Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Gynerium sagittatum
(Aubl.) P. Beauv., Poaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  no

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Common name(s): [more details]

English: bitter cane, saw grass, uva grass, wild cane

Spanish: caña brava, caña bambúa, caña de castilla

Habit:  grass

Description:  "Habit: Perennial. Rhizomes elongated. Culms erect; reed-like; 300-1000 cm long; 20-80 mm diameter. Culm-internodes solid. Leaves cauline; distichous. Ligule a ciliolate membrane. Collar with external ligule. Leaf-blades 40-200 cm long; 20-80 mm wide. Leaf-blade margins scabrous. Dioecious. Inflorescence a panicle. Panicle open; ovate; 100-150 cm long. Primary panicle branches profusely divided. Spikelets solitary. Fertile spikelets pedicelled. Spikelets comprising 2 fertile florets; without rhachilla extension. Spikelets cuneate; laterally compressed; 7-10 mm long; breaking up at maturity; disarticulating below each fertile floret. Floret callus elongated; 0.5 mm long; glabrous, or pilose. Glumes deciduous; dissimilar; exceeding apex of florets; similar to fertile lemma in texture; recurved at apex (upper glume). Lower glume linear; 3 mm long; 0.3-0.5 times length of upper glume; membranous; without keels; 1-veined. Lower glume lateral veins absent. Lower glume apex acuminate. Upper glume linear; 7-10 mm long; 1.5-2 times length of adjacent fertile lemma; membranous; without keels; 3 -veined. Upper glume apex caudate. Florets: Fertile florets recurved at tip; female. Fertile lemma elliptic; 5 mm long; membranous; without keel; 3 -veined. Lemma surface plumose; hairy below. Lemma margins involute. Lemma apex caudate. Palea 0.25 times length of lemma; 2 -veined. Flower: Lodicules 2. Anthers 2; 1.5-2 mm long. Stigmas 2. Male inflorescence similar to female; a panicle. Male spikelets distinct from female (glabrous); 3 mm long. Male spikelet glumes 2"  (World Grass Species).

"Perennial grass.  The roots are fibrous.  The stem is erect, somewhat woody and 3 to 12 meters tall.  The leaves are linear-lanceolate, 1 to 2 meters long and 4 to 6 centimeters wide and the margins are toothed.  The inflorescence is a large white, feathery, monoecious panicle, 50 to 100 centimeters long.  The fruit is a caryopsis.  It is very similar to sugarcane"  (Cardenas et al., 1972; p. 23).

Habitat/ecology:  "Wild cane grows on sites with moist soils, usually high in organic matter, often with the water table near the surface. These sites are seasonally flooded areas such as lake shores, swamps, river flood planes, or sand bars. The species grows at elevations from 10 to 1,600 m above sea level in Costa Rica (Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad 2002). Wild cane resists damage from moderate flooding and sprouts after being covered with sediment. "Large type" stands in the western Amazon region vary in density from 0.6 to 2.6 culms/square meter. Forest edges "shade out" portions of wild cane stands, and occasional trees grow up through stands and eventually suppress culms growing under their crowns. The species affects the course of forest succession (Kalliola and others 1991). Apparently, disturbance that creates bare, wet soil is necessary for seedling establishment"  (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).  "Perennial grass common along riverbanks and in moist soils"  (Cardenas et al., 1972; p. 23).

Propagation:  Seed and vegetative cuttings (Cardenas et al., 1972; p. 23).  "Seeds are dispersed by wind and water (Kalliola and others 1992). Vegetative propagation is also important, both for expanding colonies and establishing new ones. Horizontal runners or rhizomes, surface or underground, are constantly active and establish new plants or clumps as far as 20 m from the parent plants (Pohl 1983). Segments of culm or rhizome, carried by floodwaters and covered with soil or debris, sprout and start new colonies"  (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

Native range:  "Wild cane is native to the West Indies except the Bahamas, and from Mexico through Central America and South America to Paraguay (Howard 1979)"  (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Ecuador (Mainland)
Ecuador
Ecuador (Republic of) (continental) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Honduras
Honduras
Honduras (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Panama
Panama
Panama (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Perú
Perú
Perú (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 23 FEB 2007 and was last updated on 22 AUG 2009.