Cenchrus ciliaris L. Buffel Grass
Mant.Pl.Altera 302 (1771)

Conservation Code: Not threatened
Naturalised Status: Alien to Western Australia
Name Status: Current

Brief Description
Grazyna Paczkowska, Monday 1 November 1993

Tufted or sometimes stoloniferous perennial, grass-like or herb, 0.2-1.5 m high. Fl. purple, Feb to Oct. White, red or brown sand, stony red loam, black cracking clay.

Distribution

Beard’s Provinces: Eremaean Province, Northern Province, South-West Province.

IBRA Regions: Avon Wheatbelt, Carnarvon, Central Kimberley, Central Ranges, Coolgardie, Dampierland, Gascoyne, Geraldton Sandplains, Gibson Desert, Great Sandy Desert, Little Sandy Desert, Murchison, Nullarbor, Ord Victoria Plain, Pilbara, Swan Coastal Plain, Tanami, Victoria Bonaparte, Yalgoo.

IBRA Subregions: Ashburton, Augustus, Avon Wheatbelt P1, Cape Range, Carnegie, Chichester, Eastern Goldfield, Eastern Murchison, Edel, Fitzroy Trough, Fortescue, Geraldton Hills, Hamersley, Hart, Lateritic Plain, Mackay, Mann-Musgrave Block, McLarty, Mount Eliza, Northern band, Carlisle, Ord, Ord-Victoria Plains P1, Pentecost, Perth, Pindanland, Roebourne, Rudall, Tanami P1, Trainor, Victoria Bonaparte P1, Western Murchison, Wooramel.

IMCRA Regions: Canning, Central West Coast, Kimberley, Northwest Shelf, Pilbara (nearshore), Pilbara (offshore), Shark Bay.

Local Government Areas (LGAs): Ashburton, Broome, Carnamah, Carnarvon, Chittering, Cocos Islands, Coolgardie, Derby-West Kimberley, East Pilbara, Exmouth, Greater Geraldton, Halls Creek, Irwin, Joondalup, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Karratha, Meekatharra, Menzies, Murchison, Ngaanyatjarraku, Northampton, Port Hedland, Shark Bay, Stirling, Upper Gascoyne, Wiluna, Wyndham-East Kimberley.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)
Kate Brown and Karen Bettink, Monday 18 July 2016

General Biology. Growth form. Grass. Life form. Perennial, caespitose. Reproduction. Seed, short rhizome. Dispersal. Primarily wind and water, also mammals (on skin and fur), birds, vehicles. Photosynthetic Pathway. C4. Seedbank persistence. 5+ years. Fire response. Resprouts. Heat may kill seeds, however buried or protected seed may survive and readily germinate in the post-fire environment.

Notes. Shade and fire tolerant. Adapted to frequent defoliation. Capable of changing fire frequency and intensity. Can begin producing seeds from approximately 3 months of age. Rhizomatous cultivars can produce seeds, but produce fewer numbers. Dormancy varies between climatic regions and can be broken by high temperatures. Germination rates are highest on the soil surface and can be poor and unpredictable particularly in low rainfall regions. Has developed resistance to some post-emergent herbicides.

Additional information. Origin. Africa, India and western Asia. History of use/introduction. Livestock forage, revegetation, erosion control. Similar exotic species. Cenchrus echinatus.

Suggested method of management and control. Cut out and physically remove small populations and seedlings. Entire plants with dormant buds must be removed. Spray with Verdict 6 L/ha (based on 500 L water/ha) + wetting agent or spot spray with 1% glyphosate six weeks after heavy rain. Follow-up with seedling control. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar TypeJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecComments
Dormant     YYY     
Active GrowthYYYYY   YYYY 
GerminationOOOOOOOYYY  Can germinate any time of year
FloweringYYY      YYY 
FruitingYYYY      YY 
Optimum TreatmentYYY       YY 

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.

 

References

  • Bhattarai, S.P., Fox, J. & Gyasi-Agyei, Y. (2008) Enhancing buffel grass seed germination by acid treatment for rapid vegetation establishment on railway batters. Journal of Arid Environments, 72: 255-262.
  • Bovey, R.W., Hein, H. & Meyer, R.E. (1984) Effect of herbicides on the production of common Buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris). Weed Science, 32: 8-12.
  • Brown, K. & Brooks, K. (2002) Bushland Weeds: A Practical Guide to their Management. Environmental Weeds Action Network, Greenwood.
  • Butler, D.W. & Fairfax, R.J. (2003) Buffel grass and fire in a Gidgee and Brigalow woodland: a case study from central Queensland. Ecological Management and Restoration, 4 (2): 120-125.
  • Daehler, C.C. & Goergen, E.M. (2003) Experimental restoration of an indigenous Hawaiian grassland after invasion by buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris). Restoration Ecology, 13 (2): 380-389.
  • Dixon, B., Dixon, K.W. & Barrett, M. (2001) Eradication of buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) on Airlie Island, Pilbara Coast, Western Australia. In Turning the tide: the eradication of invasive species. (eds. C.R Veitch & M.N Clout). IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland & Cambridge, UK.
  • Hacker, J.B. (1989) The potential for buffel grass renewal from seed in 16 year old buffel grass-siratro pastures in south-east Queensland. Journal of Applied Ecology, 26: 313-222.
  • Hacker, J.B. & Ratcliffe, D. (1989) Seed dormancy and factors controlling dormancy breakdown in buffel grass accessions from contrasting provenances. Journal of Applied Ecology, 26: 201-212.
  • Hauser, A.S. (2008) Pennisetum ciliare, In: Fire Effects Information System [Online]. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (producer). URL: http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/gbase/DATA/pf000179.htmwww.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ - Accessed September 2009. ..
  • Hodgkinson, K.C., Ludlow, M.M. & Mott, J.J. (1989) Comparitive response of the Savannah grasses Cenchrus ciliaris and Themeda triandra to defoliation. Oecologica, 79: 45-52.
  • Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. & Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. 2nd Edition. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park.
  • Jackson, J. (2005) Is there a relationship between herbaceous species richness and buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris). Austral Ecology, 30: 505-517.
  • Mayeux, H.S. & Hamilton, W.T. (1983) Response of Common Goldenweed (Isocoma coronopifolia) and Buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris) to fire and soil applied herbicides. Weed Science, 31 (3): 355-360.
  • Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (2008) Plant threats to Pacific ecosystems. URL: http://www.hear.org/pier/scinames.htm - Accessed January 2010.
  • Rutman, S. & Dickson, L. (2002) Management of buffelgrass on Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona, Invasive exotic species in the Sonoran region. University of Arizona Press, Arizona.
  • Swarbrick, J.T. & Skarratt, D.B. (1994) The bushweed 2 database of environmental weeds in Australia. The University of Queensland, Gatton College.
  • Winkworth, R.E. (1971) Longevity of buffel grass seed sown in an arid Australian range. Journal of Range Management, 24 (2): 141-145.

Project information and acknowledgements