IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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Description

Ravenna-grass, or plume-grass, is native to southern Europe and was introduced for ornamental purposes. It occurs in Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, and Tennessee, as well as a number of other states across the U.S., from California to Michigan. It is a tall clumping grass with a basal tuft of leaves and flowering stalks that reach heights of 8-12 ft., towering over big bluestem and other plants and making them easily visible from a distance. The base of the clump can be several feet in diameter indicating a sizeable root mass. Control is difficult to date the most effective method has been achieved come from physically removing the plants by pulling or digging out. The leaves and stems are covered with fine hairs. Flower heads are pale, feathery plumes at the tips of the tall flower stalks. It has been observed spreading from plantings along roadsides and other disturbed edge habitats as well as in fields and other open sites. Spread is by wind-blown seed. While still fairly uncommon in our area, this species shows signs of being invasive under some conditions and should be watched and controlled whenever it spreads beyond a planting. It would be wise to find a non-weedy native substitute for this grass or at least one that is not likely to become invasive. It resembles Japanese silvergrass and other tall showy ornamental grass species. A good substitute would be eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides). Previous names for ravenna-grass include Saccharum ravennae and Erianthus ravennae.

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