Invasive potential of Miscanthus sacchariflorus and Miscanthus sinensis
Perennial grass species from the genus Miscanthus have been widely planted for both ornamental and industrial (biofuels) purposes. However, some species within this genus pose a threat to the EPPO region due to their invasive behaviour. Miscanthus sacchariflorus and M. sinensis (EPPO Alert List) are both native to Asia and were introduced into Europe in the late 1800s. The hybrid M. x giganteus was introduced into Europe in the mid-1930s. In the present study the authors obtained 215 records (81 for M. sinensis, 122 for M. sacchariflorus and 11 for M. x giganteus) from Europe. Most records were from western European countries though several records did exist from Mediterranean areas and eastern European countries. In these countries most escaped populations occur in grassland sites, along rivers and in ruderal habitats such as extraction sites, roadside sites and habitats near urban gardens. When comparing escaped populations in the USA and Europe there are two main similarities (1) the populations are small and are not spreading rapidly, and (2) for M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus both species show similar climatic preferences. Compared to the USA however, the establishment of both species seems less advanced in Europe – which may be due to the shorter history of introduction and a lower frequency of planting for both horticulture and biofuels. The author concludes that the invasion potential of Miscanthus species needs to be carefully tested and current escaped populations in both the USA and Europe should be carefully monitored.
Schnitzler A, Essl F (2015) From horticulture and biofuel to invasion: the spread of Miscanthus taxa in the USA and Europe. Weed Research DOI: 10.1111/wre.12141