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Similar but less problematic plants:
Calamagrostis brachytricha Calamagrostis brachytricha
Native alternative(s) for Calamagrostis canescens:
Panicum virgatum Panicum virgatum
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Andropogon gerardii Andropogon gerardii
Andropogon glomeratus Andropogon glomeratus
Andropogon virginicus Andropogon virginicus

Calamagrostis canescens

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Arundo canescens
  • Calamagrostis calamagrostis
Description

Purple Small-Reed is a long-lived perennial grass that is native to Europe and Western Siberia. It is loosely clump forming and found in large swaths in salt marshes and wet habitats and can spread quickly by its shallow rhizomes. It is not commonly found in North or South America. Note that Calamagrostis brachytricha (Foxtail grass) is a good substitute for planting in the Southeastern United States.

A slender stem with no lateral branches holds a large, slightly nodding branched inflorescence, which has many tiny hairs that look like an eyelash. This inflorescence turns purple when in flower, giving the grass its common name. The inflorescence turns tan later in the season. The leaf blades are flat with entire margins and hold their shape well in winter.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fall interest#ornamental grass
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fall interest#ornamental grass
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Calamagrostis
    Species:
    canescens
    Family:
    Poaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe to Siberia and Turkey
    Distribution:
    Europe: northern, central, southwestern, southeastern, and eastern. Asia-temperate: Siberia, Caucasus, and western Asia.According to the USDA maps it does not appear in the US.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ornamental Grasses and Sedges
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Caryopsis
    Fruit Description:
    Caryopsis with adherent pericarp.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    The 2 to 7 inch flower is an open oblong shaped panicle, which is purple in late summer and turns tan as the season progresses.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Cream/Tan
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The flat, slender leaves have small hairs that create a rough texture. The 2 to 7 inch long leaves are a 1/4 inch wide and narrow to a point at its apex. At the base where the leaf and stem meet, there may appear a hair-like membrane (ligule).
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Pond