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Cenchrus pedicellatus

Description
 

Annual Mission Grass (Cenchrus pedicellatus) is a tufted annual with slender stems that grows up to 1-1.5 m tall. The stems are more or less straight, but sometimes rooting at the lower nodes. The leaf blades are up to 45 cm long, up to 1.8 cm wide, and hairy or hairless. There is a ring of hairs at the base of the leaf blades (Miller 2006; Northern Territory Department of Land Resource Management 2012).

The spikelike flowering stems appear well above the leaves and are 5-15 cm or sometimes up to 20 cm long. They are dense, cylindrical and cream-coloured with a purple tinge. The seeds have bristles and dense woolly hairs (Dhanji 2009).

For further information and assistance with identification of Annual Mission Grass contact the herbarium in your state or territory.

Distribution:

In Australia, Annual Mission Grass occurs in the northern part of Western Australia, in many parts of the Northern Territory and in northern and eastern Queensland. It is a weed in many areas of the tropics. In India, Annual Mission Grass is used as a pasture grass (CRC for Australian Weed Management 2008).

Habit:Grass
Key points:
  • Annual Mission Grass (Cenchrus pedicellatus) is an annual grass up to 1.5 m tall.
  • It grows in disturbed sites such as degraded pastures, roadsides and along streams and is a weed in grain sorghum crops.
  • It is native to tropical Africa and is naturalised in the tropical parts of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.
  • It spreads by its light and fluffy seeds that can be transported by wind, water, animals and machinery.
  • Annual Mission Grass can be controlled by grubbing and herbicide application.
How it spreads:

The seeds of Annual Mission Grass are light and fluffy and can be transported by humans, birds, other animals, vehicles and machinery, as well as by water and wind. They can also be spread as a contaminant in hay and grains (Smith 2002; CRC for Australian Weed Management 2008; Northern Territory Department of Land Resource Management 2012).

Where it grows:

Annual Mission Grass grows on disturbed sites such as degraded pastures, cultivated land, roadsides and waste sites (Northern Territory Department of Land Resource Management 2012). Since it grows well on soils with good moisture conditions, it also tends to invade creeklines (Dhanji 2009). It often colonises areas where the perennial Mission Grass, Cenchrus polystachios, has previously been eradicated (Setterfield et al. 2006).

Flower colour:

Cream-coloured to purplish.

Distribution map: http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Cenchrus+pedicellatus
Impacts:

Annual Mission Grass is a problematic weed in grain sorghum crops. It invades disturbed areas, degraded pastures and waste sites, but can also invade native vegetation (CRC for Australian Weed Management 2008; Northern Territory Department of Land Resource Management 2012).

Origin:

Annual Mission Grass is native to tropical Africa (Northern Territory Department of Land Resource Management 2012).

History:

Annual Mission Grass was probably first introduced from Uganda to Australia in the 1940s to be tested as a pasture grass. In the 1950s it had spread from trial sites. By 1970, it had already spread over large parts of northern Australia (Setterfield et al. 2006).

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This database is designed to provide information, including biological and ecological, on invasive plant species that are on a national weed list, or are legislated against in a state or territory. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. For further information on the images contained in the database please contact the copyright owner. All images in the weed identification tool are managed by the Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Various copyright conditions apply for these images. For further information on the copyright conditions of images contained in the database please contact the APII at: photo@anbg.gov.au.