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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

tall fringe rush (Fimbristylis dichotoma)

Host plants / species affected
Ananas comosus (pineapple)
Camellia sinensis (tea)
Colocasia esculenta (taro)
Oryza sativa (rice)
Tectona grandis (teak)
F. dichotoma is a tufted erect, annual or perennial plant, 10-80 cm tall, with numerous long stems about 2 mm in diameter, slightly three-angled, compressed below the inflorescence, nodeless, smooth. The root system is fibrous, wiry, black. Short rhizomes. Leaves numerous, forming a dense tuft at the base of the stem, being at least half as long as the stem, 1.5-5.0 mm wide, sheath margin membranous. Blades flat or slightly concave, abruptly acuminate, without an evident midrib, glabrous or somewhat pubescent, colour green or green-bluish. Ligules a dense fringe of short hairs. Involucral bracts leaf-like, 2-5, relatively short, the lowest can reach the length of the largest ray of the inflorescence (up to 20 cm). Inflorescence a simple or compound, loose or dense umbel. Spikelets some sessile others on distinct slender stalks, plump and rather egg-shaped, pointed, up to 5 mm long and 2 mm broad, round in section, glumes spirally arranged, imbricate, ovoid or ovoid-lanceolate, 3-10 mm long, fertile glumes shortly mucronate. Spikelets multi-flowered, one to three stamens, style short, thick, two-branched at the apex.

Fruit an obovate to broadly obovate nutlet, 0.8-1.2 mm long, 0.8-1.0 mm wide, biconvex, hard, dry, with about ten longitudinal grooves and transversal lines, brownish, apex round to truncate, at times with the two-branched style persistent.
Prevention and control

F. dichotoma has many similarities to F. miliacea and can be controlled in much the same way (see the data sheet on this species).

Cultural Control

The key to successful cultural control in rice is the establishment of a competitive crop stand. This includes the sowing of weed-free crop seed into a clean seedbed, use of competitive varieties (fast growing, tall and leafy varieties) and maintaining a healthy crop.

Mechanical Control

Inter-row cultivation is an effective, though somewhat laborious, method of control. This should be done when the F. dichotoma is a seedling or small plant and before it competes with the crop. Hand-pulling can be applied to large plants but, by then, the crop will have suffered modest competition.

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:

A heavy infestation of F. dichotoma in a rice field affects productivity by competing for nutrients, causing plants to lodge and making mechanical harvesting almost impossible. It is also costly to control the weed.
Summary of invasiveness
F. dichotoma is an aggressive invader in favourable environments. It is most noted as a weed of paddy rice.
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