • Lawesson, J.E. (1987) Plantas exóticas en las Islas Galápagos, un resumen. Memorias. Taller sobre investigación Botánica y manejo en Galápagos. Pg. 17-23.
  • Lawesson, J.E., Ortiz, L. (1987) Plantas Introducidas en las Islas Galápagos Memorias. Investigación Botánica y Manejo en Galápagos. Pg.224-235
  • MacDonald, I. A. W. (1987) Estrategias para limitar la invasión de organismos introducidos a las áreas protegidas Memorias. Investigación Botánica y Manejo en Galápagos. Pg.210-223
  • Restrepo, A., Bush, M., Correa-Metrio, A., Conroy, J., Gardener, M. R., Jaramillo, P., Steinitz-Kannan, M., Overpeck, J. & Colinvaux, P. (2011) Impacts of climate variability and human colonization on the vegetation of the Galápagos Islands. Ecology: 1-42.
  • Rosenberg, D. (1987) Impacto de los herbívoros introducidos sobre el Pacha y de Galápagos (Laterallus spilonotus) Memorias. Investigación Botánica y Manejo en Galápagos. Pg.188-198
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Missouri Botanical Garden (eds.) (2013) The Plant List, Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; http://www.theplantlist.org/ (accessed 1st January).
  • Schofield, E.K. (1984) Plants of the Galapagos Islands. Field Guide and Travel Journal. Universe Books, New York, 159 pp.
  • Stewart, A. (1911) A botanical survey of the Galápagos Islands. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 4th Series, 1: 7-288.
  • Tapia, W., Jaramillo, P. (1999) Las especies introducidas agresivas en las islas Galápagos y medidas tomadas para su control. El Parquero. 40 años del Parque Nacional Galápagos, 14-16.
  • Tropicos.org. (2017) Database of Missouri Botanical Garden. Tropicos.org. Missouri Botanical Garden. 06 Oct 2017
  • Wiggins, I.L., Porter, D.M. (1971) Flora of the Galapagos Islands Standford University Press, Stanford.