No Cause for Panic!

There is no cause for panic! But there is certainly a need for awareness of the invasive plant species, panic veldtgrass (Ehrharta erecta).

We are enormously grateful to Anne Haden from Jersey Biodiversity Centre, who spotted this unwelcome grass species at the Alder Collection, in St Brelade.

Soon afterwards, Anne joined our own Alex and Ben, along with volunteers Alisdair Macleod and Wendy Wild, for a productive morning uprooting this troublesome grass species.

Native to South Africa and Yemen, this highly adaptable grass is a documented invasive plant in USA, China, Australia, New Zealand, southern Europe and is on the Invasive Species List for Jersey.

A robust perennial, it produces flowers and seeds throughout the year, germinating rapidly and producing new plants within a few weeks. It has no natural predators in Jersey and tolerates a wide range of conditions thriving in woodlands, beside streams, roadsides, and dunes.

The grass forms a dense mat, competing directly with seedlings of other plant species and preventing native seeds reaching the soil. Consequently, Jersey Biodiversity Centre encourages everyone to be on the lookout for it and to notify them if you think you see it. So far, it has only been found in a few spots in Jersey, but its potential to spread aggressively means that all parts of the plant should be removed as soon as possible.

Panic veldtgrass’s wide, pale green leaves and panicles of small round seed heads help to identify it from native species. Its paler appearance among our native grass also gives it away.

If you want a better idea of what this invasive species looks like, more pictures are available on iNaturalist.