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Chinese Silvergrass
Miscanthus sinensis Anderss.

International Code - MISI
FIA survey code - 4085

Miller, James H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: a field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS–62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 p.

acrobat version

Plant. Tall, densely bunched, perennial grass, 5 to 10 feet (1.5 to 3 m) in height. Long-slender upright-to-arching leaves with whitish upper midveins. Many loosely plumed panicles in late summer turning silvery to pinkish in fall. Dried grass standing with some seed heads during winter, but seed viability spotty.

Stem. Upright-to-arching, originating in tufts from base and unbranched. Covered with overlapping leaf sheaths until stem appears with flower plume in late summer.

Leaves. 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 green to variegated (light green striped) with whitish collars. Midvein white above and green ridged beneath. Tufted hairs at throat, sheath margins, and ligule, but otherwise hairless. Margins rough.

Flowers. August to November. 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. Silvery to pinkish, showiest in fall. Stalk appressed rough hairy.

Seeds. September to January. Grain hidden, husks membranous, yellowish brown to slightly reddish, sparsely hairy, with twisted tip.

Ecology. Forms extensive infestations by escaping from older ornamental plantings to roadsides, forest margins, and adjacent disturbed sites, especially after burning. Shade tolerant. Highly flammable and a fire hazard.

History and use. Introduced from eastern Asia. Still widely sold and increasingly planted as an ornamental. Several varieties imported and sold. New cultivars assumed to be mostly sterile.

Photo by J. Miller

Photo by J. Miller

Photo by J. Miller

Photo by J. Miller

Photo by J. Miller

Photo by J. Miller

Photo by J. Miller

Photo by J. Miller

States with suspected infestations are shown in gray.

Recommended control procedures:

Thoroughly 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.

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USDA Forest ServiceUSDA APHIS PPQ The Bugwood Network University of Georgia is a joint project of
The Bugwood Network, USDA Forest Service & USDA APHIS PPQ.
The University of Georgia - Warnell School of Forest Resources and
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Dept. of Entomology
Last updated on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 at 01:37 PM
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