BU-6411 Revised 2004
ornamental grasses from a to z
Plants are listed alphabetically by botanical name. In addition to the common and botanical name, a pronunciation guide and some background on the meaning of the botanical name are included. (Please note that the ornamental grasses featured in this listing are hardy in USDA Zone 4 unless noted below.) Native location, cool or warm season, height, plant form, soil and site preferences are also listed.
Alopecurus pratensis (al-o-pe-KEW-rus prah-TEN-sis)
alopec = foxtail, urus = looks like; pratensis = growing in meadows
Europe; cool season; 12-18"; dense clump; average soils; full sun
A European and American weed species, the yellow striped cultivar 'Variegatus' is the only form of meadow foxtail grown as an ornamental. Self-seeding has not been a problem. Grow in the front of a border and divide after several years to keep the plants vigorous. Grows best in cool weather and may decline in hot summers. Cut back in mid-summer to encourage new growth.
'Variegatus' yellow foliage with green stripes
subspp. bulbosum 'Variegatum'
arren = male, ather = bristle; elatus = tall; bulbosum = bulbs
Europe; cool season; 12-30"; irregular clump; average to dry soils; full sun to light shade
This can be a very striking white foliage plant, but declines in the heat of the summer and can be cut back at that time. The small bulbs or corms at the base of the plant can be used to propagate new plants. Benefits from frequent division. Good in containers and the front of a perennial border.
'Variegatum', green and white foliage
side oats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula boo-tuh-LOW-ah kur-tih-PEN-dyoo-lah)
Bouteloua = C.& E. Boutelou, Spanish Botanists; curti = side, pendula = peudulous
North America; warm season; 12-30"; upright-open; average to dry soils; full sun
A North American prairie native found on dry, upland sites although it will tolerate heavy clay soils. The pendulous flowers are often red when the stamens are shedding pollen. Grey-green foliage, typical of drought tolerant plants, is much shorter than the flowers. A tough plant for dry slopes and poor soils.
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