|Pampa grass inflorescences (Cortaderia selloana) in a garden, France|
(Schult. & Schult.f.) Asch. & Graebn.
Cortaderia selloana, commonly known as pampas grass, is a flowering plant native to southern South America, including the Pampas region after which it is named. There are around 25 species in the genus Cortaderia.
It is a tall grass, growing in dense tussocks that can reach a height of 3 m (10 ft). The leaves are long and slender, 1–2 m (3 ft 3 in–6 ft 7 in) long, and 1 cm broad, with very sharp edges. The leaves are usually bluish-green, but can be silvery grey. The flowers are produced in a dense white panicle 20–40 cm (8–16 in) long on a 2–3 m (6 ft 7 in–9 ft 10 in) tall stem.
The specific epithet was given by Josef August Schultes and Julius Hermann Schultes in 1827, after the German botanist and naturalist Friedrich Sellow, who studied the flora of South America, especially that of Brazil.
Cultivation and uses
The plant was introduced to Europe, North America, and Australia as an ornamental grass, and, to a lesser extent, to provide food for grazing animals. The feathery flower head plumes, when dried, are widely used in flower arrangements and other ornamental displays.
Several cultivars are available, including:
- 'Albolineata' — a small cultivar which grows to only 2 m (6.6 ft) in height: The leaves are variegated, with yellow edges.
- 'Sunningdale Silver'agm — grows to a height of 4 m (13.1 ft) and has particularly dense flowering plumes
Pampas grass is highly adaptable and can grow in a wide range of environments and climates. It also seeds prolifically, with each plant able to produce over one million seeds during its lifetime. As such, in some areas (for example California, Hawaii, or Green Spain) it is regarded as an invasive weed, whilst in New Zealand and South Africa, the plant is banned from sale and propagation for the same reasons. Burning pampas grass does not always kill it at the roots, but chemical weedkiller does.
- "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Cortaderia selloana 'Aureolinata'". Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Cortaderia selloana 'Pumila'". Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Cortaderia selloana 'Sunningdale Silver'". Retrieved 16 June 2013.
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