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Species Page

mission grass

Pennisetum polystachion
This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC). Find out more information on how to access the CPC.
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.


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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

show all species affected
Bambusa vulgaris (common bamboo)
Camellia sinensis (tea)
Glycine max (soyabean)
Gossypium (cotton)
Sorghum bicolor (sorghum)
Zea mays (maize)

List of symptoms / signs

Prevention and control


P. polystachion is spread mostly by its highly viable seeds. However, the grains alone cannot be used for positive identification (Holm et al., 1977). Shipments of crop seeds from countries or localities that are infested with P. polystachion should be closely examined upon arrival in non-infested areas. Infested shipments should be thoroughly cleaned to minimize further spread.


As with other annual weeds, the primary concern in control of P. polystachion is to prevent further seed production and to eliminate the seed bank in the soil. Due to successive germinations and the risk of erosion, repeated cultivation is not a practical control method. Instead, a combination of cultivation, herbicides and, in pastures, careful grazing management provides the best results. The grass is also susceptible to fire (Gupta and Trivedi, 2001).

Cultural control and sanitary measures

In rubber plantations in Thailand, shading by the legumes Canavalia ensiformis, Lablab purpureus and Mucuna pruriens provided enough shading to greatly suppress P. polystachion (Kobayashi et al., 2003).

Physical/mechanical control

Seed production can be prevented by mowing or cutting of plants before flowering (Watson, 1986). Isolated plants can be hand pulled or dug out.

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: