University of Florida

Cogongrass: Introduction

Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is a serious invasive weed in much off the southeastern USA. It was introduced into the USA in the early 1900s from Japan and the Philippines. The native range of cogongrass is vast and includes Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Australia. Recent molecular studies indicate that there are two major types of cogongrass in the southeastern USA, one that dominates in peninsular Florida and a second that is dominant further north in Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and the Florida panhandle. In the southeast ern USA, cogongrass displaces native and desirable species and increases the frequency and intensity of forest fires.


Ongoing Activities

  • Surveys are being conducted in Africa and Asia to identify potential biological control agents of cogongrass.  Several potentially useful natural enemies have been identified in East Africa, the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. Efforts are underway to establish laboratory colonies of one or more natural enemies so that host range testing can begin.