Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is an invasive, non-native grass which occurs in the Southeast region of the United States.
An invasive species in 73 countries and considered to be one to the "Top 10 Worst Weeds in the World", cogongrass affects pine productivity and survival, wildlife habitat, recreation, native plants, fire behavior, site management costs, and more. Cogongrass has several common names, including Japanese bloodgrass, Red Baron, or Speargrass.
This perennial grass from Southeast Asia was introduced into the United States in 1911 near Mobile, Alabama as packing material in a shipment of plants from Japan. Cogongrass was introduced into Mississippi as a forage crop before 1920. Later, it was introduced into Florida for forage and soil stabilization. Cogongrass was found to be unsuitable for forage and its ability to rapidly spread and displace desirable vegetation outweighed any soil erosion control considerations. Although the transport of this plant into and throughout the United States is prohibited by federal law, cogongrass continues to spread throughout the southeast gulf coastal areas, threatening forests, rangelands, natural areas, roadsides, and residential areas.
Cogongrass is currently documented in 63 of the 82 counties in Mississippi and has become a serious problem for land managers in the southern part of the state. To report a sighting of this invasive grass, please call: The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce - Bureau of Plant Industry (662) 325-3390.
(Map Source: USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Plants Database)
Mississippi counties with significant levels of cogongrass infestation.
(Map Source: Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce. Click to enlarge picture).
Cogongrass interactive map for the state of Alabama (click on picture to view interactive map).
(Map Source: Alabama Forestry Commission)
Cogongrass - Developed by the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia
Field Guide to the Identification of Cogongrass - (3.78 mb Adobe pdf document)
Wanted Dead Not Alive: Cogongrass - Auburn University
Plant Profile - USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Plants Database
For more information on the MFC's Invasive Plant Control Program, please contact:
Invasive Plant Control Program Coordinator
P.O. Box 749
515 County Farm Lane NE
Brookhaven, Mississippi 39602-0749
Office: (601) 833-6621
Cell: (601) 344-8599