Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is an invasive, non-native grass which occurs in the Southeast region of the United States.
Master Map

It is considered to be an invasive species in 73 countries and one of 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. 

To report a sighting of this invasive grass, please call: The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce - Bureau of Plant Industry (662) 325-3390. 


United States



us distribution

Distribution Map Legend

(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 Resources 

Cogongrass Control Program

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) 

Plant Profile - USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Plants Database 

Five-year Cogongrass Suppression Map in MS

Video - Cogongrass: The Perfect Weed  Developed and Produced by the Coastal Plains RC&D Center
Video - Cogongrass on Fire  Filmed on location in Alabama 


For more information on the MFC's Invasive Plant Control Program, please contact: 

Michael Mathis 
Forest Health Specialist
477 South Gate Road
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
Office: (601) 833-6621
Cell: (601) 344-8599