Ornamental Grasses of the Botanic Gardens

Genus, Species Common Name Origin & Information
1 Zea mays japonica Japanese Striped Japan – Ornamental corn from Japan
Maize grown for its unique foliage that is striped
with green, white, yellow and pink.
Tassels are dark purple and the ear kernals
are burgundy. A wonderful plant for
borders, sure to attract lots of attention all
summer long.
2 Pennisetum X hybrida ‘Purple Purple Majesty Asia – Annual purple-leaved warm season
Majesty’ Fountain Grass grass, 3-5’H with 8-12″ flower spikes.
Immature spikes used in floral
arrangements, mature seedheads will
attract birds. 2003 All-American-
Selection (AAS) Gold Medal Flower
Award Winner.
3 Helictotrichon sempervirens Blue Oat Grass Western Mediterranean – Perennial
grass with bright blue-gray, narrow
leaves. Forms a fountain-like clump 2-
3’H X 2-3’W, full sun, average water and
rich, well-drained soil. Semievergreen.
4 Festuca glauca (cinerea) Blue Fescue Europe – Perennial grass used as
ornamental, 12″H X 10″W, a dense tuft of
very fine blue-gray leaves. Many
cultivars, used for edging or ground cover.
Full sun, moderate water.
5 Buchloe dactyloides ‘Legacy’ Legacy Buffalo Grass Interior Western US below 6500 ft.
Native, sod-forming warm season grass
used for a low-maintenance turf. Low
growing vegetatively produced female
clone developed by the University of
Nebraska, uses 20% as much water as
other turfgrasses. Spreads rapidly by
surface runners (stolons), gray green
during the growing season, straw colored
when dormant. Full sun, maximum height
of 4″ makes mowing unnecessary.
6 Andropogon gerardii Big Bluestem US midwest – Perennial prairie grass
‘Pawnee’ forms a clump 3-5’H X 3’W, thin blades
are blue-green in summer turning bronzy
red or coppery in fall. Full sun, moderate
water, good screen or accent plant.
7 Panicum virgatum ‘Prairie Switch Grass Eastern US – Upright native grass 3-5’H,
Sky’ blue-green foliage, very hardy. Full sun
or light shade, moderate water, foliage
turns beige in winter and persists.

 

8 Miscanthus ‘Giganteus’ Giant Silver Grass Asia – Perennial upright grass 8-10’H X
(floridulus) 4’W, arching 3′ leaves are dark green with
a white midrib, flowers in fall so tends not
to bloom in Cheyenne. Full sun or partial
shade, regular water, provides a tropical
look.
9 Calamagrostis X acutiflora Karl Foerster Feather Eurasia – Sturdy, erect, clumping grass
‘Karl Foerster’ Reed Grass with narrow, bright green leaves 2-3’H.
Feathery flower plumes in early summer,
persist into winter. Full sun or partial
shade, regular water.
10 Molinia caerulea arundinacea Skyracer Moor Grass Eurasia – Long lived but slow growing
‘Skyracer’ perennial grass with erect 3’H leaves that
are broad and gray-green, forms a clump
2-3’W. 7-8′ yellow flower stems in the
fall, in winter foliage and flowers detach
at the base.
11 Chasmanthium latifolium Northern Sea Oats Eastern US – Perennial woodland grass
with broad bamboolike leaves, arching
flower stems with attractive seed heads.
Partial shade, regular water, tends to
sprawl.
12 Carex flacca (glauca) Blue Sedge Europe – Grasslike clumping plant with
blue-green evergreen foliage, 12″H X
18″W. Partial shade, moderate water, can
be clipped and tolerates light foot traffic.
13 Luzula nivea ‘Snowbird’ Snowy Wood Rush Europe – Slow-spreading, tufted, 1’H with
hairy-edged leaves; dense clusters of
cottony white flowers in early summer
turning tan. Partial shade, rich moist
soils.
14 Arrhenatherum elatius Variegated Bulbous Europe – Attractive perennial grass with
bulbosum ‘Variegatum’ Oat Grass narrow leaves edged and striped in white.
1’H X 1’W, cool season grass. Full sun or
partial sun, regular water, divide
periodically.
15 Carex muskingumensis Palm Sedge North America – Clumping grasslike
perennial with long evergreen leaves that
carry weeping leaf blades up to the tip
resembling a small palm branch, 2-3’H.
Sun to partial shade, ample water, rich
organic soils.
16 Carex morrowii expallida Variegated Japanese Japan – Grasslike clumping plant 1’H X
‘Goldband’ Sedge 1-2’W with drooping yellow-striped
leaves. Regular water, partial shade.
17 Carex plantaginea Plaintain Sedge North America – Evergreen clump-
forming sedge with broad hosta-like soft
green foliage with handsome veining. A
lovely groundcover, easy and dependable
even in dry shade, 8-12″H.

 

 

18 Calamagrostis X acutiflora Avalanche Grass Eurasia – Sturdy, erect, clumping grass
‘Avalanche’ with narrow white variegated leaves. 2-
3’H. Sun or part sun, regular water.
19 Pennisetum setaceum Red Fountain Grass Tropical Africa. southwestern Asia
‘Rubrum’ Perennial grass grown as annual, graceful
fountainlike mounds with long plumes of
purplish flowers and reddish brown
foliage.