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Maiden grass

Miscanthus sinensis Anderss. (Family: Poaceae)


Also known as: Chinese silvergrass, zebra grass, Chinese plume grass, Japanese silvergrass, Eulalia, plume grass, miscanthus, pampas grass


Origin: Chinese silvergrass is native to Asia and was introduced into the United States for ornamental purposes during the late 1800s. Several varieties are imported and still widely sold and increasingly planted as an ornamental.


Maiden grass is a tall, densely-bunched, robust perennial grass that invades roadsides, forest edges, and other disturbed areas throughout the United States. It is a popular ornamental in many areas and is also used as a barrier plant along agricultural fields. There are many ornamental varieties of this plant, including one that is used in Europe and Asia as a biofuel and for paper pulp.



  • Maiden grass stems can be up to 12 feet tall and are found in large tufts. They are very flexible and often spread or droop.

  • Leaves are elongate with a silver-white midrib and tips that are sharp and recurving.

  • Mature plants have large, showy, feathery flowers that appear in the fall. They can be silvery to pale pink in color.

  • Maiden grass can spread by wind-dispersed seeds or locally through rhizomes on its extensive root systems.


Distribution: Maiden grass is now widely distributed throughout the U.S. It grows on well-drained soils that are low in nutrients and marginal for crop production, such as roadsides, right-of-ways, and steep embankments.


Problem: Maiden grass forms extensive infestations in disturbed areas and displaces native vegetation when it escapes from ornamental plantings. It is extremely flammable and can increase the risk of fire in invaded areas.


Control: Maiden grass can be controlled by pulling seedlings or shallow-rooted plants and digging out larger plants. However, re-sprouting will occur if the entire root system is not removed. The greatest control can be achieved through the application of glyphosate in the fall or late spring.


USE PESTICIDES WISELY: Always read the entire pesticide label carefully, follow all mixing and application instructions and wear all recommended personal protective gear and clothing. Contact your state department of agriculture for any additional pesticide use requirements, restrictions or recommendations.

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