Urochloa maxima - (Jacq.) R. Webster
Guineagrass
Other Common Names: guineagrass
Synonym(s): Panicum maximum Jacq.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Spanish Common Names: Yerba Guinea
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.139353
Element Code: PMPOA4K1E0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Grass Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Cyperales Poaceae Urochloa
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Panicum maximum
Taxonomic Comments: Many cultivars of the species exist.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 01Apr1996
Global Status Last Changed: 01Apr1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Native to tropical Africa and Madagascar and considered widely common. Occurs naturally in shady places, especially under canopy of trees and along river banks, but well adapted to a variety of conditions. (Widely introduced throughout the tropics [Leistner 1991] including New World nations of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil and the United States in Mississippi, Louisiana [Parsons 1972], Florida and Texas [Hitchcock and Chase 1950]. Also introduced to India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Sarawak, the Phillipines and Hawaii [Okeagu 1991]. Ca. 2.4 million ha of rain forest has been replaced by improved pastures of guineagrass in the Brazilian Amazon over the last 20 years [Serrao 1981]).
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (SNA), Arizona (SNA), California (SNA), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNR), Hawaii (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Texas (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Native of tropical and sub-tropical Africa. Natural populations occur in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Madagascar (Leistner 1991 and Pernes, Combes, Rene-Chaume and Savidaan 1975) and likely elsewhere. Widely introduced throughout the tropics (Leistner 1991) including New World nations of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Brazil and the United States in Mississippi, Louisiana (Parsons 1972), Florida and Texas (Hitchcock and Chase 1950). Successfully introduced to India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Sarawak, the Phillipines and Hawaii (Okeagu 1991).

Population Size Comments: Abundant over a broad range.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: The species is not threatened. Adapted to many habitats. Widely common in its native range.

Short-term Trend Comments: Its establishment in the West Indies apparently dates from the seventeenth century. In 1684 Hans Sloan, founder of the British Museum, collected and described a "Scotch grass" in Barbados, and later Jamaica (Sloane, 1707 in Parsons 1972), indicating both cultivated and wild populations occurring in the north side of Jamaica and in the part of Barbadoes called Scotland. Thought to have been introduced in 1740-41 by the captain of a slave ship who had intended it for use as bird seed. P. maximum was first described in 1786 from a specimen collected in Guadeloupe. Reached Mississippi, USA, by 1813. Introduced to New Granada (Colombia) from Jamaica in 1797 (Restrepo 1963 in Parsons 1972) for use as bird seed. There, large scale cultivation was initiated in the area of Guaduas (Cundinamarca) in the middle Magdalena Valley in the 1830's where it created a major land-use revolution. From Jamaica it reached Central America during the mid 1800's when extensive planted pastures of Guinea grass began to appear in Guatemala and were reportedly introduced by way of the Soconusco coast of Chiapas (Esponda 1888 in Parsons 1972). Introduced to Costa Rica in 1885 (Pittier 1957 in Parsons 1972). It has also been suggested (Chase 1944 in Parsons 1972) that it was probably introduced as bedding on slave ships, establishing itself wherever such vessels unloaded. No mention was found concerning a change in the abundance of this species in its native range over time.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Native of tropical and sub-tropical Africa. Natural populations occur in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Madagascar (Leistner 1991 and Pernes, Combes, Rene-Chaume and Savidaan 1975) and likely elsewhere. Widely introduced throughout the tropics (Leistner 1991) including New World nations of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Brazil and the United States in Mississippi, Louisiana (Parsons 1972), Florida and Texas (Hitchcock and Chase 1950). Successfully introduced to India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Sarawak, the Phillipines and Hawaii (Okeagu 1991).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ALexotic, AZexotic, CAexotic, FLexotic, GA, HIexotic, LAexotic, TXexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Grass in tufts, 0.5-4.5 m tall.
General Description: A tufted perennial, often with shortly creeping rhizome, from 60-200 cm high, leaf-blades up to 35 mm wide and tapering to a fine point; panicle 12-40 cm long, open spikelets 3-3.5 mm long, obtuse, mostly purple red, glumes unequal, the lower one being one-third to one-fourth as long as the spikelet, lower floret usually male (Chippendall 1955 in Skerman and Riveros 1990). Upper floret (seed) distinctly transversely wrinkled (Skerman and Riveros 1990).
Technical Description: Usually perennial; loosely to densely tufted (erect and geniculate, rooting at the nodes); to 2000 mm tall. Leaf blades 60-400(-1000) mm long; 4-12(-35) mm wide. Spikelets 2.5-3.0(-4.0) mm long. Inflorescence usually much branched with secondary branches well developed and flexuous; spikelets blunt or acute, rounded on the back, cartilaginous; the closed spikelet has many nerves clearly visible on the lemma of the lower floret; lower floret usually male with the palea well developed; female-fertile (upper) lemma pale and conspicuously transversely rugose (Leistner 1991).
Duration: PERENNIAL
Reproduction Comments: Although P. maximum reproduces by apospory and pseudogamy, extensive cytological work by Warmke (1954) and Brown and Emery (1958) on apospory and Hanna et al. (1973) on pseudogamy has shown it to be a facultative apomict. Estimates showed that 1%-5% sexuality might be common in experimenetal material (Usberti and Jain 1978). Flowering occurred throughout the year at a study site in the Phillipines which included various cultivars of P. maximum. There, spikelets were recorded to open in the evening. Spikelets of cultivars Colonial, King Ranch #2, Common and Green Panic all opened at about 10 pm. One unknown cultivar opened at about 6 pm. The same study showed that on average, the blooming period lasted only 80 minutes, and highest seed yields were obtained 12-14 days from panicle emergence (Javier 1970). Another study concluded that the period from initial panicle emergence to the time when a maximum number of emerged panicles is reached varies from 26-36 days. The production of pure live seeds per unit of area is related to the percentage of open emerged panicles at harvest time (Maschietto 1981). A report produced in Australia (Skerman and Riveros 1990) notes seeding of Guinea grass to occur in autumn. Wang, 1961 (in Skerman and Riveros 1991), reports the species to be a short-day plant. Seed appears to remain viable for several years in the soil (Judd 1974). One record published in Australia notes that floodwaters, birds and road graders have assisted in spreading coarse guinea in many areas (Teitzel and Harding 1972).
Known Pests: CLAVICEPS MAXIMENSIS (ERGOT), PHYLLOSTICTA PANICI (BLACK LINEAR LEAF SPOT), CERCOSPORA FUSIMACULOSUS (LEAFSPOT), EUSCYRUS CONCINNUS, APHIS CRACCIVORA, FUSARIUM SPP. AND USTILAGO SP. (SMUT).
Ecology Comments: P. maximum is adapted to a mean annual rainfall of between 700-1700 mm per year. Mean temperature for the coldest month where P. maximum occurs ranges from 5.4-14.2 degrees C and optimum temperature for growth is 19.1-22.9 degrees C (Russell & Webb 1976 in Skerman and Riveros 1990). It will not tolerate heavy frosts, but recovers from light frosts with the return of warm weather (Skerman and Riveros 1990). Not resistant to more than occasional light frosts and dies out rapidly under close continuous grazing (Judd 1974). Continuous grazing results in rapid sward deterioration (Okeagu 1991). Guinea cannot be grazed below 35 cm, or it will recover slowly (Skerman and Riveros 1990). P. maximum is tolerant of shade and fire (FAO Tropical Feeds Database). It successfully grows under plantations (Okeagu 1991). One of the outstanding features of green panic (a cultivar of P. maximum) is its ability to grow in partial shade (Skerman and Riveros 1990). A study in the vicinity of Fort Victoria, Australia which explored productivity of P. maximum under closed canopy, open canopy and in open grassland showed consistently that dry matter yield was highest in sites under open canopies (Kennard and Walker 1973). Results of a 4 year experiment (Waidyanatha, Wijesinghe and Stauss 1984) in Sri Lanka for shade tolerance of P. maximum under a cultivated stand of Hevea brasiliensis (planted a year before experiment's initiation as budding stumps at a spacing of 4.3x4.9m) showed a decline in annual dry matter yield of P. maximum between the first year (dry matter yield was 11,132 kg ha-1) and last year (2180 kg ha-1 yielded). P. maximum is drought resistant, but will not stand long periods of complete desiccation (Judd 1974). Does not grow in sites liable to prolonged waterlogging or flooding (Russel and Webb 1976 in Skerman and Riveros 1990).
Habitat Comments: Native habitat is grassland, open woodland and shady places (Leistner 1991). In the U.S. occurs in fields and waste places (Hitchcock 1950).
Economic Attributes
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Economic Uses: FORAGE/BROWSE, Pasture, Silage/grain
Economic Comments: P. maximum has provided an excellent fodder. Large scale cultivation of the species is done in South and Central America and the West Indies (Okeagu 1991). In Hitchcock, 1950, it is considered to be the most important cultivated forage grass of tropical America. It has been introduced throughout the tropics and subtropics on all continents and has escaped cultivation in many areas. It is also a major weed in sugar cane fields, due to its ability to grow under poor conditions. It can be killed by a pre-emergent spray of 2.4-D sodium salt at 4.5 kg/ha of an 840 g AI/kg product (eg Hormicide). No wetting agent is required when used as a pre-emergent spray. Use a minimum of 340 litres of water per hectare. For seedlings in the five-leaf stage, use Diuron at 2.5 kg/ha of an 800 g AI/kg product (Karmex, Diuron) applied in a minimum of 340 litres of water per hectare. For mature plants use 2.2-DPA at 2.3kg of a 740 g AI product (Shirpon, Dowpon) plus paraquat at 85 ml of a 200 g AI/litre product (e.g. Gramoxone) plus wetting agent at 250 ml per 200 litres of water. Spray to the point of runoff (Tilley 1977 in Skerman and Riveros 1990). Spraying young coarse guinea (a cultivar of P. maximum) plants with paraquat or dalapon also gives effective control. Frequent slashing, together with competition from more vigorous pasture plants, has also given some control (Teitzel and Harding 1972).
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 09Apr1996
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Jaster, T. (TNC-LASP)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 11Apr1996
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): JASTER, T. (TNC-LASP)

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Dhaliwal, J.S. and B.S. Sidhu. 1981. New Record of Aphis craccivora Koch. on guinea grass. Forage Res. 7:221.

  • Hitchcock, A. S. 1950. Manual of Grasses of the U. S. USDA Misc. Publ. #200.

  • Hitchcock, A. S. and A. Chase. 1950. Manual of the grasses of the United States, second edition. USDA miscellaneous Publication No. 200. United States Government Printing Office, Washington. 1051 pp.

  • Javier, E.Q. 1970. The flowering habits and mode of reproduction of Guinea grass (Panicum maximum Jacq.). XI International Grassland Congress, M.J.T. Norman, ed. Queensland, Australia.

  • Judd, I.B. 1974. New World tropical forage grasses and their management. World Crops. November/December.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Kennard, D.G. and B.H. Walker. 1973. Relationships between tree canopy cover and Panicum maximum in the vicinity of Fort Victoria. Rhod. J. Agric. Res. 11(2): 145-153.

  • Leistner, O.A. (ed.). 1991. Grasses of Southern Africa. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa no. 58. National Botanic Gardens, South Africa.

  • Lopez, C.V. and J.V. Santos. 1981. Estudio Sobre Productividad del Pasto Saboya en la Costa Ecuatoriana. Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia. Quito, Ecuador.

  • Maschietto, J.C. 1981. Seed production problems in guinea grass (Panicum maximum Jacq.). Rev. Bras. Sem., Brasilia, DF, 3(1):117-121.

  • Okeagu, M.U. 1991. Title unknown. World Review of Animal Production. 26(1): 87-90.

  • Parsons, James J. 1972. Spread of African Pasture Grasses to the American Tropics. Journal of Range Management. 25 (1):12-17.

  • Pernes, J., D. Combes, R. Rene-Chaume, Y. Savidaan. 1975. Biologie et populations naturelles du Panicum maximum. Cah. O.R.S.T.O.M., Ser. Biol. 10(2):77-89.

  • Serrao, E.A.S. 1981. Pasture research results in the Brazilian Amazon. Proceedings of the XIV International Grasslands Congress.

  • Skariah, B.P. and N.M. Das. 1981. Relative toxicity of some of the newer insecticides to adults of Euscyrtus concinnus. Haan. Agri. Res. J. Kerala. 19(1):113-115.

  • Skerman, P.J., and F. Riveros. 1990. Tropical Grasses. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur, India.

  • Teitzel, J.K. and W.A.T. Harding. 1972. Coarse guinea grass is a weed. Queensland Agricultural Journal. 98(6):295-298.

  • Usberti, J.A. and S.K. Jain. 1978. Variation in Panicum maximum: A comparison of sexual and asexual populations. Botanical Gazette. 139(1):112-116.

  • Waidyanatha, U.P. de S., D.S. Wijesinghe and R. Stauss. 1984. Zero-grazed pasture under immature Hevea rubber: Productivity of some grasses and grass-legume mixtures and their competition with Hevea. Tropical Grasslands 18(1): 21-26.

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