South Carolina Forestry Commission
News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2007

Cogongrass Threat Alarming Scientists Across Southeast

(Columbia, SC) -- Researchers associated with the South Carolina Forestry Commission are urging all South Carolinians to brace themselves for an invasive plant species thought to pose a greater threat to the American Southeast than kudzu. You’ll be hearing the name a lot in the future. The species is called Cogongrass.Cogongrass

Laurie Reid, a forest insect and disease scientist working out of the SCFC’s Columbia office said, “There seems to be no redeeming qualities to this plant ecologically.”

Cogongrass is known to spread aggressively, choking out virtually all other plant species. It forms dense mats of undergrowth which also sabotage wildlife habitat. Cogongrass is much harder to control than kudzu. It is also extremely flammable, posing a serious wildfire threat to developed areas and forestlands alike.

How do I know I have a Cogongrass problem? It’s easily identifiable this time of year while it is flowering. The blades can be as tall as six feet, crested with a cylindrical white seed head. This distinctive crown is usually two-to-eight inches in length.

Additionally, variations of this plant have made their way into the world home and garden retail.

Steve Compton, an invasive species researcher with Clemson University, says, “All forms of Imperata cylindrica including the red forms such as Japanese Bloodgrass and Red Baron are illegal in South Carolina. If any form of this plant is found in, the person should contact their local Clemson Extension office or The Department of Plant Industry (864-646-2130).”

Persons finding suspect plants should not dig or pick flowers, simply make an accurate note of the location and call one of the aforementioned agencies.

 

Cogongrass Cogongrass Cogongrass

 

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For more information, contact Scott Hawkins (803) 896-8820

 

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