Chinese Silvergrass

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Chinese Silver Grass

(Miscanthus Sinesis)

Interesting Information About Plant: 

Miscanthus Sinesis, or Chinese Silver Grass, is a popular ornamental grass found near private ponds, lakes, and flower gardens.  The common name is derived from the plant’s native home (China, East Asia) as well as the color of the feathery seed pods produced in the fall.  However, there are many cultivars of this plant that differ in flower color, height and width, as well as leaf color.  The leaves of Chinese maiden grass are simple, thin green leaves whereas the leaves of the “Zebrina” variety have yellow and green horizontal stripes.

Gardeners and landscapers like the plant because of its elegance and also because it’s a relatively easy plant to take care of.  The plant is deer and insect-pest resistant but does attract birds and butterflies.  It has high fire tolerance, also making it drought resistant.  It grows the best in full sun, but can adapt to partial shade.  Because the leaves are not lost over the winter, but die off, many growers will cut the grass back to the ground in early spring so that new, green growth is not covered with the dead leaves.  

Family Name (Scientific and Common): Poaceae (Graminae) – Grass Family

Continent of Origin: Asia

Most Distinguishing Morphological Features of This Plant: Its height and the feathery inflorescent flowers.

Plant Growth Habit: Upright Herbaceous

Height at Maturity: Between 3 – 10 Feet 

Life Span: Perennial

Seasonal Habit: Deciduous Perennial

Growth Habitat: Full Sun 

Manner of Culture: Landscape Shrub-Vine-Tree  

Thorns on Younger Stem? No

Cross Section of Younger Stem: Roundish   

Stem (or Trunk) Diameter: Less Than The Diameter of a Pencil

Produces Brownish Bark? No

Bark Peeling in Many Areas? No

Characteristics of Mature (Brownish) Bark: No Mature Bark (all green)

Type of Leaf: Flat, Thin Leaf  

Length of Leaf (or Leaflet): Longer Than a Writing Pen

Leaf Complexity: Simple 

Shape of Leaf: Simple 

Edge of Leaf:  Smooth 

Leaf Arrangement: Alternate 

Leaf has Petiole?  Yes  /   No

Patterns of Main-Veins: Parallel 

Leaf Hairiness:  Somewhat Hairy  

Color of Foliage in Summer:  Green   

Change in Color of Foliage in October: Changes to Yellow/Brown   

Flowering Season: Summer  /   Autumn

Flowers: Tightly Clustered  

Type of Flower: Inflorescence, similar to a Dandelion

Color of Flower: Multicolored, depends on the variety 

Shape of Individual Flower: Other

Size of Individual Flower: Smaller than a Quarter  

Sexuality:  Hermaphroditic Flower  

Size of Fruit:  Smaller than a Quarter

Fruit Fleshiness at Maturity: Dry

Shape of Fruit: Oblong-Oval  

Color of Fruit at Maturity: Brown

Fruit Desirable to Birds or Squirrels? No  

Unique Morphological Features of Plant: The feathery seed pods

Is the Plant Poisonous: None of Plant

Pesty Plant (weedy, hard to control)? Yes, an aggressive plant

Louisville Plants That Are Most Easily Confused With This One:

Page prepared by:

Leann Cape

December, 2006


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