Plant Assessment Form

Pennisetum setaceum

Synonyms: Pennisetum ruppelii, Phalaris setaceum

Common Names: crimson fountain grass; purple fountain grass; tender fountain grass

Evaluated on: 8/3/04

List committee review date: 27/08/2004

Re-evaluation date:

Evaluator(s)

Cynthia L. Roye, Associate State Park Resource Ecologist
California State Parks
P.O. Box 942896, Sacramento, CA 94296-0001
(916) 653-9083
croye@parks.ca.gov

List commitee members

Cynthia Roye
Joe DiTomaso
Peter Warner
Alison Stanton
John Randall
Jake Sigg

General Comments

Actual data regarding frequensy of occurrence in California plant communities lacking.

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 Reviewed Scientific Publication
Impact?
Four-part score BABD Total Score
B
1.2 ?Impact on plant community A. Severe Reviewed Scientific Publication
1.3 ?Impact on higher trophic levels B. Moderate Other Published Material
1.4 ?Impact on genetic integrity D. None Other Published Material
2.1 ?Role of anthropogenic and natural disturbance in establishment B. Moderate Other Published Material
Invasiveness?
Total Points
16 Total Score B
2.2 ?Local rate of spread with no management A. Increases rapidly
2.3 ?Recent trend in total area infested within state B. Increasing less rapidly Observational
2.4 ?Innate reproductive potential
(see Worksheet A)
A. High Reviewed Scientific Publication
2.5 ?Potential for human-caused dispersal A. High Other Published Material
2.6 ? Potential for natural long-distance dispersal B. Occasional Other Published Material
2.7 ?Other regions invaded C. Already invaded Reviewed Scientific Publication
3.1 ?Ecological amplitude/Range
(see Worksheet C)
A. Widespread Anecdotal
Distribution?
Total Score B
3.2 ?Distribution/Peak frequency
(see Worksheet C)
C. Low 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 Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify ecosystem processes impacted:

Increases fuel load and therefore frequency, intensity, and spread of fire.


Sources of information:

Lovich IN: Bossard et al., 2000. Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands. Univeresity of California Press. pp 258-262.

D'Antonio, C.M. and P.M. Vitousek. 1992. Biological invasions by exotic grasses, the grass/fire cycle, and global change. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 1992. 23:63-87


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

Fountain grass is well-adapted to fire and can increase in density following a burn. Intense fires result in severe damage to native plant communities that are not as fire-tolerant as fountain grass and may endanger rare communities. In California, contributes to conversion of desert shrub communities to grassland by facilitatiing periodic fires. Recent vegetation releve samples taken in the Santa Monica Mountains discovered P. setaceum dominant in 7 samples, enough to name a Pennisetum setaceum Alliance.
Fountain grass seeds prodigiously. In Hawaii it has been shown to have higher net photosynthetic rates and greater biomass allocated to leaves than the native Heteropogon contortus native to the study site. The fountain grass has a higher growth rate and therefore a competitive advantage over the native plants.


Sources of information:

Lovich, J.E. IN: Bossard et al. 2000.
Loope et al. as excerpted from an article in Stone, C.P., C. W. Smith, and J.T. Tunison. 1992. Alien plant invasions in native ecosystems of Hawaii: management and research. pp.551-576. as accessed on the Internet at: http://www.hear.org/Alien/Species/In/Hawaii/PenSet_1992LoopeetalExcerpt.htm
Williams, D.G. and R.A. Black. 1994. Drought response of a native and introduced Hawaiian grass. Functional Ecology 97:512-519.
Keeler-Wolf, T. and J. Evens. 2004. Vegetation Samples in Santa Monica Mountains. Unpublished data.
CDFA, Encycloweedia as accessed on the internet 5/28/03 at http://pi.cdfa.ca.goc/weedinfo/PENNISET2.html


Question 1.3 Impact on higher trophic levels? B Other Published Material
Identify type of impact or alteration:

Is poor forage for browsing and grazing animals. Can negatively affect ground nesting birds and other terrestrial wildlife when fires occur.


Sources of information:

Lovich IN: Bossard et al. 2000. USDA, NRCS. 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.


Question 1.4 Impact on genetic integrity? D Other Published Material

No closely related native plants..


Sources of information:

Lovich IN: Bossard et al. 2000.


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

Most commonly found in areas with anthropogenic or natural disturbance. Found along highways and on steep sea cliff faces in Los Angeles County. Cliff faces are typically unstable and some have been altered by Highway maintenance. In Santa Barbara Co., slowly expanding into natural areas using roadways and railroad right-of-way as pathways. Is found on cut and fill slopes along at least 25 miles of Hwy 8 in San Diego County. Once in an area may establish in undisturbed vegetation. Per Ing, 2004, Can become dominant in grassslands within 2-3 years if no control measures employed. Takes longer to establish in well-developed scrub.


Sources of information:

Keeler- Wolf and Evens. 2004. Vegetation releve samples taken in Santa Monica Mountains. Unpublished data.
Lovich, J.E. IN: Bossard et al. 2000.; Glick, R. 2003 From observations made in Santa Barbara County. Personal Communication.; Ing, A.R. 2004. From observations made in and near Chino Hills SP, 1997 to present. Personal Communication, July 30, 2004.


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

In Hawaii plants can grow in basal diameter from 1.1 inch to 12 inches in 5 years. Plant unknown from Chino Hills SP 7 years ago, now taking over CalTrans cut and fill slopes of SR 142 and park grasslands if not controlled.


Sources of information:

Lovich, J.E. IN: Bossard et al. 2000.; Ing, A.R. 2004. From observations made in and near Chino Hills SP, 1997 to present. Personal Communication, July 30, 2004.


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

Is rapidly invading steep W and S facing hillsides in western Santa Monica Mountains. Appears to be increasing rapidly in coastal and desert southern California. Has very wide elevational range in Hawaii. Appears to be limited to areas with less than 50 inches median annual rainfall per Benton.


Sources of information:

Benton, N. 1997. Fountain Grass. Alien Plant Working Group. Plant Conservation Alliance as accessed over the Internet 5/29/03 at:http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/pese1.htm
Junak, Steve. 2004. Personal Communication via e-mail with David Chang, 8/2/04.
Ing, Alissa R. 2004. Personal Communication via e-mail to Cynthia Roye. 7/30/04.
Glick, Ronnie. 2003. Personal communication via telephone conversation.
Dice, J. 2004. Personal Communicarion via e-mail to Cynthia Roye, 8/2/04.
Observational, List Committee, 8/2004.


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

reproduces by fertilized or unfertilized seed, is apomictic, seeds remain viable in soil for at least seven years.


Sources of information:

Simpson and Bashaw. 1969. Cytology and reproductive characteristics in Pennisetum setaceum. American Journal of Botany. 56:31-36.


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

This plant is widely available in the nursery trade and still appears on lists of plants recommended for drought tolerance. It is a popular landscape plant in southern California. It has not been listed as a noxious weed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Is spread by vehicles, livstock and humans, especially along transportation from areas where it is used horticulturally.


Sources of information:

Bradley, K. 1998. Fountain Grass- a dry region threat. Wildland Weeds 1(4):4-5. Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.


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

Seed may disperse via wind over short range. Birds and water may disperse.


Sources of information:

Lovich, J.E. IN: Bossard et al. 2000.


Question 2.7 Other regions invaded? C Reviewed Scientific Publication
Identify other regions:

Individuals of fountain grass exhibit phenotypic plasticity for photosynthesis and biomass allocation in response to differences in temperature. On the leeward side of the island of Hawaii these plants exhibit a broad ecological tolerance and an extensive altitudinal distribution (near sea level to 2600m). In Hawaii this plant is found in dry forests. In other parts of the world invaded habitats are similar to those already invaded in California.


Sources of information:

Williams, D.G. and R.A. Black. 1993. Phenotypic variation in contrasting temperature environments: growth and photosynthesis in Pennisetum setaceum. Functional Ecology 7:623-633.


Section 3: Distribution
Question 3.1 Ecological amplitude/Range? A Anecdotal

Date of introduction to California unknown but a specimen from 1906 from the Brandegee Garden in San Diego is housed at the University of California Herbarium. In 2004 the plant is known fron Coastal Bluff Scrub, Coastal Scrub, Sonoran Desert Dcrub, Desert Riparian, Desert Wash, grasslands, chaparral, along roadsides and trails in coast and desert areas. Is known in California from three major types, seven minor types


Sources of information:

SMASCH database accessed 8/10/04 from the Internet at:
http://www.mip.berkeley.edu:8080/servlet/SmaschAccessionDetail?accession_id=UC132260nter text here
Junak, Steve. 2004. Personal Communication via e-mail with Davcid Chang, 8/2/04.
Ing, Alissa R. 2004. Personal Communication via e-mail to Cynthia Roye. 7/30/04.
Glick, Ronnie. 2003. Personal communication via telephone conversation.
Dice, J. 2004. Personal Communicarion via e-mail to Cynthia Roye, 8/2/04.
Keeler-Wolf and Evens. 2004. Vegetatyion samples in the Santa Monica Mountains. Unpublished data.
Observational, List Committee 8/2004.


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

Known from coastal and desert in southern California. Has been reported from 10 California State Park units.


Sources of information:

Lack hard information regarding current distribution. D is best estimate currently available until Committee members provide input.
SMASCH database accessed 8/10/04 from the Internet at:
http://www.mip.berkeley.edu:8080/servlet/SmaschAccessionDetail?accession_id=UC132260nter text here
Junak, Steve. 2004. Personal Communication via e-mail with Davcid Chang, 8/2/04.
Ing, Alissa R. 2004. Personal Communication via e-mail to Cynthia Roye. 7/30/04.
Glick, Ronnie. 2003. Personal communication via telephone conversation.
Dice, J. 2004. Personal Communicarion via e-mail to Cynthia Roye, 8/2/04.
Keeler-Wolf and Evens. 2004. Vegetatyion samples in the Santa Monica Mountains. Unpublished data.
Observational, List Committee 8/2004.


Worksheet A - Innate reproductive potential

Reaches reproductive maturity in 2 years or less Yes
Dense infestations produce >1,000 viable seed per square meter Unknown
Populations of this species produce seeds every year. Yes
Seed production sustained over 3 or more months within a population annually Yes
Seeds remain viable in soil for three or more years Yes
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 Yes
Total points: 7
Total unknowns: 1
Total score: A?

Related traits:

May reproduce from fertilized or unfertilized seed. Is apomictic. Cultivated by seed but also spreads rapidly, resprouts following cutting or fire. Some cultivars reported to be sterile. Fertility may increase when pollinated by species pollen.

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
DunescoastalC, 5% - 20%
desert
interior
Scrub and Chaparralcoastal bluff scrubD, < 5%
coastal scrubC, 5% - 20%
Sonoran desert scrubD, < 5%
Mojavean desert scrub (incl. Joshua tree woodland)
Great Basin scrub
chenopod scrub
montane dwarf scrub
Upper Sonoran subshrub scrub
chaparralD, < 5%
Grasslands, Vernal Pools, Meadows, and other Herb Communitiescoastal prairieD, < 5%
valley and foothill grasslandD, < 5%
Great Basin grassland
vernal pool
meadow and seep
alkali playa
pebble plain
Bog and Marshbog and fen
marsh and swamp
Riparian and Bottomland habitatriparian forest
riparian woodland
riparian scrub (incl.desert washes)D, < 5%
Woodlandcismontane woodland
piñon and juniper woodland
Sonoran thorn woodland
Forestbroadleaved upland forest
North Coast coniferous forest
closed cone coniferous forest
lower montane coniferous forest
upper montane coniferous forest
subalpine coniferous forest
Alpine Habitatsalpine boulder and rock field
alpine dwarf scrub
Amplitude (breadth): A
Distribution (highest score): C

Infested Jepson Regions

Click here for a map of Jepson regions

  • Central West
  • Great Valley
  • Northwest
  • Southwest
  • Desert Province
  • Mojave Desert
  • Sonoran Desert