by Stephen Mifsud
   26 Sep 2023      ()
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Pennisetum setaceum   (African Feather Grass)

Pennisetum setaceum  (POACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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General Information Species Images
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Profile Date Dec-2018 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Pennisetum setaceum - datasheet created on Dec-2018. Retrieved from on 26-Sep-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Pennisetum setaceum(Forssk.) Chiov.
Published in Bull. Soc. Bot. Ital. 1923: 113 (1923)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Cenchrus setaceus (Forssk.) Morrone
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Poaceae Barnhart (=Gramineae) (The Grass Family)
152 species from the Poaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

African Feather Grass, Fountain Grass

Maltese name(s) :

Penniżetum, Pjuma, Rixa twila

Status for Malta :

Invasive Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta any time after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World), and spreads rapidly to form large invasive populations to the detriment of native flora or ecosystems.

Frequency :

Data not available - casual or short-lived in the wild from accidental garden or agriculture escape

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: HEMICRYPTOPHYTE ( prostate plants with flowers close to the ground )
Germination [info]: Monocotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

May – August

Colour of Flowers:

White, Violet or Brown


Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

Cannot be planted in the wild (rural areas) since the species may be invasive (see ERA guidelines)

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Mostly in urban areas such as roadsides, pavement flagstones, neglected gardens but escaping in natural habitats such as garigue and degraded rocky ground.
Botanical Description: Data will be available in the next update of this website.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Ag Eg IJ Le Li Ma Si(S) Sn Tn [Ca(C F G H L P T) Hs Lu Sa]

Links & Further literature (2 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Contribution to the alien flora of the Maltese Islands: New records, observations on invasive species and taxonomic updates Stephen Mifsud  (2017)
A contribution to the knowledge of alien flora in the Maltese Islands J. Sciberras & A. Sciberras  (2010)
Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (12 images)
   Pennisetum setaceum   -   Image Code: PNNST-0.
   Pennisetum setaceum   -   Image Code: PNNST-1.
   Pennisetum setaceum   -   Image Code: PNNST-2.
   Pennisetum setaceum   -   Image Code: PNNST-3.
   Pennisetum setaceum   -   Image Code: PNNST-4.
   Pennisetum setaceum   -   Image Code: PNNST-5.
   Pennisetum setaceum   -   Image Code: PNNST-6.
   Pennisetum setaceum   -   Image Code: PNNST-7.
   Pennisetum setaceum   -   Image Code: PNNST-8.
   Pennisetum setaceum   -   Image Code: PNNST-9.
   Pennisetum setaceum   -   Image Code: PNNST-10.
   Pennisetum setaceum   -   Image Code: PNNST-11.

Buy Seeds and Docs
Sales of seeds of wild plants for academic studies, research or personal use. Note that not all species seeds can be exported - depending on Maltese regulations and CITES, and availability depends on season. You are hence kindly requested to first fill and submit a quotation form by which you will get confirmation of the purchase, availability and charges. Currently local orders are not taken.   Online Quotation (Seeds)

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Use this form to submit more information on this species or report mistakes in this webpage. If information supplied is taken from a book, journal or website, please provide the corresponding reference or website address. Your email address is only for internal communication. Please report only Maltese locations for plants that indicated as rare or very rare (refer to the nomenclature section above). Please do report mistakes, broken links, technical errors, typing / grammar errors, misidentifications or taxonomical updates; this will help to improve the website's accuracy. Thanks you! Fill any of the three sections (A/B/C) below and kindly submit the form.     * = required fields.
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Section A:  Additional Information about this plant species
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Section B:   Where have you seen this plant on the Maltese Islands?
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Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
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