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History & Distribution
Buffelgrass is native to Africa, Arabia, Canary Islands, Indonesia, northern India, Madagascar, and Pakistan. It is one of the many African grasses that have been introduced to improve cattle forage in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, including the southern United States.
Buffelgrass was introduced to the United States in the 1930s as livestock forage, and has also been used for erosion control and soil stabilization. Several experimental plantings and trials were completed in southern Arizona by a variety of groups from 1938 to the early 1980s -- looking primarily for establishment rates and suitable habitat types.
Records of collections in natural habitat were sparse until about 1980 when it began a rapid expansion. Few people other than botanists noticed it in Arizona before about 1990. Today it is rare to not see it in the southern half of the state, and expansive infestations are becoming more common.
Throughout its native and introduced range, buffelgrass is cultivated and has become invasive in Australia, North and South America, and many islands in the Pacific Ocean (including Hawaii), Indian Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Current Distribution in the United States: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the Virgin Islands.