Sunday, February 14, 2010

Exclusively vegetative reproduction in Pennisetum clandestinum (Kikuyu grass) in Caifornia

Reproduction in kikuyu grass in coastal central California appers to be largely vegetative. In years of searching for flowering plants, I have never seen anything other than vegetative growth. The California Invasive Plant Council website treatment of this taxon notes that it can be spread via rhizome and stolon fragments. An amplification on what constitutes the invasocore unit of dispersal is in order: Pennisetum clandestinum produces swollen nodes which can also support dormant roots within the leaf sheaths. The entire nodal structure is the unit of dispersal, not in my observation the stolon fragments. Stolons are about 8 mm diameter or so, but when fragmented, the internodal segments do not seem to take.

The unit of dispersal might be termed a nodochore.

This coarse grass is a major invader of the coast side of the fairways at Pebble Beach, where its abundance vs. inland locations as opposed to Festuca rubra, indicates a significant degree of tolerance of salt spray.

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