Japanese Blood Grass Imperata cylindrica
Other Common Name(s):
Other plants called Japanese Blood Grass:
- This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Japanese Bloodgrass is an extremely aggressive weed that is considered invasive in North Carolina. It probably originated in Africa and Asia and was accidentally introduced in LA in 1912 and then intentionally to FL in the 1930s. It was used as packing material in the past and then for erosion control and animal forage. It quickly spread and invaded areas such as pastures, fallow fields, forests, and highway and powerline rights-of-way. It spreads rapidly through scaly rhizomes and quickly becomes difficult to manage. It is also highly flammable and increases the risk of wildfires. The plant regenerates after a fire and quickly takes over an area.
The green leaves grow up to 30 inches tall and 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide. They are finely toothed and embedded with sharp silica crystals. The rhizomes are extensive and can penetrate 2-4 feet deep. It rarely flowers in its northern range. In more tropical areas it freely flowers with 16-inch panicle inflorescences.
There is a cultivar called 'Red Baron' that is supposedly sterile but it has been known to break sterility and revert back to the green form. It is not wise to plant this cultivar either.
This grass is considered the seventh worst weed in the world and listed as a federal noxious weed by USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Plant Protection and Quarantine. See alternative grasses to grow to the left.
Fire Risk: This plant has an extreme flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home. Select plants with a low flammability rating for the sites nearest your home.
Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. This plant is invasive.
- See this plant in the following landscape:
- Cultivars / Varieties:
- Cultivars / Varieties:
- Uses (Ethnobotany):
- It has been used in traditional medicines.
- Life Cycle:
- Recommended Propagation Strategy:
- Country Or Region Of Origin:
- Africa, Europe, Asia
- Fire Risk Rating:
- extreme flammability
- Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
- Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
Whole Plant Traits:
- Plant Type:
- Growth Rate:
- 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)
- Soil Drainage:
- Good Drainage
- Occasionally Dry
- Available Space To Plant:
- 12 inches-3 feet
- 3 feet-6 feet
- NC Region:
- USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
- 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
- Fruit Description:
- fuzzy, white, and plume-like seed heads
- Flower Inflorescence:
- Flower Bloom Time:
- Flower Description:
- Infrequently flowers in northern parts of its growing region but flowers freely in tropical areas. 16" long panicle that branch out into racemes.
- Leaf Color:
- Leaf Shape:
- Leaf Margin:
- Hairs Present:
- Leaf Length:
- > 6 inches
- Leaf Width:
- < 1 inch
- Leaf Description:
- Basal stiff leaf blades are yellow-green 3/4" wide and up to 30 inches long with tiny serrated margins, light green or white midribs that are of center and pointed tips. Margins are finely toothed and are embedded with sharp silica crystals. Upper surface has a few hairs near the base, undersides are smooth.
- Stem Is Aromatic:
- Resistance To Challenges:
- Black Walnut
- Poor Soil
- Invasive Species