Plant Assessment Form

Festuca myuros

Synonyms: Vulpia myuros

Common Names: rat-tail fescue; red-tailed fescue; sixweeksgrass; zorro annual fescue

Evaluated on: 2/10/05

List committee review date: 08/07/2005

Re-evaluation date:

Evaluator(s)

Elizabeth Brusati, project manager
California Invasive Plant Council
1442A Walnut St. #462, Berkeley, CA 94709
510-843-3902
edbrusati@cal-ipc.org
Joseph DiTomaso
University of California-Davis
Dept. Plant Sci., Mail Stop 4, Davis, CA 95616
530-754-8715
jmditomaso@ucdavis.edu

List commitee members

Joe DiTomaso
Alison Stanton
Joanna Clines
Cynthia Roye
Doug Johnson

General Comments

Much more common than Vulpia bromoides.
Removed second scientific name, Vulpia myuros, and added it to the synonym line 3/28/17. Ramona Robison

Table 2. Criteria, Section, and Overall Scores

Overall Score? Moderate
Alert Status? No Alert
Documentation? 3 out of 5
Score Documentation
1.1 ?Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes B Observational
Impact?
Four-part score BBBC Total Score
B
1.2 ?Impact on plant community B. Moderate Reviewed Scientific Publication
1.3 ?Impact on higher trophic levels B. Moderate Reviewed Scientific Publication
1.4 ?Impact on genetic integrity C. Minor/Low Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.1 ?Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance in establishment B. Moderate Other Published Material
Invasiveness?
Total Points
11 Total Score B
2.2 ?Local rate of spread with no management C. Stable Observational
2.3 ?Recent trend in total area infested within state C. Stable Observational
2.4 ?Innate reproductive potential
(see Worksheet A)
B. Moderate Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.5 ?Potential for human-caused dispersal B. Moderate Other Published Material
2.6 ? Potential for natural long-distance dispersal B. Occasional Other Published Material
2.7 ?Other regions invaded C. Already invaded Other Published Material
3.1 ?Ecological amplitude/Range
(see Worksheet C)
A. Widespread Other Published Material
Distribution?
Total Score A
3.2 ?Distribution/Peak frequency
(see Worksheet C)
A. High Observational

Table 3. Documentation

Scores are explained in the "Criteria for Categorizing Invasive Non-Native Plants that Threaten Wildlands".

Section 1: Impact
Question 1.1 Impact on abiotic ecosystem processes? B Observational
Identify ecosystem processes impacted:

Replacement of native perennial grasses with annuals such as Vulpia has increased the fire frequency.


Sources of information:

DiTomaso, observational


Question 1.2 Impact on plant community composition,
structure, and interactions?
B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify type of impact or alteration:

One of the many annual grasses that replaced perennial grasses in California (1). Contains 20 allelopathic chemicals that inhibit other plants (2). Population densities can be transient depending on the climate or disturbance. Populations increase following disturbance. Amixture of non-native grasses, including V. myuros, reduced seed output of the native perennial Nassella pulchra. This result was attributed to annuals outcompeting Nassella for water (3). In another California study, perennial grass seedling survival and above-ground biomass decreased and individuals became thinner (i.e., reduced weight-to-height ratio) with increasing V. myuros seeding density. V. myuros also significantly suppressed above-ground biomass and densities of weeds and had a more negative effect on weed densities than on native perennial grass densities (4).


Sources of information:

1. DiTomaso, J., and E. Healy. in prep. Weeds of California and Other Western States
2. An, M., J. E. Pratley, T. Haig. 2001. Phytotoxicity of vulpia residues: III. Biological activity of identified allelochemicals from Vulpia myuros. Journal of Chemical Ecology 27(2): 383-394
3. Hamilton, J. G., C. Holzapfel, and B. E. Mahall. 1999. Coexistence and interference between a native perennial grass and non-native annual grasses in California. Oecologia 121(4): 518-526.
4. Brown, C. S. and K. J. Rice (2000). The mark of zorro: Effects of the exotic annual grass Vulpia myuros on California native perennial grasses. Restoration Ecology 8(1): 10-17.


Question 1.3 Impact on higher trophic levels? B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify type of impact or alteration:

Barbed seed injure the mouths, eyes, and hide of grazing animals (1).


Sources of information:

1. Code, G. R. 1996. Why vulpia is a problem in Australian agriculture. Plant Protection Quarterly 11(SUPPL. 1): 202-204.


Question 1.4 Impact on genetic integrity? C Reviewed Scientific Publication

There is potential for hybridization with native Vulpia or Festuca spp. There are two native Vulpia and twelve Festuca in California (1). Natural hybrid have been recorded between V. myuros and F. rubra (native to CA) and F. nigrescens (not in CA) in England (2).


Sources of information:

1. Hickman, J. C. (ed.) 1993. The Jepson Manual, Higher Plants of California. University of California Press. Berkeley, CA
2. Ainscough, M. M., C. M. Barker, and C. A. Stace. 1986. Natural hybrids between Festuca and species of Vulpia section Vulpia. Watsonia 16(2): 143-152.


Section 2: Invasiveness
Question 2.1 Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance
in establishment?
C Observational
Describe role of disturbance:

Present in both disturbed and undisturbed open areas, but prefers a disturbed site.


Sources of information:

1. DiTomaso and Healy. 2006. Weeds of California. UC DANR Publ. #3488


Question 2.2 Local rate of spread with no management? C Observational
Describe rate of spread:

Populations fluctuate with season and disturbance. Overall it appears to be static.


Sources of information:

DiTomaso, observational.


Question 2.3 Recent trend in total area infested within state? C Observational
Describe trend:

Such a common annual grass that it is static in state.


Sources of information:

DiTomaso, observational.


Question 2.4 Innate reproductive potential? B Reviewed Scientific Publication
Describe key reproductive characteristics:

Cool season annual. Reproduces by seed. Seeds require an afterripening period of about 2-3 months and can then germinate whenever conditions become favorable. In California, most germination occurs in fall and early winter after the first significant rain of the season. Usually self-pollinated (1). Can produce prolific seeds and large seed banks (2). Seeds production has been recorded at 265, 000 seeds/square m, with 4800 seedlings emerged (3).


Sources of information:

1. DiTomaso, J., and E. Healy. in prep. Weeds of California and Other Western States
2. Code, G. R. 1996. Why vulpia is a problem in Australian agriculture. Plant Protection Quarterly 11(SUPPL. 1): 202-204.
3. Dowling, P. M. 1996. The ecology of vulpia. Plant Protection Quarterly 11(SUPPL. 1): 204-206.


Question 2.5 Potential for human-caused dispersal? B Other Published Material
Identify dispersal mechanisms:

Can disperse with human activities.


Sources of information:

1. DiTomaso and Healy. 2006. Weeds of California. UC DANR Publ. #3488


Question 2.6 Potential for natural long-distance dispersal? B Other Published Material
Identify dispersal mechanisms:

Can be dispersed by animals.


Sources of information:

1. DiTomaso and Healy. 2006. Weeds of California. UC DANR Publ. #3488


Question 2.7 Other regions invaded? C Other Published Material
Identify other regions:

Nearly wordwide. Present in most contiguous states, including all western states except Wyoming and Colorado, and a few central states (1). A problem in Australia (2). Scoring as C because already widespread in California.


Sources of information:

1. DiTomaso and Healy in prep
2. Code, G. R. 1996. Why vulpia is a problem in Australian agriculture. Plant Protection Quarterly 11(SUPPL. 1): 202-204.


Section 3: Distribution
Question 3.1 Ecological amplitude/Range? A Other Published Material

Throughout California, except possibly the Great Basin region, to 2000m. Present in disturbed and undisturbed open areas, including dry and seasonally wet sites, roadsides, rangeland, grassland, slopes, washes. In open areas in many plant communities, including chaparral and open woodland. Tolerates drought, some shade, very poor sandy soil, and acidic soil.


Sources of information:

1. DiTomaso and Healy. 2006. Weeds of California. UC DANR Publ. #3488


Question 3.2 Distribution/Peak frequency? A Observational
Describe distribution:

Annual grass very common to valley and foothill grasslands. Probably found in nearly every one.


Sources of information:

DiTomaso, observational
Joanna Clines, US Forest Service, observational


Worksheet A - Innate reproductive potential

Reaches reproductive maturity in 2 years or less Yes
Dense infestations produce >1,000 viable seed per square meter Yes
Populations of this species produce seeds every year. Yes
Seed production sustained over 3 or more months within a population annually No
Seeds remain viable in soil for three or more years No
Viable seed produced with both self-pollination and cross-pollination Yes
Has quickly spreading vegetative structures (rhizomes, roots, etc.) that may root at nodes No
Fragments easily and fragments can become established elsewhere No
Resprouts readily when cut, grazed, or burned No
Total points: 5
Total unknowns: 0
Total score: B?

Related traits:

Worksheet B - Arizona Ecological Types is not included here

Worksheet C - California Ecological Types

(sensu Holland 1986)
Major Ecological Types Minor Ecological Types Code?
Marine Systemsmarine systems
Freshwater and Estuarine lakes, ponds, reservoirs
Aquatic Systemsrivers, streams, canals
estuaries
Dunescoastal
desert
interior
Scrub and Chaparralcoastal bluff scrub
coastal scrub
Sonoran desert scrub
Mojavean desert scrub (incl. Joshua tree woodland)
Great Basin scrubC, 5% - 20%
chenopod scrub
montane dwarf scrub
Upper Sonoran subshrub scrub
chaparralB, 20% - 50%
Grasslands, Vernal Pools, Meadows, and other Herb Communitiescoastal prairieB, 20% - 50%
valley and foothill grasslandA, > 50%
Great Basin grassland
vernal poolC, 5% - 20%
meadow and seepD, < 5%
alkali playa
pebble plain
Bog and Marshbog and fen
marsh and swamp
Riparian and Bottomland habitatriparian forest
riparian woodlandD, < 5%
riparian scrub (incl.desert washes)D, < 5%
Woodlandcismontane woodlandB, 20% - 50%
piñon and juniper woodland
Sonoran thorn woodland
Forestbroadleaved upland forest
North Coast coniferous forest
closed cone coniferous forest
lower montane coniferous forestC, 5% - 20%
upper montane coniferous forestD, < 5%
subalpine coniferous forest
Alpine Habitatsalpine boulder and rock field
alpine dwarf scrub
Amplitude (breadth): A
Distribution (highest score): A

Infested Jepson Regions

Click here for a map of Jepson regions