Miscanthus sacchariflorus (Amur Sivergrass)

Plant Info
Also known as: Silver Banner-grass
Genus:Miscanthus
Family:Poaceae (Grass)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:Asia
Status:
  • Invasive - ERADICATE!
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; average to moist, disturbed soil; roadsides, ditches, fields, lawns, woodland edges
Fruiting season:September - October
Plant height:2 to 8 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: panicle Cluster type: raceme

[photo of racemes] A single raceme 6 to 12+ inches long at the tip of the stem, with 8 to 40 branches that are mostly ascending to erect, the whole plume often nodding to one side. Spikelets (flower clusters) are in pairs along a branch, each spikelet 4 to 6 mm (to ¼ inch) long with 1 or 2 florets, the lower sterile and the upper fertile.

[close-up of panicle branch] At the base of a spikelet is a pair of bracts (glumes), both similar in size and shape, 4 to 6 mm long, longer than the florets, thin and papery, narrowly lance-elliptic tapering to a pointed tip, awnless, the lower glume densely covered with straight, white hairs around the base and at the tip, more sparsely on the surface and along the edges, the hairs 2 to 4 times as long as the glume; the upper glume hairy mostly on the upper half. Florets are surrounded by a pair of bracts (lemma and palea), the lemma somewhat shorter than the glumes, translucent whitish, short-hairy along the edges, awnless; the sterile palea is inconspicuous, the fertile palea is about half as long as the lemma.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are alternate, 8 to 30 inches long, 5 to 30 mm (to 1+ inch) wide, mostly flat, usually arching, fairly evenly distributed along the stem, hairless except on the upper surface at the base of the blade. The midvein is prominent and whitish. Leaves turn orange in fall.

[photo of sheath, ligule and node] Sheaths are hairless. The ligule (membrane where the leaf joins the sheath) is up to 1 mm long, more or less straight across and fringed with hairs up to 2 mm long. Nodes are covered in appressed hairs. Stems are unbranched, hairless, erect, single or multiple from the base. Dense colonies form from elongating, scaly rhizomes.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of immature glumes and lemma] The entire spikelet drops off at maturity, leaving a naked stalk behind. Plants are not self-compatible, so viable seed within a single colony of clones is not often produced.

Notes:

Amur Sivergrass came to North America as an ornamental and occasionally escapes cultivation, showing up in moist ditches, woodland edges and clearings. It can form large, dense monocultures that crowd out other plants and is thus considered potentially invasive by the MN DNR and UM Extension; its spread has been recorded on EDDMapS. If you see it outside of a garden, report it!

There is another Miscanthus species, M. sinensis (Chinese Silvergrass), that is apparently equally as problematic but is not known to be in Minnesota (yet); the closest sightings are in northern Illinois. The hairs on its spikelets are less than twice as long as the glume and their color ranges from white to yellowish to reddish, and lemmas have conspicuous awns. Vaguely similar is Phragmites, which has hairless glumes, awned lemmas, and hairs are only around the base of a floret.

Please visit our sponsors

  • Wild Ones Twin Cities Chapter

Where to buy native seed and plants ↓

Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest

  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water
  • Itasca Ladyslipper Farm - Native orchids, container grown
  • Prairie Restorations - Bringing people together with the land
  • Landscape Alternatives - Distinctive Native Plants since 1986!
  • Shop for native seeds and plants at PrairieMoon.com!

More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Fort Snelling State Park and in Anoka County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.



(required)




Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.