Cortaderia selloana

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pampas grass
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Cortaderia
C. selloana
Binomial name
Cortaderia selloana

Arundo kila Spreng. ex Steud.
Arundo selloana Schult. & Schult.f.
Cortaderia argentea (Nees) Stapf
Gynerium argenteum Nees
Gynerium dioicum Dallière
Gynerium purpureum Carrière
Moorea argentea (Nees) Lem.

Cortaderia selloana is a species of flowering plant in the Poaceae family.[1] It is referred to by the common name pampas grass,[2] and is native to southern South America, including the Pampas region after which it is named. It is widely distributed throughout the world as a cultivated ornamental and an invasive species.


Cortaderia is derived from the Argentine Spanish name 'cortadera', meaning 'cutter', in reference to its razor sharp leaf margins.[3]

Selloana is named for Friedrich Sellow (1789–1831), a German botanist[3] and naturalist[citation needed] from Potsdam who worked as a plant collector in Brazil.[3] He studied the flora of South America, especially that of Brazil. The specific epithet selloana was given by Josef August and Julius Hermann Schultes in 1827.[citation needed]

In cultivation


The native range of C. selloana includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. This region is dominated by tropical forests and grasslands, but C. selloana is typically restricted to moist soil within riparian areas. It is found at lower elevations and at moister sites than the closely related C. jubata. It requires areas with plentiful light and soil moisture. It is capable of long-distance dispersal and uses this ability to colonize disturbed areas such as riverbanks.[4][5]

Invasive species[edit]

Cortaderia has become invasive in mild-winter areas of North America, especially the southern United States. It has also been banned in Hawaii and New Zealand because of its ability to outgrow and displace native plants. In Europe, it was first introduced in the United Kingdom, later spreading to other countries in the continent like Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy.[citation needed] It is a common urban invader.[6]

Pampas grass is fast-growing and can form large masses along the roads, cliffs, riverbanks, and open areas that have been disturbed by human activities or natural disturbances. Pampas grass can displace native plants and destroy their habitats, reducing biodiversity.[citation needed]

The plant also competes with other native plants by monopolizing resources like shade, sunlight, and ground nutrients. Because of the large surface area, the leaves pose a significant fire hazard if placed near flammable substances.[7]

C. selloana often spreads from landscaping plantings.[8] Okada et al., 2007 find this is the source of the California population.[8]


Pampas grass can be controlled through herbicide treatment. To accomplish this, the grass is cut down near the base. Next, a 2% glyphosate chemical solution is combined with a silicone-based surfactant and applied to enhance the penetration potential. This method works best in the fall because there is overall better control compared to other seasons. Another control method is to cut and bag inflorescences to prevent seeds from spreading or pulling seedlings.[9]

Soil disturbance that creates bare ground can promote invasion, so it is essential to minimize disturbance or provide competition to seedlings. In order to control disturbance, applying mulch to exposed bare ground to smother seeds and prevent germination can be done. Also, planting or seeding desirable, non-invasive plants can provide competition to reduce germination and seedling establishment.[9]

C. selloana is considered a promising target for bioherbicide development.[10]


Big tufts, Jindai Botanical Garden, height 4 metres (13.1 ft) and diameter 7 metres (23 ft), more than 40 years old as of 2007
Jindai Botanical Garden, height 4 metres (13.1 ft) and diameter 7 metres (23 ft), more than 40 years old as of 2007

Several cultivars are available, of which the following have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:

  • Aureolineata[11]
  • Evita[12]
  • Monstrosa[13]
  • Patagonia[14]
  • Pumila[15]
  • Silver Feather Notcort[16]
  • Sunningdale Silver[17]—grows to a height of 4 m (13.1 ft) and has particularly dense flowering plumes

Population biology[edit]

Okada et al., 2007 find C. selloana populations are best distinguished by a Bayesian analysis of genetic features such as microsatellites.[8] Algorithms such as STRUCTURE are suitable for this.[8]

In culture[edit]

Author Li Hengrui (李恒瑞), whose work Kite Capriccio (風箏暢想曲) describes life as a child in 1950s Fengtai County, Anhui mentions the use of the long stem of the Puwei (蒲葦, Chinese for Cortaderia selloana) in the construction of kites.[18]

Several media outlets reported in the 2010s that it was planted by some couples who practise swinging in the United Kingdom as a way to indicate to other swingers that they enjoy that lifestyle.[19][20] The reports caused a plunge in already declining sales, but the odd association has been dismissed by enthusiasts of the plant and gardening experts as "silly".[21][22]


O'Donnell et al., 2004 first isolated Fusarium cortaderiae from this species.[23] F. cortaderiae is the cause of Fusarium head blight (FHB) of C. selloana.[23]



  1. ^ a b "Cortaderia selloana (Schult. & Schult.f.) Asch. & Graebn". Plants of the World Online. The Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. n.d. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  2. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  3. ^ a b c Gledhill, David (2008). "The Names of Plants". Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521866453 (hardback), ISBN 9780521685535 (paperback). pp 122, 348
  4. ^ Starr, Forest (February 2003). "Cortaderia spp" (PDF). Retrieved March 14, 2024.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Nilon, Charles H.; Aronson, Myla F.J. (2023). Patterns, processes, consequences, and management. p. 199. ISBN 9781000963984.
  7. ^ Robacker, Carol (1995). "Long-term shoot regeneration from pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana Schult.) through manipulation of growth regulators in vitro". Plant Cell Reports. 14 (11): 689–93. doi:10.1007/BF00232648. PMID 24186623. S2CID 6664693.
  8. ^ a b c d Ward, Sarah M.; Jasieniuk, Marie (2017). "Review: Sampling Weedy and Invasive Plant Populations for Genetic Diversity Analysis". Weed Science. 17 (6): 593–602. doi:10.1614/WS-09-082.1.
  9. ^ a b "Pampas Grass Cortaderia selloana". Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board.
  10. ^ Sheppard, AW; Shaw, RH; Sforza, R (2006). "Top 20 environmental weeds for classical biological control in Europe: a review of opportunities, regulations and other barriers to adoption". Weed Research. 42 (2). doi:10.1111/j.1365-3180.2006.00497.x.
  11. ^ "Cortaderia selloana 'Aureolinata'". RHS Plant Selector. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  12. ^ "Cortaderia selloana 'Evita'". RHS. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Cortaderia selloana 'Monstrosa' | pampas grass 'Monstrosa'/RHS Gardening". RHS. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Cortaderia selloana 'Patagonia'". RHS. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  15. ^ "Cortaderia selloana 'Pumila'". RHS Plant Selector. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Cortaderia selloana Silver Feather='Notcort'". RHS. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Cortaderia selloana 'Sunningdale Silver'". RHS Plant Selector. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  18. ^ Putonghua Shuiping Ceshi Gangyao. 2004. Beijing. pp.350-351. ISBN 7-100-03996-7
  19. ^ Guardian Staff (May 31, 2017). "Pampas grass: the not-so secret symbol of swingers is a turn-off". The Guardian. Archived from the original on August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2018 – via
  20. ^ Rudgard, Olivia (May 30, 2017). "Exclusive: Pampas grass sales are falling because it is a secret signal for swingers". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on October 17, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2019 – via
  21. ^ "People have stopped buying this garden plant because it's used to signal that homeowners are swingers". The Independent. 2017-05-31. Archived from the original on 2019-03-25. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  22. ^ Gallagher, Alanna. "Is pampas grass really a signal to swingers?". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 2019-05-02. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  23. ^ a b Valverde-Bogantes, Esteban; Bianchini, Andreia; Herr, Joshua R.; Rose, Devin J.; Wegulo, Stephen N.; Hallen-Adams, Heather E. (2020). "Recent population changes of Fusarium head blight pathogens: drivers and implications". Review and symposia articles/Articles de revue. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology. 42 (3): 315–329.

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