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The Dirt

Which grass is invasive? Which isn’t?

Photo/Illustration: Danielle Sherry
Photo/Illustration: Danielle Sherry

Bonus Content from Richard Hawke’s article in Fine Gardening issue #154: Results from the miscanthus invasive trial

If you’re wondering just how invasive a specific cultivar of miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis and cvs., USDA Hardiness Zones 4–8) might be, a good indicator is the number of viable seeds a given plant produced in the trial conducted at the Chicago Botanic Garden in 2010. We found that many cultivars touted as “sterile” were, in fact, not sterile. And many of the less fertile cultivars were late flowering, indicating that they might not have had a long enough growing season to complete seed production. The following is a list of our findings: 

Miscanthus sinensis Bloom Time No. of viable seeds per plant
‘Adagio’ Early (8 Aug) 52, 632
‘Andante’ Mid (6 Sept) 53,323
‘Autumn Light’ Mid (6 Sept) 221,500
‘Autumn Red’ Mid (23 Aug) 24,185
‘Blutenwunder’ Early (13 Aug) 177,144
‘Dixieland’ Late (25 Sept) 497
‘Ferner Osten’ Early (31 July) 8,954
‘Gold Bar’ Late (20 Sept) 2,061
‘Goliath’ Mid (27 Aug) 13,920
‘Gracillimus’ Late (4 Oct) 6,103
‘Hinjo’ Late (25 Sept) 0
‘Huron Sunrise’ Mid (31 Aug) 94,612
‘Kleine Silberspinne’ Mid (21 Aug) 349,327
‘Little Zebra’ Mid (8 Sept) 2,704
‘Malepartus’ Mid (23 Aug) 203,699
‘Minuett’ Mid (14 Sept) 91,817
M. X giganteus Late (8 Oct) 0
M. sacchariflorus Early (12 Aug) 746
M. sinensis var. condensatus ‘Cabaret’ Late (7 Oct) 0
‘Morning Light’ Late (2 Oct) 1,936
‘Nippon’ Early (8 Aug) 150,120
‘Puenktchen’ Mid (7 Sept) 16,974
‘Purpurascens’ Mid (23 Aug) 24,957
‘Rotsilber’ Mid (24 Aug) 339,462
‘Sarabande’ Mid (7 Sept) 3,278
‘Silberfeder’ Late (27 Sept) 3,975
‘Silberpfeil’ Late (27 Sept) 0
‘Silberturm’ Mid (23 Aug) 28,941
‘Strictus’ Late (18 Sept) 907
‘Super Stripe’ Mid (15 Sept) 1,226
‘Variegatus’ Late (25 Sept) 211
‘Yaku Jima’ Early (7 Aug) 138
‘Zebrinus’ Late (16 Sept) 16,621
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