Miscanthus grasses are a perennial plant introduced to North America near the end of the nineteenth century. Native to Japan, China and Korea, these grasses are commonly used as ornamental plants, as well as a barrier plant along roadsides and in agricultural fields.
Miscanthus grasses are commonly spread by their underground roots and sometimes by seed. They prefer mild to cold temperatures and are unable to survive hot southern temperatures. Miscanthus has been reported to be highly flammable and a fire hazard in some areas.
Miscanthus grasses range throughout the eastern United States, as well as some states in the west, including Colorado and California. Populations have also been found in areas of southern Ontario.
Impacts of Miscanthus
- Fast growing species that form thick bunches, displacing native plant communities.
- Dense, dry stands are highly flammable and create fire hazards.
- Reduce light availability to other plants at the soil surface.
- Slowly decomposes on the ground, limiting the amount of nutrients returned to the soil.
How to Identify Miscanthus
- Herbaceous perennial capable of reaching up to 2 m or more.
- Leaves form from a central clump.
- Flowering stock can be up to 1.8 m long.
- Flowers are pink to reddish and eventually turn tan in the fall.
What You Can Do
- Learn how to properly identify miscanthus grasses and how to effectively manage invasive plants on your property.
- Avoid using invasive plants in gardens and landscaping.
- Buy native or non-invasive plants from reputable garden suppliers. When gardening, consider the use of native plants which provide habitat and food sources for wildlife. See Grow Me Instead: Beautiful Non-Invasive Plants for Your Garden.
- Do not dispose of invasive plants in the compost pile – discard them in the regular garbage or check with your municipality for disposal information.
- If you find miscanthus or other invasive species in the wild, please contact the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711, or visit EDDMapS Ontario to report a sighting.
OFAH/OMNRF Invading Species Awareness Program. (2012). Miscanthus. Retrieved from: www.invadingspecies.com.
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Header photo by Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org