Interim profile, incomplete information
Taxonomic name: Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.
Synonyms: Capriola dactylon (L.) Kuntze [Cynodon dactylon var. dactylon], Cynodon aristiglumis Caro & Sánchez, Cynodon coursii A. Camus [Cynodon dactylon var. coursii], Cynodon dactylon var. densus Hurcombe, Cynodon incompletus auct. non Nees, Cynodon polevansii Stent [Cynodon dactylon var. polevansii], Digitaria stolonifera Schrad. [Cynodon dactylon var. dactylon], Panicum dactylon L. [Cynodon dactylon var. dactylon]
Common names: arampandrotra (Madagascar), Australian couch (English), Bahama grass (English), balama grass (English), bamyudaa gurasu (Japanese), Bermuda grass, Bermudagras (German), chiendent (French-New Caledonia), chiendent (French), chiendent dactyle (French), chiendent pied-de-poule (French), common bermuda grass, couch grass (English), devil grass, devil's grass (English), enua (Maori-Cook Islands), fandrahana (Madagascar), fandropalana (Madagascar), fandrotrarana (Madagascar), fandrotsana (Madagascar), galud-galud (Ilocano), gewonekweek (Afrikaans), grama (English), grama brava (Spanish), grama dulce (Spanish), grama rastera (Spanish), grama-seda, gramigna comune (Italian), gramilla (Spanish), gramilla brava (Spanish), gramilla Italiana (Spanish), grand chiendent (French), gros chiendent (French), gyougishiba (Japanese), Handjesgras (Dutch), herbe de couverture (French), herbes des Bermudes (French), hierba Bermuda (Spanish), hierba fina (Spanish), Hundszahngras (German), Indian doab (English), kabuta (Fijian), kambuta (Fijian), kawad-kawaran (Filipino), kindresy (Madagascar), kulatai (Tagalog), manienie, mosie molulu (Niuean), motie molulu (
), motie molulu (Niuean), nienie (Hawaiian), nienie haole (Hawaiian), paja de la virgen (Spanish), palo delgado (Spanish), pasto Argentina (Spanish), pasto Bermuda (Spanish), pasto de gallina (Spanish), pasto de las Bermudas (Spanish), pata de perdiz (Spanish), pelo de conejo (Spanish), pied de poule (French), quick grass (English), scutch grass (English), star grass (English), ya phaet (Thai), ya phraek (Thai), zacate de aguijilla (Spanish), zacate de Bermuda (Spanish), zacate de conejo (Spanish), zacate de gallina (Spanish), zacate gallina (Spanish)
Organism type: grass
Cynodon dactylon is adapted to survive both extended dry periods and flooding conditions. It is a potential agricultural weed and a commonly used as a lawn grass.
A short-lived, prostrate, fine-leaved perennial grass that spreads by strong, flat stolons and scaly rhizomes to form a dense turf; stolons root readily at the nodes; culms erect or ascending, 5 to 45 cm (rarely to 90 or even 130 cm) tall, wiry, smooth, sometimes reddish, leaf sheaths up to 15 mm long, shorter than internodes, smooth; ligule a conspicuous ring of white hairs; blades 2 to 16 cm long, 3 to 5 mm wide, smooth or hairy on upper surface; inflorescence of three to seven sometimes purplish spikes in one whorl, in a fingerlike arrangement (digitately), 3 to 10 cm long, or in robust forms spikes up to 10, sometimes in two whorls; spikelets 2 to 3 mm long, in two rows tightly appressed to one side of the rachis; lemma boat-shaped, acute with fringe of hairs on the keel, longer than the glume; seed (grain) very small, 1.5 mm long, oval, straw-colored to orange-red, free within the lemma and palea" (Holm et al. 1977, in PIER 2008).
Creeping perennial grass, rooting at the nodes either on the surface of the ground (stolons) or underground (white rhizomes); culms slightly flattened, prostrate or somewhat ascending or erect; inflorescence purplish, digitate; leaf-blades short, usually 3 to 10 cm long, 3 to 6 cm wide, the edges rough. Spikes 2 to 6, often 5 or 4, 2.5 to 7 cm long. Spikelets imbricate, sessile, up to 3 mm long. Lemma longer than either glume (Stone 1970, in PIER 2008).
range/grasslands, riparian zones, water courses, wetlands
Cynodon dactylon is a warm-season grass which grows slowly in cold weather, in shade or in dry soils. Grows in a range of soils from sand to heavy clay to poor soil; thrives best in medium to heavy moist and well drained soil. Grows in either acid or alkaline conditions and survives floods and drought (through regrowth from underground rhizomes). May be found in the tropics in areas with 600 to 1800 mm of annual rainfall. May be found in arid regions thriving along rivers and in irrigated areas (Holm et al. 1977, in PIER 2008). Found in lower altitudes throughout warm regions of the world (Wiggins & Porter 1971, in PIER 2008).
Cultivated in Hawaii; grows along roadsides and in exposed rocky or sandy sites up to 2270 meters in altitude (Wagner et al. 1999, in PIER 2008). Widespread and common in Fiji especially near roadsides, riversides and hillsides to an altitude of 850 meters. Sometimes forms dense mats on the upper parts of beaches and near mangrove swamps (Smith 1979, in PIER 2008). Cultivated on lawns in Tonga (Yuncker 1959, in PIER 2008). A common roadside, lawn grass and plantation weed in New Guinea found to an altitude of at least 1800 meters (Henty & Pritchard 1975, in PIER 2008).
In a risk assessment prepared for Australia C. dactylon scored a total of 5. It is highly suited to the Australian climates and is native or naturalised in areas with extended dry periods. It is an agricultural weed, toxic to animals and a known host of pathogens and pests (PIER 2001).
Used for environmental purposes (erosion control; lawn/turf), animal food (fodder; forage) and medicines (USDA-ARS 2004). Frequently used for lawns and pastures (Wiggins & Porter 1971, in PIER 2008).
Old world, apparently originally from southern Europe, now common world-wide as a lawn and pasture grass (PIER 2008).
Local dispersal methods
Natural dispersal (local): Propagates via runners and rhizomes.
Bermuda grass reproduces by seed. It may propagate by seed or by vegetative fragmentation via runners and rhizomes. Warm moist conditions promote the production of up to 230 seeds per panicle (Perez & Labrada 1985). Seeds germinate at temperatures above 20°C (Burton Undated, in PIER 2008) and germination takes place within the next two weeks.The complete cycle from germination to seed production takes around four months (Perez & Labrada 1985, in PIER 2008).
Compiled by: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the EU-funded South Atlantic Invasive Species project, coordinated by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Last Modified: Monday, 16 August 2010