- Photo credit: @Forest Starr & Kim Starr
- Pennisetum setaceum
- Common Names: Crimson fountaingrass
- Habitat: Deserts, roads, wasteland, grasslands, pastures
- Description: Native to Northern Africa, the crimson fountaingrass is an attractive grass with feathery purple flower spikes.
- Origin and Worldwide Distribution: Native to Northern Africa.The species was first introduced into Europe as an ornamental plant but has since escaped into the wild. It is currently established in Spain, France, Italy, Malta and Portugal.
- Potential or Known Impacts: It has high dispersal ability through seeds and roots, and therefore the potential to spread rapidly throughout the Mediterranean. Its seeds can also spread accidentally via vehicles and machinery.An aggressive plant that forms dense thickets, it can readily outcompete native plants with important negative impact on vulnerable native species, especially in protected areas.The Crimson fountaingrass is also a very inflammable species, increasing the intensity and spread of fires, and spreading even faster in the growing season following a fire. The risk of the plant increasing its spread throughout the Mediterranean area is high.
- How did it/could it get here? The species was first introduced into Europe as an ornamental plant but has since escaped into the wild.The risk of the plant increasing its spread throughout the Mediterranean area is high.
- Is it found in Ireland or Northern Ireland? Not present in Ireland or Northern Ireland.
- Methods for Prevention: EU-level action includes a ban on sales and any planting or keeping, as well as rapid eradication of any new populations to avoid the excessively high costs associated with its management later on.
- Current Legislative Position (Listed on 02 August 2017) This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment.For further queries, you can contact the Non Native Invasive Species Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558.