The Bugwood Network

Itchgrass

Domestic Programs Pest Evaluation. Arthur E. Miller, USDA-APHIS-PPQ, AERO, Raleigh, NC. November 16, 2001

Scientific name: Rottboellia cochinchinensis (Lour.) Clayton (Poaceae)

Physical description: Itchgrass is a tall annual grass with prop-roots. Stems and leaves are covered with stiff, irritating, setaceous hairs. Inflorescence is a jointed raceme 3-15 cm long, cylindrical, with upper spikelets becoming reduced.

Origin and North American Distribution: Itchgrass is native to the Old World tropics, widespread in tropical Asia and the Pacific Islands. It now occurs in Africa, Australia, the Caribbean area, Central America, and northern South America. In the U.S. it has been found in AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, PR, SC, and TX.

Quarantines: Itchgrass is a Federal Noxious Weed and regulated by several states.

Dispersal: Seeds are spread along railroads and highways.

Control: Property managers and cooperators may use these strategies:

Cultural Control. Cultivation and burning.

Chemical Control. Several herbicides can be used.

Biological Control. Insects, nematodes, and pathogens are possible agents.

Economic impact: Itchgrass is an aggressive weed of corn, cotton, peanut, soybean, and sugarcane. Hairs on the plant break off in flesh and cause severe irritation, making this grass a poor fodder and annoying to field workers.

Environmental impact: It invades and disrupts native plant communities. It is unpalatable for herbivorous wildlife.

Benefits of control: Agricultural, forest, urban and natural areas benefit can from control and prevention of further spread of this FNW.


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USDA Forest ServiceUSDA APHIS PPQThe Bugwood Network University of Georgia Bargeron, C.T., D.J. Moorhead, G.K. Douce, R.C. Reardon & A.E. Miller
(Tech. Coordinators). 2003. Invasive Plants of the Eastern U.S.:
Identification and Control. USDA Forest Service - Forest Health
Technology Enterprise Team. Morgantown, WV USA. FHTET-2003-08.