Sugarcane plume grass

Saccharum giganteum (syn. Erianthus giganteus) -- Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Saccharum giganteum (syn. Erianthus giganteus)

Native to Florida

sugarcane plume grass

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    Saccharum giganteum is commonly found growing in flatwoods, marshes, coastal swales, cypress ponds and lake shores throughout Florida (Wunderlin, 2003). This large grass is a native, believed to have been a dominant grassland plant in the Southeast U.S. before humans arrived. It may be confused with several other wetland grasses, including several other plumegrasses in Florida. Unlike the others, when mature, sugarcane plumegrass has a large and conspicuous wooly plume-like inflorescence. Different stages of inflorescence growth look different from one another. Note the photos above.

    There are perhaps ten species of plumegrasses in the U.S., found in the southwest and the eastern half of the country. Historically they also were known from Ohio to New Hampshire, but have been removed (extirpated) during the past three hundred years (Kartesz 1999).

    Sugarcane plume grass is a grass. stems reedlike, to 12 ft. tall, forming basal clumps; leaf blades long, flat, to 3/4 in. wide, smooth or hairy; ligule a collar with fringe hairs; inflorescence a very large terminal plume, pink becoming whitish, dense, cylindrical to oblong, to 18 in. long, to 5 in. wide; plume composed of branches, loosely ascending to spreading, full of long-haired spikelets; spikelets paired, with long bristles (awns) to 1 in. long