- Common Name(s):
- Grease grass, Purpletop tridens
- Native Plants, Ornamental Grass, Perennials
A native ornamental warm-season bunch grass in the Poaceae family. It has attractive redish-purple seed heads that appear in the late summer and persist into fall and are espeically impactful when planted en masse. It is a salt tolerant grass and is often seen growing along roadside ditches. Its seed heads are oily, hence the common name grease grass, and are a food source for birds and mammals.
Purple Top is a perennial warm-season grass that grows 3-5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It has a rich hue to its foliage as it develops each spring. Shortly after the foliage matures, the flower spikes develop as purple panicles that bloom from August to November.
Regions: Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plain
Seasons of Interest:
Bloom: Summer-Fall, August-October; Fruit/Seed/Nut: Fall/Winter
Wildilfe Value: Deer resistance is high. Seed heads are a food source for birds and mammals. This species is the larval host of a number of butterflies and moths, including Cercyonis pegala (Common Wood Nymph), Polites origenes (Crossline Skipper), Pompeius verna (Little Glassywing), and Poanes viator (Broad-winged Skipper). Provides excellent cover year round.
Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:
- Purple seed heads
NCCES plant id: 3161