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Chinese Silver Grass

Chinese Silvergrass, Miscanthus sinensis

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Common Name: Chinese silver grass
Scientific Name: Miscanthus sinensis
Origin: Asia

Description

Introduced as an ornamental, chinese silver grass comes in a variety of cultivars. This perennial grass grows in clumps. The stalks can reach 5-10 ft., and have alternate leaves that may be 40” long and 1” wide. The flowering head of chinese silver grass may be drooping or upright and will produce red, pink or silver blooms. Many cultivars produce seed, but its primary mode of reproducing and spreading is through rhizomes.

Habitat

Chinese silver grass can tolerate a wide variety of temperature ranges and soil types. In its native range, chinese silver grass grows in grasslands affected by fire and volcanic ash. In North America, it is found mostly in human-disturbed areas such as fallow fields, irrigation ditches and roadsides, though it has also been found in forest margins.

Threat

Chinese silver grass rapidly spreads in areas that have been disturbed, such as roadsides. It is considered a wildfire hazard because it produces large amounts of highly flammable, dry plant material.

Management

Smaller patches can be removed manually, as long as all of the root is dug out of the ground. Larger infestations may be treated with herbicides. Burning is not effective, and will help chinese silver grass spread.

Regional Distribution

Uknown

WNY PRISM Priority

Tier 5 – Monitor

Invasive Species Priorities – Tier Chart

Chinese silver grass is a regulated species in New York State – for more information on Prohibited and Regulated Species, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/99141.html.

Native Alternatives 

Prairie cord grass (Spartina pectinata)

Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)

Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)

Bluejoint grass (Calamagrostis canadensis)