Click on images to enlarge
large infestation (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
infestation (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
habit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
habit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
stems, leaves and young seed-heads (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
the leaves of this species are often pale green in colour, especially when growing in a sunny position (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
much-branched seed-head (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
purplish-coloured flower spikelets (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
an old seed-head, that has already shed nearly all of its seeds (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
young plant (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
comparison of the relative size of green panic (Megathyrsus maximus var. pubiglumis), on the left, and Guinea grass (Megathyrsus maximus var. maximus), on the right (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
Megathyrsus maximus (Jacq.) B.K. Simon & S.W.L. Jacobs var. pubiglumis (K. Schum.) B.K. Simon & S.W.L. Jacobs
Panicum maximum Jacq. var. trichoglume Eyles ex RobynsUrochloa maxima (Jacq.) R.D. Webster var. trichoglume (Robyns) R.D. Webster
Gramineae (South Australia)Poaceae (Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory)
green panic, green panic grass, green panicgrass
Native to Africa.
Green panic (Megathyrsus maximus var. pubiglumis) has been widely cultivated as a pasture grass in the warmer regions of Australia.
Widely naturalised in eastern Australia (i.e. in large parts of Queensland and in many parts of northern and eastern New South Wales). Also occasionally naturalised in south-eastern South Australia and possibly naturalised in the Northern Territory.
A very common and widespread weed of crops, orchards, vineyards, disturbed sites, roadsides, railways, footpaths, parks and gardens, bushland and riparian vegetation in the tropical, sub-tropical, warmer temperate and semi-arid regions of Australia.
A long-lived (i.e. perennial) grass with short underground stems (i.e. rhizomes) forming tufted clumps and aboveground stems that are usually upright (i.e. erect) in nature. Green panic (Megathyrsus maximus var. pubiglumis ) usually grows 0.5-1.5 m tall.
- a large, clumping, long-lived grass usually growing 0.5-1.5 m tall.
- its long and narrow leaves are large (15-40 cm long and 5-20 mm wide).
- its much-branched seed-heads bear large numbers of small flower spikelets.
- the lowermost branches of its seed-heads are arranged in a cluster.
- its slightly hairy flower spikelets are green or purplish in colour and are shed from the seed-head entire when mature.
Stems and Leaves
The stems may be branched and vary from being hairless (i.e. glabrous) to quite hairy (i.e. pilose).
The leaves consist of a sheath, which encloses the stem, and a spreading leaf blade. These long and narrow leaves are large (15-40 cm long and 5-20 mm wide) with entire margins and pointed tips (i.e. acuminate apices). Like the stems, they can vary from being hairless (i.e. glabrous) to being quite hairy (i.e. pilose), but they are most commonly sparsely hairy (i.e. puberulent). The leaf blades are usually held flat and their margins are rough to touch (i.e. scabrous). Where the leaf sheath meets the leaf blade there is a small membranous structure topped with hairs (i.e. ciliate membrane).
Flowers and Fruit
The loosely branched seed-heads (i.e. open panicles) are 10-40 cm long. Their lowest branches are arranged in a cluster (i.e. whorl), while the branches further up the seed-head are variously arranged. The flower spikelets are small (3-4.5 mm long) and oval (i.e. elliptic) or oblong in shape. They are generally green in colour, but occasionally may be purplish or reddish in colour. These flower spikelets are sparsely hairy (i.e. puberulent) and have only one fertile floret. They are shed from the seed-head entire when mature.
Reproduction and Dispersal
This species reproduces mainly by seed, which are dispersed by animals, wind, water, vehicles, machinery. Seeds may also be spread in contaminated soil and agricultural produce (e.g. fodder or grain).
Green panic (Megathyrsus maximus var. pubiglumis) is regarded as an important environmental weed in Queensland, where it is actively managed by community groups, and as a minor environmental weed in northern New South Wales.
This species is also a widespread weed of crops in northern Australia (e.g. plantation crops, vegetables, sown pastures, cotton, legumes, summer crops and brassica crops).
Not declared or considered noxious by any state government authorities.
Green panic (Megathyrsus maximus var. pubiglumis) and Guinea grass (Megathyrsus maximus var. maximus) can be distinguished from each other by the following differences:
- green panic (Megathyrsus maximus var. pubiglumis) is a moderately-sized plant (usually about 1.5 m tall) with large leaves and seed-heads. Its leaves are usually paler green in colour and its flower spikelets are usually finely hairy.
- Guinea grass (Megathyrsus maximus var. maximus) is a large and robust plant (1.8-3 m tall) with very large leaves and seed-heads. Its leaves are usually dark green in colour and its flower spikelets are hairless.
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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