Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv.


Imperata cylindrica is a perennial, colony-forming grass which can grow up to 6 ft. (1.8 m) tall.
Leaves have an off-center, whitish midrib and finely serrated margins. Leaves are up to 6 ft. (1.8 m) long, 0.5-0.75 in. (1.3-1.9 cm) wide, stiff, and have a sharp, pointed apex. Rhizomes are whitish, branched, scaly and sharp at the tips.
Flower heads are 2-8 in. (5.1-20.3 cm) long, silvery-white and cylindrical.
Imperata cylindrica is best identified in the spring by the large fuzzy panicle of flowers and seeds, giving the plant a cottony or silky look.
Ecological Threat
Imperata cylindrica is an extremely aggressive invader with the capability of invading a range of sites. It forms dense, usually circular infestations that exclude all other vegetation. It is native to Southeast Asia and was accidently introduced into the southeast United States in packing material in the early 1900s. It was also intentionally introduced for erosion control and livestock forage.

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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

State Regulated List
   No Data for this state
   Troublesome or Common weed in one or more crops

Most Troublesome / Most Common Agricultural Weed List
This map identifies those states that consider this species either most troublesome or most common in at least one commodity. For more information, visit the MTMC project page.

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Subclass: Commelinidae
Order: Cyperales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Imperata
Subject: Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
cogon grass, alang-alang, Japanese blood grass

Related Scientific Names:
Imperata arundinacea (L.) Beauv. (Synonym)


Plants - Grass or Grasslike