Cortaderia selloana (J. A. & J. H. Schultes)
Poaceae (Grass) Family
Pampas Grass is a large introduced ornamental. It is native to
central and southern South America, including the grasslands
known as the Pampas located in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.
In Alabama, it is widely planted and has been reported as escaping
in the southern half of the state, particularly near the coast.
It is a serious weed in California, Hawaii, Texas, Australia,
New Zealand, and Spain. Pappas Grass is a perennial tussock forming
grass that reaches a height of 6 to 12 feet. The genus name comes
from the Spanish word "cortada", which translates into
"cutting". Plants are dioecious (having male and female
reproductive organs in separate individuals), or sometimes monoecious.
The leaves are primarily basal; alternate on the stem; linear
in outline, have parallel veins, and smooth surface. However,
the margins of the leaves are sharply serrate with many small
teeth that easily cut flesh.
Flowers are produced in terminal bushy panicles. The panicles
are up to 3 feet in length and are whitish in color, maturing
in early autumn.
The fruit is a wind dispersed grain with long white hairs.
Pampas Grass is a popular ornamental and is readily available
in nurseries. It prefers full sun and can tolerate drought and
pollution. Plants are also grown commercially for harvesting
their panicles for dried flower arrangements.
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