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Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

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Photo Credit: Frank Vincentz

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Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

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Photo Credit: KISC

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QUICK FACTS

  • HPRWA SCORE 26
  • FAMILY Poaceae
  • CATEGORY Grasses & Groundcovers

fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum)

Poses a major fire threat to many of Hawai`i's natural and developed areas. Pennisetum setaceum is on the Hawai`i State Noxious Weed List. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife of the Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources has designated this species as one of Hawai`i's Most Invasive Horticultural Plants.

  • Medium-sized clumping grass, grows up to 3 ft tall
  • Leaves are long and round like wire, they do not form flat "blades"
  • The flower seedheads are long, purple to yellow "spikes" (4 - 9.5 in)
  • Found on all main Hawaiian islands (controlled on Kaua`i, Maui, Moloka`i and Kaho`olawe); native to Africa
  • Seeds spread by the wind

Harm

  • Fire-promoting. Dry fountain grass is an excellent fuel for brush fires.
  • Fire-adapting, it can survive brush fires, where native plants cannot.
  • Grows quickly and outcompetes other plants for resources like water and space.
  • Poor pasture grass, degrades the quality of pasturelands, particularly in drier areas.

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