Scientific Name: Miscanthus sinensis

Common Name: Chinese silvergrass

Other Common Names: eulalia, zebra grass

Synonyms: Miscanthus sinensis Andersson ssp. Condensatus, Miscanthus sinensis var. gracillimus, Miscanthus sinensis var. variegatus, Miscanthus sinensis var. zebrinus, Miscanthus sinensis var. purpurascens

Habit: It is a warm season grass that forms a dense clump of upward-arching stems and leaves which gives it a round, fountain-like appearance.

Leaves: Leaves are 1 inch wide and up to 3 ft long. Leaves are sparsely pubescent on both sides. Leaf tips are sharp and margins are rough. Fringed membranous ligule is 1 to 2mm long.

Identifying Characteristics: It is a densely-bunched grass that grows upright with silvery mid-veins on the leaves. It can grow up to 12 feet tall. It is highly flammable and known for being a fire hazard. Leaves often turn attractive shades of yellow to orange by mid-fall before turning beige-tan going into winter.

Flower Seed Head: Flowering time is mid-summer into early autumn. Terminal inflorescence are 4 to 14 in long. Inflorescence open, with large fan-shaped branches. Extending from the spikelet is a needle-like awn that is surrounded by many silky hairs. The color gradually changes from pale pink to reddish in color then turns tan in the fall through winter. The structures takes on a silvery color and fluffy appearance for winter

Seed Fruit: The seeds are rough with twisted bristle tip from 3 to 4mm long.

Where Found: Chinese silvergrass prefers well drained soils and full sun. It invades roadsides, field edges, and disturbed sites. Miscanthus can become invasive by escaping established ornamental plantings into disturbed areas. Native to Asia, it was primarily introduced into the United States as an ornamental plant. However, it now has become an invasive species. It can be found throughout the eastern U.S., Colorado, and California.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Grass

  • Auricle: not present

  • Plant family: Poaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: rolled in bud

  • Hair surface: hairs from base to tip

  • Ligule: membrane

  • Length: 1-2 mm

  • Seed head: flowers

  • Width: more than 15 mm

  • Grass stem: round