Overview

Brief Summary

History in the United States

Burma reed was first introduced into the United States in 1916 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, possibly to investigate its potential as an ornamental plant. It was grown in a test garden in Coconut Grove, Florida, from which it escaped and spread. By 1990, it had become established in the wild as far as 30 miles from Coconut Grove and along disturbed edges throughout Miami-Dade County. Burma reed has no known economic value and, in Bhutan, is reported to be poisonous to buffalo.

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: The native range of N. reynaudiana is Asian extending from Japan across China, Malaya and Burma to eastern India (Bor 1960). In Florida it is now documented only for Dade (including Virginia Key and Key Biscayne) and Collier counties, but it has escaped and apparently persisted for some time as far north as Sebring (Highlands Co: Deam #63942, US) and was cultivated in the Florida Botanical Garden there ( now part of Highlands Hammock State Park). It is ubiquitous in south Miami (it is documented from the Deering Estate (Guala in press) and is probably in every park in Dade Co.) and has spread from an introduction at the USDA Plant Introduction Station in Coconut Grove in the early 1920's across the Everglades although it is not common away from the main roads and is quite uncommon in the northern part of the park system (it is known from Seminole and Royal Palm State Park but not Corkscrew Swamp).

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Silk reed is native to southeastern Asia. In the early 1920s silk reed was planted at the USDA Plant Introduction Station in Coconut Grove, Florida, and it subsequently escaped from there [10]. As of this writing (2010) the distribution of silk reed in North America is limited to a few counties in Florida. Plants Database provides a distributional map of silk reed.
  • 10. Guala, Gerald F., II. 1995. Element stewardship abstract: Neyraudia reynaudiana--silk reed, [Online]. In: Control methods--Plant management resources. In: Invasives on the web: The global invasive species team (GIST). Arlington, VA: The Nature Conservancy (Producer). Available: http://www.imapinvasives.org/GIST/ESA/esapages/documnts/neyrrey.pdf [2010, July 30]. [75514]

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Distribution in the United States

Burma reed is found throughout southern Florida in the counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Lee, and Collier, and the Florida Keys.

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Native Range

Southeast Asia and Indomalaya (Japan, southern China, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaya, Myanmar (Burma), Bhutan, Nepal, and eastern India)
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Guizhou (Fanjing Shan).
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Eastern India, Burma, Malaya and China.
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Nepal, E. India, Burma, China, Taiwall, Malaysia.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the term: rhizome

This description covers characteristics that may be relevant to fire ecology and is not meant for identification. References to aid in the identification of silk reed include the following: [10,20].

Silk reed is a tall, perennial, large-plumed grass [26] that grows in dense clumps from a woody rhizome [20,39]. Stems and flowering stalks may reach a height of 3 to 15 feet (1-5 m) depending on soil and moisture conditions. Each clump produces an average of 40 stalks with 12 to 20 terminal panicles that may be up to 3 feet (1 m) long, each bearing hundreds of flowers [26]. It is not clear how deep silk reed roots penetrate in the soil, though one source reports that roots are "deep" [25].

  • 20. Langeland, Kenneth A.; Burks, K. Craddock, eds. 1998. Identification and biology of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida. 165 p. [72429]
  • 25. Rasha, Renee L'Hoste. 2000. The effects of fire on the demographics of Neyraudia reynaudiana in the pine rocklands. Boca Raton, FL: Florida Atlantic University. 31 p. Thesis. [79710]
  • 10. Guala, Gerald F., II. 1995. Element stewardship abstract: Neyraudia reynaudiana--silk reed, [Online]. In: Control methods--Plant management resources. In: Invasives on the web: The global invasive species team (GIST). Arlington, VA: The Nature Conservancy (Producer). Available: http://www.imapinvasives.org/GIST/ESA/esapages/documnts/neyrrey.pdf [2010, July 30]. [75514]
  • 26. Rasha, Renee. 2005. Fact sheet: Burma reed--Neyraudia reyanudiana, [Online]. In: Weeds gone wild: Alien plant invaders of natural areas. Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group (Producer). Available: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/nere1.htm [2010, July 6]. [79978]
  • 39. Wu, Z. Y.; Raven, P. H.; Hong, D. Y., eds. 2010. Flora of China, [Online]. Volumes 1-25. Beijing: Science Press; St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden Press. In: eFloras. St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Herbaria (Producers). Available: http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2 and http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china. [72954]

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Description

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Description

Burma reed, also known as silk reed, cane grass, and false reed, is a tall, perennial, large-plumed grass that grows in clumps in sunny upland areas. Stems, including the flower stalks are from 3 to 15 feet in height, depending on soil and moisture conditions. The leaves are 8 to 10 inches long and hairless, except for a single line of horizontal hairs at the juncture of the upper and lower portions of the leaf. Stems are approximately ½ inch in width, are round, solid, and have nodes (stem-leaf junctures) every 3 to 5 inches along the stem. The flower plumes, which can be up to 3 feet long, are composed of many hundreds of tiny flowers and have a shimmery, silky appearance. Flowering occurs in April and October, each clump producing an average of forty stalks and twelve to twenty flowering plumes. Burma reed resembles several other tall grasses, including common reed (Phragmites communis), giant reed (Arundo donax), pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) and sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum).

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Physical Description

Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Rhizomes present, Rhizome short and compact, stems close, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stems branching above base or distally at nodes, Stem internodes solid or spongy, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 1-2 m tall, Stems with inflorescence 2-6 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly cauline, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, gl abrous, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades disarticulating from sheath, deciduous at ligule, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blade auriculate, Leaf blades 1-2 cm wide, Leaf blades 2 or more cm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Ligule present, Ligule a fringe of hairs, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence an open panicle, openly paniculate, branches spreading, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence branches more than 10 to numerous, Flowers bisexual, Spikelets pedicellate, Spikelets laterally compressed, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 3-7 florets, Spikelets with 8-40 florets, Spikelets solitary at rachis nodes, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes, glumes persistent, Spikelets disarticulating beneath or between the florets, Rachilla or pedicel hairy, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes equal or subequal, Glumes distinctly unequal, Glumes shorter than adjacent lemma, Glumes keeled or winged, Glumes 1 nerved, Lemmas thin, chartaceous, hyaline, cartilaginous, or membranous, Lemma 3 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma apex dentate, 2-fid, Lemma mucronate, very shortly beaked or awned, less than 1-2 mm, Lemma distinctly awned, more than 2-3 mm, Lemma with 1 awn, Lemma awn less than 1 cm long, Lemma awn from sinus of bifid apex, Lemma awns straight or curved to base, Lemma straight, Callus or base of lemma evidently hairy, Callus hairs shorter than lemma, Palea present, well developed, Palea membranous, hyaline, Palea shorter than lemma, Palea about equal to lemma, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Palea keels winged, scabrous, or ciliate, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis.
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Description

Perennial, robust, caespitose from a short woody scaly rhizome. Culms erect, 1–3 m tall, 3–10 mm in diam., usually fasciculately branched, many-noded, internodes somewhat glaucous, nodes purple. Leaf sheaths glabrous but pilose at mouth; leaf blades flat or involute, 20–70 × 0.4–1 cm, glabrous or adaxial surface pilose, apex long acuminate; ligule 1–2 mm. Panicle ample, loose to dense, glistening, 30–70 cm, branches slender, nodding; pedicels 1–4 mm. Spikelets 6–9 mm, florets 4–10, lowest sterile, resembling glumes but somewhat longer; glumes golden-brown or purplish, glabrous, subequal, 2–3 mm, acute; lemmas purplish, ca. 4 mm, lateral veins ciliate with white, soft, ca. 2 mm hairs, awn recurved, 1–2 mm. Fl. and fr. Aug–Dec.
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Description

Tall reed. Sheath-mounth densely covered with long hairs; ligule 2 mm long, truncate, shortly ciliate on dorsal side; blade 2 cm wide, apex attenuate. Panicle large, open. Spikelets 2-5-flowered, 5-6 mm long; glumes membranous,lanceolate; the lower 1.5 mm long, apex acute or rounded; the upper 2 mm long, apex acute, 1-nerved; lowest lemma 4 mm long, 3-nerved; second lemma membranousss, 5 mm logn, margins long ciliate, 3-nerved, apex sinus, middle nerve extending into a recurved awn; palea membranous, 3 mm long, 2-keeled, apex slightly cleft, minutely ciliate along keels.
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Elevation Range

400-900 m
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Description

Perennial, caespitose from a short woody rhizome. Culms erect, hard, bamboolike, 0.8–1.2 m tall, 2–3 mm in diam., branched, 5–6-noded, internodes floury-white below nodes. Leaf sheaths pilose with long soft hairs at mouth; leaf blades stiff, 10–20 × 0.2–0.4 cm, apex long acuminate. Panicle large, ca. 30 cm; branches slender, up to 20 cm. Spikelets ca. 4 mm, florets 2 or 3, lowest sterile, resembling glumes; lower glume ca. 1.5 mm, upper glume ca. 2 mm; floret callus bearded; lowest lemma ca. 2 mm, glabrous; second lemma ca. 3 mm, lateral veins ciliate with soft, 1–2 mm hairs, margin shortly ciliate; awn recurved, 1–2 mm. Fl. and fr. Aug–Sep.
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Diagnostic Description

Neyraudia is easily identified as the only large "plume grass" with a distinct horizontal line of hairs on the otherwise hairless outer surface of the leaf blade/sheath juncture (look especially at green younger leaves). Erianthus giganteus might be confused with Neyraudia because it is densely hairy in a small area around the juncture of the blade and sheath but there is not distinct line and it has paired, single flowered spikelets with much longer awns (cf. 1 cm).

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Synonym

Arundo reynaudiana Kunth, Révis. Gramin. 1: 275. 1830; A. henslowiana Nees; A. zollingeri Buse; Neyraudia arundinacea var. zollingeri (Buse) Henrard; N. madagascariensis (Kunth) J. D. Hooker var. zollingeri (Buse) J. D. Hooker; N. mezii (Janowsky) Veldkamp; Thysanolaena mezii Janowski.
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Type Information

Possible isotype for Thysanolaena mezii Janowski
Catalog Number: US 101972
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Status verified from secondary sources
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): F. J. F. Meyen
Locality: Cap. Syng-moon., China, Asia-Temperate
  • Possible isotype: Janowski, M. 1921. Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 17: 86.
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: It is remarkably tolerant with respect to edaphic and light regimes although it seems to prefer open, high light, areas. It has often been collected in marshy areas, possibly even of brackish water (H. Moldenke #432, US), and it is very common in upland situations and is becoming increasingly common in dry pinelands. The only thing that most of the localities seem to have in common is some disturbance. This is especially true in drier situations and the disturbance can be anything from bulldozing to fire. This range of habitats is comparable to that in its native range (Lazarides 1980).

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Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: rhizome, series

A weed identification guide suggests silk reed tolerates a wide range of soil, light, and water regimes [20]. Several sources report that it prefers open, sunny, dry sites with some disturbance [10,19,20]. In its native range, silk reed is found in bogs and disturbed sites, often growing on infertile soils [36]. In Florida, silk reed establishes in disturbed areas [10,20,25,40] including the edges of roadways, fields, and forests [26], vacant lots [19], and limestone spoil piles [25].

Soils: As of this writing (2010) it is not clear what soil characteristics silk reed prefers. One manager described silk reed as a colonizer of sandy soils [22]. Soils of the pine rocklands where silk reed is invasive are usually moderately well drained, with limestone bedrock at or very near the surface. Soils generally consist of small accumulations of sand, marl, and organic material in depressions and crevices in the rock surface [7].

Silk reed is tolerant of extreme soil conditions. In Hong Kong, it was a dominant of the few plants established on the peripheries of treatment lagoons 2 years after the deposition of a coal ash-seawater slurry. Substrate conditions were alkaline (pH 8.4), saline (2.18 dS/m), contained high levels of heavy metals, and surface temperatures reached 113 °F (45 °C) in summer [6]. One source suggests that silk reed may occur in areas with brackish water in Florida [10].

Elevation: In its native range, silk reed grows from 0 to 6,500 feet (0-1,900 m) [26].

Climate: Silk reed generally occurs in a warm, subtropical climate in its native range, similar to the climate where it occurs in North America. Its ability to survive at high elevations (6,500 feet (1,900 m)) in its native range suggests that it may possess some level of cold tolerance, potentially facilitating its spread farther north in North America [26]. Guala [10] observed that a transplanted silk reed rhizome fragment sprouted, grew rapidly, and set fruit after exposure to a series of light spring frosts followed by a hard frost. After a severe freeze the following December, the aboveground vegetation died but the plant sprouted "vigorously" within 2 months [10].

  • 20. Langeland, Kenneth A.; Burks, K. Craddock, eds. 1998. Identification and biology of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida. 165 p. [72429]
  • 25. Rasha, Renee L'Hoste. 2000. The effects of fire on the demographics of Neyraudia reynaudiana in the pine rocklands. Boca Raton, FL: Florida Atlantic University. 31 p. Thesis. [79710]
  • 22. Maguire, Joe. 1993. Status of Burma reed in Dade County pine rocklands. Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council Newsletter. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. 3(3): 3. [79758]
  • 40. Wunderlin, Richard P.; Hansen, Bruce F. 2003. Guide to the vascular plants of Florida. 2nd edition. Gainesville, FL: The University of Florida Press. 787 p. [69433]
  • 6. Chu, L. M. 2008. Natural revegetation of coal fly ash in a highly saline disposal lagoon in Hong Kong. Applied Vegetation Science. 11: 297-306. [79752]
  • 36. Weber, Ewald. 2003. Invasive plant species of the world: a reference guide to environmental weeds. Cambridge, MA: CABI Publishing. 548 p. [71904]
  • 7. Florida Natural Areas Inventory. 1990. Guide to the natural communities of Florida, [Online]. In: Species and communities. Tallahassee, FL: Florida Natural Areas Inventory; Florida State University (Producer). Available: http://www.fnai.org/PDF/Natural_Communities_Guide.pdf [2009, June 2]. [74325]
  • 10. Guala, Gerald F., II. 1995. Element stewardship abstract: Neyraudia reynaudiana--silk reed, [Online]. In: Control methods--Plant management resources. In: Invasives on the web: The global invasive species team (GIST). Arlington, VA: The Nature Conservancy (Producer). Available: http://www.imapinvasives.org/GIST/ESA/esapages/documnts/neyrrey.pdf [2010, July 30]. [75514]
  • 19. Langeland, K. A.; Ferrell, J. A.; Sellers, B.; Macdonald, G. E.; Stocker, R. K. 2009. Control of nonnative plants in natural areas of Florida, [Online]. In: Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS) database--Publication #SP 242. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension (Producer). Available: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/WG/WG20900.pdf [2009, October 20]. [75659]
  • 26. Rasha, Renee. 2005. Fact sheet: Burma reed--Neyraudia reyanudiana, [Online]. In: Weeds gone wild: Alien plant invaders of natural areas. Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group (Producer). Available: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/nere1.htm [2010, July 6]. [79978]

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Habitat in the United States

In its native range, which is characterized by a warm, subtropical climate, Burma reed occurs in bogs, in open savannahs, on upland cliffs, and along forest and road edges, and thrives from sea level to altitudes of 6,500 feet. In the U.S., Burma reed initially colonizes the margins of roadways, fields, and forests, from which it can spread to undisturbed areas. The ability of Burma reed to survive at high altitudes in its native range indicates a tolerance to cold and the potential for it to spread further north in the U.S.

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* Mountain slopes, streams; ca. 900 m.
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Habitat & Distribution

Streamsides, hill slopes, rocky places, old walls. Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang [Bhutan, Cambodia, NE India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam].
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General Ecology

As stated above, disturbance probably plays a major role in its introduction into an area, however, once it invades an area and establishes a population it seems to be able to colonize more marginal and also undisturbed habitats. Although it is known only from the southern counties in Florida, it has been cultivated as far north as Savannah, Georgia and a rhizome segment transplanted to Gainesville in March of 1989 grew rapidly and set fruit even after several light frosts and 1 hard one. In the severe Christmas freeze of 1989 the above ground parts died but the plants are vigorously resprouting (Feb. 1990) and will be monitored for recovery. The specific origin of our ecotype is unknown but I have seen healthy specimens of this species from the eastern Himalayas (2000 m) and other regions of China that are quite prone to hard freezes. It occurred as a waif in San Francisco in 1861 but is not now present in the US outside of Florida.

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Fuels and Fire Regimes

More info for the terms: fire exclusion, fire regime, frequency, fuel, hardwood, litter, prescribed fire, tree, wildfire

Fuels: Silk reed has the potential to alter the amount and type of fuels in plant communities where it occurs. It establishes in dense, tall clumps [26] and produces a heavy mat of leaf litter from shed stems and inflorescences [25]. In South Florida slash pine savannas, silk reed grew 3 to 7 feet (1-2 m) above surrounding vegetation. Total plant biomass in areas dominated by silk reed was more than 4 times the biomass of areas lacking silk reed (P=0.01). Litter depth was almost double in areas with silk reed compared to areas without it (P=0.01) [24].

Silk reed also alters the type of fuels available. Silk reed litter facilitates fire spread and movement at the ground's surface. Inflorescences may act as a ladder fuel, allowing fire to spread into tree canopies; one manager reports silk reed ignition during wildfire creating flames >30 feet (9 m) high, threatening nearby tree canopies. Wind may transport flaming silk reed inflorescences, increasing the potential for fire spread [26].

The alteration in quantity and type of fuels in areas with silk reed has led to concern that silk reed establishment leads to uncharacteristically severe fires in pine rocklands [22,26].

FIRE REGIMES: Though it is not known what fire regime silk reed evolved in, it appears to be favored by frequent fire [22,25,26].

Fire exclusion and silk reed establishment have both altered the typical fire regime of pine rocklands. Fire is integral to maintaining pine rocklands; historically, low-severity fires occurred every 3 to 10 years [7], consuming litter and understory vegetation. Fire exclusion has led to the lengthening of fire-return intervals, facilitating hardwood species establishment and litter accumulation. In some areas, pine rocklands are replaced by a tropical hammock plant community within 2 to 3 decades of fire exclusion [37]. In pine rocklands where silk reed establishes, the alteration of fuel characteristics by silk reed has promoted an increase in the frequency and intensity of fires, leading to abnormally high South Florida slash pine mortality [22]. Managers observed 75% mortality of mid-canopy South Florida slash pine following a mixed-severity prescribed fire in a park with dense stands of silk reed [25]. There is also concern that silk reed establishment may alter fire-return intervals and plant community composition in Florida scrub plant communities, ecosystems with longer fire-return intervals than pine rocklands [22]. See the Fire Regime Table for more information on fire regimes of vegetation communities in which silk reed may occur.

  • 25. Rasha, Renee L'Hoste. 2000. The effects of fire on the demographics of Neyraudia reynaudiana in the pine rocklands. Boca Raton, FL: Florida Atlantic University. 31 p. Thesis. [79710]
  • 37. Wendelberger, Kristie S.; Maschinski, Joyce. 2009. Linking geographical information systems and observational and experimental studies to determine optimal seedling microsites of an endangered plant in a subtropical urban fire-adapted ecosystem. Restoration Ecology. 17(6): 845-853. [79757]
  • 22. Maguire, Joe. 1993. Status of Burma reed in Dade County pine rocklands. Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council Newsletter. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. 3(3): 3. [79758]
  • 24. Platt, William J.; Gottschalk, Robert M. 2001. Effects of exotic grasses on potential fine fuel loads in the groundcover of south Florida slash pine savannas. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 10: 155-159. [40879]
  • 7. Florida Natural Areas Inventory. 1990. Guide to the natural communities of Florida, [Online]. In: Species and communities. Tallahassee, FL: Florida Natural Areas Inventory; Florida State University (Producer). Available: http://www.fnai.org/PDF/Natural_Communities_Guide.pdf [2009, June 2]. [74325]
  • 26. Rasha, Renee. 2005. Fact sheet: Burma reed--Neyraudia reyanudiana, [Online]. In: Weeds gone wild: Alien plant invaders of natural areas. Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group (Producer). Available: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/nere1.htm [2010, July 6]. [79978]

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Seed banking

In Florida, one manager observed supposedly extirpated populations of silk reed sprout after 2 years, though it was unclear whether emerging plants sprouted from rhizomes or from the soil seed bank (Gann-Matzen personal observation cited in [10]).
  • 10. Guala, Gerald F., II. 1995. Element stewardship abstract: Neyraudia reynaudiana--silk reed, [Online]. In: Control methods--Plant management resources. In: Invasives on the web: The global invasive species team (GIST). Arlington, VA: The Nature Conservancy (Producer). Available: http://www.imapinvasives.org/GIST/ESA/esapages/documnts/neyrrey.pdf [2010, July 30]. [75514]

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Seed dispersal

Silk reed seeds are dispersed by wind [20,26]. Seeds and rhizomes may also be spread when limestone rock is removed from quarries with established silk reed populations [26].
  • 20. Langeland, Kenneth A.; Burks, K. Craddock, eds. 1998. Identification and biology of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida. 165 p. [72429]
  • 26. Rasha, Renee. 2005. Fact sheet: Burma reed--Neyraudia reyanudiana, [Online]. In: Weeds gone wild: Alien plant invaders of natural areas. Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group (Producer). Available: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/nere1.htm [2010, July 6]. [79978]

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Vegetative regeneration

More info for the term: rhizome

A weed identification guide [20] and a flora [39] report that silk reed has a short, woody rhizome, while one source describes rhizomes as "extensive and robust" [10]. New clumps of silk reed may emerge from rhizomes embedded in sand, soil, or rubble [26]. Silk reed may sprout from rhizomes following frost [10], fire [25,26], and mechanical or chemical treatments [10].
  • 20. Langeland, Kenneth A.; Burks, K. Craddock, eds. 1998. Identification and biology of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida. 165 p. [72429]
  • 25. Rasha, Renee L'Hoste. 2000. The effects of fire on the demographics of Neyraudia reynaudiana in the pine rocklands. Boca Raton, FL: Florida Atlantic University. 31 p. Thesis. [79710]
  • 10. Guala, Gerald F., II. 1995. Element stewardship abstract: Neyraudia reynaudiana--silk reed, [Online]. In: Control methods--Plant management resources. In: Invasives on the web: The global invasive species team (GIST). Arlington, VA: The Nature Conservancy (Producer). Available: http://www.imapinvasives.org/GIST/ESA/esapages/documnts/neyrrey.pdf [2010, July 30]. [75514]
  • 26. Rasha, Renee. 2005. Fact sheet: Burma reed--Neyraudia reyanudiana, [Online]. In: Weeds gone wild: Alien plant invaders of natural areas. Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group (Producer). Available: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/nere1.htm [2010, July 6]. [79978]
  • 39. Wu, Z. Y.; Raven, P. H.; Hong, D. Y., eds. 2010. Flora of China, [Online]. Volumes 1-25. Beijing: Science Press; St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden Press. In: eFloras. St. Louis, MO: Missouri Botanical Garden; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Herbaria (Producers). Available: http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2 and http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china. [72954]

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Regeneration Processes

  • 16. Kruer, Curtis R.; Taylor, Jennifer E. 1999. North Key Largo invasive exotic vegetation mapping and assessment. In: Jones, David T.; Gamble, Brandon W., eds. Florida's garden of good and evil: Proceedings of the 1998 joint symposium of the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council and the Florida Native Plant Society; 1998 June 3-7; Palm Beach Gardens, FL. West Palm Beach, FL: South Florida Water Management District: 67-80. [54001]
  • 26. Rasha, Renee. 2005. Fact sheet: Burma reed--Neyraudia reyanudiana, [Online]. In: Weeds gone wild: Alien plant invaders of natural areas. Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group (Producer). Available: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/nere1.htm [2010, July 6]. [79978]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: geophyte

Raunkiaer [27] life form:
Geophyte
  • 27. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]

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Fire Regime Table

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Seedling establishment and plant growth

Descriptions of silk reed establishing from seed were lacking in the available literature as of this writing (2010). One source reports that silk reed is most likely to establish in disturbed areas and establishes best in dry, disturbed areas [10]. Once established, silk reed is able to spread to marginally disturbed and undisturbed habitats [10,16,26].
  • 16. Kruer, Curtis R.; Taylor, Jennifer E. 1999. North Key Largo invasive exotic vegetation mapping and assessment. In: Jones, David T.; Gamble, Brandon W., eds. Florida's garden of good and evil: Proceedings of the 1998 joint symposium of the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council and the Florida Native Plant Society; 1998 June 3-7; Palm Beach Gardens, FL. West Palm Beach, FL: South Florida Water Management District: 67-80. [54001]
  • 10. Guala, Gerald F., II. 1995. Element stewardship abstract: Neyraudia reynaudiana--silk reed, [Online]. In: Control methods--Plant management resources. In: Invasives on the web: The global invasive species team (GIST). Arlington, VA: The Nature Conservancy (Producer). Available: http://www.imapinvasives.org/GIST/ESA/esapages/documnts/neyrrey.pdf [2010, July 30]. [75514]
  • 26. Rasha, Renee. 2005. Fact sheet: Burma reed--Neyraudia reyanudiana, [Online]. In: Weeds gone wild: Alien plant invaders of natural areas. Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group (Producer). Available: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/nere1.htm [2010, July 6]. [79978]

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Seed production

A single silk reed plant may produce hundreds of thousands of seeds in a growing season [26]. However, one source reports that many of the seeds are not viable because most plants are sterile (Noltie 1999 cited in [25]).
  • 25. Rasha, Renee L'Hoste. 2000. The effects of fire on the demographics of Neyraudia reynaudiana in the pine rocklands. Boca Raton, FL: Florida Atlantic University. 31 p. Thesis. [79710]
  • 26. Rasha, Renee. 2005. Fact sheet: Burma reed--Neyraudia reyanudiana, [Online]. In: Weeds gone wild: Alien plant invaders of natural areas. Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group (Producer). Available: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/nere1.htm [2010, July 6]. [79978]

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

In Florida, silk reed may flower throughout the year [20,25].
  • 20. Langeland, Kenneth A.; Burks, K. Craddock, eds. 1998. Identification and biology of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida. 165 p. [72429]
  • 25. Rasha, Renee L'Hoste. 2000. The effects of fire on the demographics of Neyraudia reynaudiana in the pine rocklands. Boca Raton, FL: Florida Atlantic University. 31 p. Thesis. [79710]

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Reproduction

The extensive and robust rhizome system allows it to survive cutting and heavy disturbance. George Gann-Matzen has seen extirpated populations reappear even after two years but he cannot confirm that this was due to a residual seed bank.

The size of the plants of this species seems to give an indication of the age of the population. Young plants (<2yrs) are often app. 1 m high while older, well established populations almost always have many of the individuals reaching 2.5 m or more.

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Biology and Spread

Burma reed reproduces by seed and through underground stems called rhizomes. Burma reed plants flower twice each year, producing hundreds of thousands of tiny seeds that are dispersed by the wind. New clumps of Burma reed emerge from rhizomes that may be embedded in sand, soil, or rubble. Seeds and rhizomes are also transported inadvertently in limestone rock from infested quarries that is carried by train from Miami-Dade County, Florida to concrete manufacturers throughout the southeastern United States. This unintentional movement of Burma reed material allows it to invade new sites in Florida and and adjacent states near limestone distribution centers.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Neyraudia reynaudiana

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Neyraudia reynaudiana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Silk reed is listed as a noxious weed in Florida. Information on state-level noxious weed status of plants in the United States is available at Plants Database.

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Management

Management Requirements: A comprehensive management plan for this species in the southern three counties of Florida. A high priority should go to testing alternative herbicides and eradication methods. Further work should also be done on determining seed production, viability and longevity.

George Gann-Matzen of ECOHORIZONS, INC. reports that a 90% kill rate can be achieved by cutting culms with a steel bladed weed eater, allowing resprouting to 6-8 inches and applying ROUNDUP. He recommends that remaining plants be removed by hand and that the site be monitored for at least two years. He also suggests that the cut culms be removed in pineland situations so as not to add nutrients to the soil and hence, make a more suitable environment for other exotics. Robert Doreen (Everglades National Park, Resource Management) has not found the method described above to be adequate and is going to begin experimenting with other herbicides soon. Terry and Barbara Glancy (private land owners in Homestead) report that by applying ROUNDUP at 1% with a surfactant (IMPROVE or the cheaper brand FRIGAT) at 1%, without cutting the culms, a 100% kill rate can be achieved. He recommends removing the flower heads if they are present though. This is the best method described so far but more research is needed. It would seem that a wick application of ROUNDUP might be reasonable course of action especially in areas in which small native herbs are still persisting within the population. Cutting or mowing alone clearly does not work. Fire alone doesn't work (I have seen burned stalks resprout) and may even compound the problem by introducing disturbance. Mechanical removal may work if done by hand but bulldozing may also compound the problem due to the ability of the grass to resprout from rhizome segments.

Management Programs: No comprehensive programs directed specifically at this species are in effect.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the term: cover

As of this writing (2010) no information is available regarding the importance of silk reed to wildlife and livestock in North America.

Palatability and/or nutritional value: Silk reed is reported as poisonous to buffalo in Bhutan [26].

Cover value: No information is available on this topic.

  • 26. Rasha, Renee. 2005. Fact sheet: Burma reed--Neyraudia reyanudiana, [Online]. In: Weeds gone wild: Alien plant invaders of natural areas. Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group (Producer). Available: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/nere1.htm [2010, July 6]. [79978]

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Risks

Stewardship Overview: This invasion is still in a stage in which I believe that it can be controlled with a comprehensive eradication program which would primarily include removal of the biggest and oldest core populations in Dade Co., especially in the southern suburbs, and a concerted control effort in other areas.

Species Impact: This species presents a clear threat to native ecosystems in southern Florida including those preserved in several county, state and national parks. It is already a serious problem in Dade county and will no doubt become one in Collier and Monroe counties in the near future.

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Ecological Threat in the United States

Burma reed damages native ecosystems by crowding and shading out understory plant species and by creating conditions for extremely hot and destructive wildfires. In southern Florida (Miami-Dade County), it is a serious threat to the globally imperiled pine rocklands community whose pine canopy was largely destroyed in 1992 by Hurricane Andrew. Burma reed is a highly combustible fuel source because of its overall plant mass, its large feathery flower plumes, and the dense, hay-like leaf litter it produces. This hay-like litter enhances the fire's movement along the ground, while the flower plumes carry the flames high into the air. With the aid of winds, these plumes often detach and fly through the air like torches, providing the potential for additional spread. Photographs of its ignition during a wildfire show flames leaping over 30 feet high, threatening nearby tree canopies.

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Wikipedia

Neyraudia reynaudiana

Neyraudia reynaudiana, commonly known as Burma reed, silk reed, cane grass, or false reed, is a tall, perennial, large-plumed grass native to subtropical Asia, but invasive in southern Florida in the United States.

Description[edit]

The stems of Burma reed, with flower stalks, are from 3 to 15 feet (0.91 to 4.57 m) tall, depending on soil and moisture conditions. The leaves are 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) long and hairless, except for a single line of horizontal hairs at the juncture of the upper and lower portions of the leaf. Stems are approximately 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) wide, round, solid, and have nodes (stem-leaf junctures) every 3 to 5 inches (7.6 to 12.7 cm) along the stem. The flower plumes, which can be up to 3 feet (0.91 m) long, are composed of many hundreds of tiny flowers and have a shimmery, silky appearance. Flowering occurs in April and October in south Florida, each clump producing an average of forty stalks and twelve to twenty flowering plumes. Burma reed resembles several other tall grasses, including common reed (Phragmites communis), giant reed (Arundo donax), pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) and sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum).

Biology and spread[edit]

Burma reed reproduces by seed and through underground stems called rhizomes. Burma reed plants flower twice each year, producing hundreds of thousands of tiny seeds that are dispersed by the wind. New clumps of Burma reed emerge from rhizomes that may be embedded in sand, soil, or rubble.

Native range[edit]

Burma reed is widely distributed in warm, subtropical habitats in Southeast Asia and Indomalaya, including portions of Japan, southern China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaya, Myanmar (Burma), Bhutan, Nepal, and eastern India. It occurs in bogs, in open savannahs, on upland cliffs, and along forest and road edges, and from sea level to altitudes of 6,500 feet (2,000 m).

Range in the United States[edit]

Burma reed was first introduced into the United States in 1916 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, possibly to investigate its potential as an ornamental plant. It was grown in a test garden in Coconut Grove, Florida, from which it escaped and spread. It is now found throughout southern Florida in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Lee, and Collier counties, and in the Florida Keys. It initially colonizes the margins of roadways, fields, and forests, from which it can spread to undisturbed areas. The ability of Burma reed to survive at high altitudes in its native range indicates a tolerance to cold and the potential for it to spread further north in the U.S. Seeds and rhizomes are also transported inadvertently in limestone rock from infested quarries that is carried by train from Miami-Dade County to concrete manufacturers throughout the southeastern United States. This unintentional movement of Burma reed material may allow it to invade new sites in Florida and adjacent states near limestone distribution centers.

Ecological threat[edit]

Burma reed damages native Florida ecosystems by crowding and shading out understory plant species and by creating conditions for extremely hot and destructive wildfires. In southern Florida, in Miami-Dade County, including Everglades National Park, it is a serious threat to the globally imperiled pine rocklands community whose pine canopy was largely destroyed in 1992 by Hurricane Andrew. Burma reed is a highly combustible fuel source because of its high overall plant mass, its large feathery flower plumes, and its production of dense, hay-like leaf litter. This litter enhances fire movement along the ground, while the flower plumes carry the flames high into the air. With the aid of winds, these plumes often detach and fly through the air like torches, providing the potential for additional spread. Photographs of its ignition during a wildfire show flames leaping over 30 feet (9.1 m) high, threatening nearby tree canopies.

Management options[edit]

Restoration of sites infested with Burma reed requires a long term commitment to ensure effective control and to allow native vegetation to become established. Burma reed's deep roots make mechanical removal an extremely labor-intensive and costly undertaking and causes extensive disturbance to the soil. A more effective management approach involves a combination of cutting or prescribed burning, followed by application of herbicides. After cutting, mowing or burning Burma reed plants down to the ground, a systemic herbicide like glyphosate, mixed with an acidic surfactant, can be applied to prevent new growth. Repeat treatment is likely to be necessary for a couple of years, until seed and rhizome stores are exhausted.

A successful burn of Burma reed reduces the plant's massive stalks to ash, eliminating the cost of vegetation removal. Conveniently, because Burma reed is the first plant to resprout following a fire, it can be sprayed freely with little concern about non-target kills. Burning by itself, whether through prescribed or natural wildfires, may enhance the growth and spread of Burma reed if not followed up with chemical or mechanical control.

In areas where Burma reed is dispersed among desirable native vegetation, individual plants can be cut at the base using a steel blade or string trimmer and the remaining portions sprayed with herbicide to prevent new growth. Resprouts should be treated with a second herbicide application to the new growth. This method requires highly qualified applicators who can target the herbicide to avoid damage to native plants, and may not be cost effective for extensive infestations.

Further reading[edit]

The material in this article was adapted from the public domain information from the Plant Conservation Alliance, Alien Plant Working Group.

  • Bor, N.L. 1960. The Grasses of Burma, Ceylon, India and Pakistan. Pergamon Press, New York, 767 pp.
  • Gordon, D.R. and K.P. Thomas. 1997. Florida’s invasion by non-indigenous plants: history, screening, and regulation. In Simberloff, D., D.C. Schmitz, and T.C. Brown (eds.), Strangers in Paradise: Impact and Management of Nonindigenous Species in Florida. Island Press, Washington, DC. 467 pp.
  • Guala, Jr., G.F. 1990. Element Stewardship Abstract for Neyraudia reynaudiana. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA. 5 pp.
  • Hammer, R.L. 1998. Wildland Weeds. Summer 1998. Vol. 1, No. 3, p. 9.
  • Langeland, K.A. and K. Craddock Burks, Eds. 1998. Invasive Non-native Plants of Florida’s Natural Areas. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.
  • Lazarides, M. 1980. The Tropical Grasses of Southeast Asia. J. Cramer, Vaduz. 225 pp.
  • Maguire J. 1993. Status of Burma reed in Dade County pine rocklands. Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council Newsletter
  • Noltie, H.J. 1998. Flora of Bhutan. Volume 3. Publisher Royal Botanic Garden Publications,. Edinburgh (scheduled for publication in 1999)
  • Schmitz, D.C., D. Simberloff, R.H. Hofstetter, W. Haller, and D. Sutton. 1997. The ecological impacts of nonindigenous plants. In Simberloff, D., D.C. Schmitz, and T.C. Brown (eds.), Strangers in Paradise: Impact and Management of Nonindigenous Species in Florida. Island Press, Washington, DC. 467 pp.
  • The Nature Conservancy. Neyraudia reynaudiana: Element Stewardship Abstract. In: Wildland Weeds Management & Research Program, Weeds on the Web.
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Notes

Comments

The lower glume lies tight against the lowest sterile lemma and is easily overlooked.

This is an ornamental and soil-retaining grass.

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Comments

This species is apparently known only from the type gathering, which has not been seen.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

The scientific name of silk reed (Kart) is Neyraudia reynaudiana (Kunth)
Keng ex A.S. Hitchc. (Poaceae) [14,40].
  • 40. Wunderlin, Richard P.; Hansen, Bruce F. 2003. Guide to the vascular plants of Florida. 2nd edition. Gainesville, FL: The University of Florida Press. 787 p. [69433]
  • 14. Kartesz, John T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 1st ed. In: Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. Chapel Hill, NC: North Carolina Botanical Garden (Producer). In cooperation with: The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service; U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. [36715]

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Common Names

silk reed

silk-reed

silkreed

Burma reed

Burmareed

cane grass

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