Ehrharta erecta in Italy
Ehrharta erecta (Poaceae), commonly known as panic veldtgrass or erect veldtgrass is a perennial grass species native to Southern and Eastern Africa. Within the EPPO region, the species has been recorded in Ireland where it was identified in 2017, growing along a small pathway within an urban environment (EPPO RS 2018/230), and in Italy. The present research aimed to clarify the distribution of E. erecta in Italy based on relevant literature reviews, field surveys and the analysis of herbarium samples. Field work was conducted between 2001-2018 in Italian locations where this species was reported to reside in the past (Caserta, Portici and Naples in Campania, Caffarella Valley in Lazio, Cagliari in Sardinia), as well as in Catania (Sicily). In Italy, E. erecta is present in Campania (Royal Parks of Portici and Caserta). Here the species grows mainly inside Quercus ilex forests and around the edges, but it is also present in disturbed grassy places. Previous reports of the species in the Puglia region of Italy are considered as unsubstantiated, as no evidence for its presence was found in the literature or from herbarium samples. During field surveys in Sicily, the presence of E. erecta was ascertained in the urban area of Catania, where a small population of the species was found in the historic area of the city. Here, the population covers approximately 25 m2 and consists of eight individuals. In Sicily, the authors consider the species to be a casual alien. In Sardinia, E. erecta is reported from the Botanical Garden of Cagliari and just outside of the garden.
Stinca A, Mei G (2019) Ehrharta erecta Lam. (Poaceae, Ehrhartoideae): distribution in Italy and taxonomy of one of the most invasive plant species in the world. BioInvasions Records 8(4), 742-752.