Elephant grass, napier grass

Pennisetum purpureum -- Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Pennisetum purpureum

Non-Native to Florida

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CATEGORY I on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's (FLEPPC) 2013 List of Invasive Plant Species

Download a page (PDF 141 KB) from Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – Second Edition, by K.A. Langeland, H.M. Cherry, et al. University of Florida-IFAS Pub SP 257. 2008.

For control information, see Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida (SP 242)
by K. A. Langeland, J. A. Ferrell, B. Sellers, G. E. MacDonald, and R. K. Stocker

Date of introduction to Florida: 1915 (ornamental, agriculture)

(from Strangers in Paradise, Impact and Management of Nonindigenous Species in Florida, Chapter 2: Florida’s Invasion by Nonindigenous Plants: History, Screening, and Regulation, by D.R. Gordon and K.P. Thomas, pp. 21-37. Island Press, Washington, DC, 1997.)


    This invasive giant may appear bamboo-like with its stout, "woody" older stems. However, unlike bamboo, its leaves are very long. It often is a troublesome weed growing along dikes and ditches, in wet or "dry" soils.

    Elephant grass is a NON-NATIVE grass. stems clump-forming, erect, to 12 ft. tall; leaf blades flat, to 2 1/2 ft. long, to more than 1 in. wide, long tapering, margin fine-toothed, midrib strongly ridged; ligules thin with hairy rims; inflorescence long, cylindrical, bottle-brush-like, tan, densely flowered and "bristly", to 12 in. long, to more than 1 in. wide, bristles to 1/2 in. long; spikelets in clusters of 2-3

    View more information and pictures about elephant grass, as contained in the Langeland/Burks book, Identification & Biology of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas.

    See the UF/IFAS Assessment, which lists plants according to their invasive status in Florida.

    elephant grass View the herbarium specimen image of the University of Florida Herbarium Digital Imaging Projects.