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Report an Invasive Species

North African grass

North African grass

North African grass

(Ventenata dubia)

Priority: -  Prevent

Tags: Terrestrial | EDRR

Identification and Reproduction

Identification: 

  • North African grass is an annual grass that grows between 10 to 45 cm tall. 
  • Stems are long, thin, branching and wiry. 
  • Leaf blades appear rolled in and are narrow, with long ligules.. 
  • This plant has reddish-black nodes between May and June.
  • Inflorescence are open, slender and branches bear spikelets at the ends of stems. The upper flower has an extended wavy and sometimes bent awn about 1.5 cm long.

Reproduction: 

  • Reproduces only by seed. 
  • It produces from 15 to 50 seeds per plant.
  • Long seed awns allow for attachment onto fur and objects. 

  • Seeds are dispersed by livestock, farm equipment, vehicles and contaminated hay and grass seed mixtures. 

Habitat & Ecology

  • Invades perennial grasslands, rangelands, hay fields, roadsides, railways, riparian corridors and other disturbed sites. 
  • Typically grows in clay and clay-loam soils that are shallow and rocky. 
  • Currently, it is only found in Metro Vancouver region. 

Impacts

Social: 

  • Reduces available forage opportunities for livestock. 
  • Decreased hay, Kentucky bluegrass, alfalfa, winter wheat production. It has even reduced yields by nearly 50-75% within several years. 
  • North African grass is unpalatable to livestock. 

Ecological: 

  • Since this plant has a shallow root system it increases erosion. 
  • Displaces native vegetation and changes the plant community. These changes result in a change in insect abundance, resulting in foraging loss. 

Management

Prevention is a high priority for this species. 

  • Learn to identify this plant and report any sightings. 
  • Maintain a diverse and healthy stand of perennial plant species to reduce the introduction of North African grass. 
  • Purchase and plant certified, clean seed mixtures. 
  • Be cautious of imported grass seed mixtures, be sure to check seed labels.
  • Clean clothing, pets, equipment and vehicles before leaving infested sites. 

Mechanical/Manual Control: 

  • These plants can be hand-pulled as they grow from shallow roots. It is feasible for small patches as it can still be labour intensive. 
  • Mowing is only recommended prior to seed set and before soils dry out. 

Resources

Download BC's Invasive Species Alert for North African grass here

Header photo (Matt Lavin)