Cenchrus polystachios 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Poales Poaceae

Scientific Name: Cenchrus polystachios (L.) Morrone
Common Name(s):
English Mission Grass
Panicum polystachion L.
Pennisetum polystachion (L.) Schult.
Pennisetum stenostachyum Peter
Taxonomic Source(s): Kameswara Rao, N., Reddy, L.J. and Bramel, P.J. 2003. Potential of wild species for genetic enhancement of some semi‐arid food crops. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 50: 707–721.
Taxonomic Notes: Cenchrus polystachios (L.) Morrone belongs to Gene Pool three of Pearl Millet Cenchrus americanus (L.) Morrone [=Pennisteum glaucum (L.) R.Br.]

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2014-01-31
Assessor(s): Rhodes, L. & Maxted, N.
Reviewer(s): Fielder, H.
Cenchrus polystachios is globally assessed as Least Concern as it is a widespread species and noxious weed where it is naturalized. It is not deemed a priority for conservation within its genus.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is native to tropical Africa and is naturalized in tropical and temperate Asia, Australasia, Northern America, Southern America, and the Pacific; it is also cultivated (Parker 2008).
Countries occurrence:
Angola; Benin; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Kenya; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:688Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:20000000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is widespread and is classed as a noxious weed in some areas (USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2014).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:UnknownPopulation severely fragmented:Unknown
Continuing decline in subpopulations:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:UnknownAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This weedy, perennial, graminoid is though to occur in numerous habitat types, particularly in grasslands, disturbed areas (roadsides, waste areas, arable land) and scrublands (Parker 2008).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:No

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Cenchrus polystachios is a tertiary genetic relative of Pearl Millet Cenchrus americanus  [=Pennisetum glaucum] and so it has the potential for use as a gene donor for crop improvement, having already shown promise in this capacity (Kameswara Rao et al. 2003). It is also cultivated and used for animal fodder (USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2014).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The threats to this species remain unknown, however due to its widespread distribution in a range of habitats it is suspected that any threats to which it is exposed will have a small impact on the species range as a whole.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

The genus Pennisetum [Cenchrus] is included in Annex 1 of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), which aims to guarantee sustainable agriculture and food security through the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from their use (FAO 2009).

EURISCO reports 26 accessions held in European genebanks, all of which have no reported information regarding their origin (EURISCO Catalogue 2013). A further three accessions of this species is held in the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS, in the USA), none of which are of wild origin or backed up at a second site, but all of which have restricted access due its status as a noxious weed (USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2014). The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT 2014) holds 88 accessions of wild origin for this species (CGIAR 2004). Three accessions (3,000 seeds) are reported to be duplicated and conserved ex situ in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV Data Portal 2013). Also, according to Botanical Garden Conservation International (BGCI 2013) this species has living collections in six botanical gardens worldwide, although the size, state, origin and location of the collections are not detailed in this resource (garden locations are undisclosed to protect rare and valuable plant species). This species is not deemed a conservation priority within its genus (Maxted and Kell 2009).

Amended [top]

Amended reason: This species was originally assessed under the genus Pennisetum, but it is now treated under Cenchrus, hence the need for this amended assessment. The species name has been updated in the text.

Citation: Rhodes, L. & Maxted, N. 2017. Cenchrus polystachios (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T13490739A117198934. . Downloaded on 22 January 2018.
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