Miscanthus sinensis Anderss.Miscanthus sinensis Anderss.
Chinese Silver Grass, Eulalia Grass, Maiden Grass, Zebra Grass
May be confused with the following native and/or non-native species.
Landscape Alternatives lists native horticultural substitutes
HeightChinese Silver Grass is a tall, densely bunched, perennial grass, 5 to 10 feet (1.5 to 3 m) in height.
StemStems are upright-to-arching, originating in tufts from base and unbranched. They are covered with overlapping leaf sheaths until stem appears with flower plume in late summer.
LeavesLeaves are alternate, long linear, upright-to-arching (persisting and curly tipped when dried) to 40 inches (1 m) long and less than 0.8 inch (2 cm) wide. Blades are green to variegated (light green striped) with whitish collars and a white midvein above and green ridged beneath. Tufted hairs appear at the throat, sheath margins, and ligule, but otherwise leaves are hairless. The margins are rough.
FlowersFrom August to November, the plant produces much branched and drooping terminal plumed panicles, 4 to 15 inches (10 to 38 cm) long and 2 to 8 inches (5 to 20 cm) wide. They are silvery to pinkish and showiest in fall. Stalk is appressed rough hairy.
SeedsSeptember to January. The grain is hidden, with membranous husks, yellowish brown to slightly reddish, sparsely hairy, with twisted tip. Dried grass stands with some seed heads during winter, but seed viability is spotty.
ImagesPhoto: James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
More images of Miscanthus sinensis
Life HistoryChinese silver grass is a tall, densely bunched, perennial grass, 5 to 10 feet (1.5 to 3 m) in height. Long-slender upright-to-arching leaves have whitish upper midveins. Many loosely plumed panicles in late summer turn silvery to pinkish in fall. Dried grass stands with some seed heads during winter, but seed viability is spotty. It is a member of the Poaceae or Grass family.
Ecology and HabitatChinese silver grass forms extensive infestations by escaping from older ornamental plantings to roadsides, forest margins, and adjacent disturbed sites, especially after burning. It is shade tolerant. Highly flammable, it is a fire hazard.
Origin and DistributionIntroduced from eastern Asia, it is widely sold and increasingly planted as an ornamental. Several varieties are imported and sold. New cultivars are assumed to be mostly sterile.
Other states where invasive: WI, IL, IN, KY, VA, MD, NJ, PA, CT, NC, SC, GA. Federal or state listed as noxious weed, prohibited, invasive or banned: CT.
Source: Information on this plant page is derived primarily from James H. Miller's Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests, USDA Forest Service.
Foliar Spray MethodThoroughly wet all leaves with one of the following herbicides in water with a surfactant (September or October with multiple applications to regrowth):
Arsenal AC as a 1-percent solution (4 ounces per 3-gallon mix)
A glyphosate herbicide as a 2-percent solution (8 ounces per 3-gallon mix)
A combination of the two herbicides
Nontarget plants may be killed or injured by root uptake.