Pampas Grass
Cortaderia selloana (J. A. & J. H. Schultes) Ascher
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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