Miscanthus sinensis, Chinese Silvergrass

Gardens & Landscapes, Invasive Species, Extension Master Gardener February 13, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Miscanthus sinensis, Chinese Silvergrass

Chinese silvergrass is a densely bunched grass that grows up to 12 ft. (3.7 m) tall and invades roadsides, forest edges, old fields, and other disturbed areas throughout the United States. The leaves are up to 18 in. (45 cm) long, slender, and upright to arching, with sharp tips and rough margins. The midribs are silvery. The terminal panicle is fan-shaped, 2 ft. (0.6 m) in length, and silvery to pink. Flowering occurs in late summer. Fruits are rough and about 0.12 to 0.16 in. (3 to 4 mm) long. They have twisted bristle tips. Chinese silvergrass escapes from ornamental plantings and can form large clumps along disturbed areas, displacing native vegetation. The grass is extremely flammable and increases fire risks of invaded areas. Chinese silvergrass is native to Asia and was introduced in the United States for ornamental purposes during the late 1800s.

What are invasive species, and why should we be concerned about them? 


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Cyperales > Poaceae > Miscanthus sinensis Anderss.

Synonym(s): eulalia, Chinese plume grass, zebra grass, eulaliagrass

Miscanthus sinensis - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

Chinese silvergrass - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important 

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS - Report an invasive species to EDDMapS.

County Extension Offices - Find your county Extension office on this map provided by USDA.

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Grass

Chinese silvergrass is a densely bunched grass that grows up to 12 ft. (3.7 m) tall.

Arthur E. Miller, USDA APHIS PPQ, bugwood.org Lauren Quinn, bugwood.org

Foliage

The leaves are up to 18 in. (45 cm) long, slender, and upright to arching, with sharp tips and rough margins. The midribs are silvery.

James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, bugwood.org James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, bugwood.org

Flower

The terminal panicle is fan-shaped, 2 ft. (0.6 m) in length, and silvery to pink. Flowering occurs in late summer.

Chris Evans, River to River CWMA,  bugwood.org Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, bugwood.org

Fruit

Fruits are rough and about 0.12 to 0.16 in. (3 to 4 mm) long. They have twisted bristle tips.

Chris Evans, River to River CWMA,  bugwood.org Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database,  bugwood.org

Native Species That Resemble Chinese Silvergrass

 

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

 

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

 

Additional Images for Chinese Silvergrass

Chinese silvergrass - Images at invasive.org

 

Learning Resources for Chinese Silvergrass

Miscanthus sinensis Identification Card - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Miscanthus sinensis Fact Sheet - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label.

United States Land Grant University System - Find your Land Grant University's College of Agriculture, University Cooperative Extension Service, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

Fact Sheet - Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

A Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service

A Management Guide for Invasive Plants of Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service

Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas - National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual - Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council (SE-EPPC)

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England - University of Connecticut

Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service


 

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.