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Ehrharta villosa Schult. f. var. maxima Stapf
Ehrharta villosa Schult. f.
Gramineae (South Australia)Poaceae (Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory)
pyp grass, pypgrass
Native to southern Africa (i.e. the southern parts of Cape Province in South Africa).
Widely naturalised in the coastal districts of southern Australia (i.e. in the coastal districts of central New South Wales, south-western Victoria, Tasmania, southern South Australia and south-western Western Australia).
Pyp grass (Ehrharta villosa var. maxima ) was deliberately introduced into Australia to be grown on sand dunes as a sand-binder. It has spread from these deliberate plantings and is now regarded as an environmental weed in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.
This vigorous grass spreads via a dense network of strong, creeping underground stems (i.e. rhizomes) and once established it can easily dominate an area and can be very difficult to remove. The presence of pyp grass (Ehrharta villosa var. maxima) can result in significant biodiversity loss in coastal sand dunes, as it can seriously inhibit the growth of native vegetation and eliminate smaller indigenous plants through competition for resources. Its mat-forming habit also compromises rehabilitation projects and can have an impact on the structure and dynamics of coastal dunes.
Pyp grass (Ehrharta villosa var. maxima ) is currently of most concern in South Australia. It is a common coastal weed in the Gulf St. Vincent area and is particularly problematic on Sir Richard Peninsula, near the mouth of the Murray River. Since its introduction to the area in the 1930's, this weed has invaded the entire hind-dune habitat of the region. It is threatening to greatly reduce plant diversity and modify the active dune system of the peninsula. Research indicates that it has already displaced some of the indigenous dune flora on the peninsula, including the hind-dune shrublands. Pyp grass (Ehrharta villosa var. maxima) is also present in several coastal conservation areas in South Australia (e.g. the Henley Beach to Tennyson Coastal Reserve, Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park and Anstey Hill Recreation Park).
In Western Australia, pyp grass (Ehrharta villosa var. maxima) has been listed among the top ten environmental weeds of the Central West Coast, South-West Capes and South Coast coastal regions. In Tasmania it has spread from plantings on King Island, and while it currently has a limited distribution in this state, it is listed as one of five potentially significant beach weeds that are targeted for eradication. This species also has a history of dominating beach dunes and replacing native vegetation in New Zealand.
Fact sheets are available from Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) service centres and our Customer Service Centre (telephone 13 25 23). Check our website at www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au to ensure you have the latest version of this fact sheet. The control methods referred to in this fact sheet should be used in accordance with the restrictions (federal and state legislation, and local government laws) directly or indirectly related to each control method. These restrictions may prevent the use of one or more of the methods referred to, depending on individual circumstances. While every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of this information, DEEDI does not invite reliance upon it, nor accept responsibility for any loss or damage caused by actions based on it.
Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved. Identic Pty Ltd. Special edition of Environmental Weeds of Australia for Biosecurity Queensland.
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