Common Name:Fountain grass
Botanical name:Pennisetum setaceum
Legal Status:NEMBA Category 1b
This perennial clump-forming grass bears pink to purple seed heads. However, inflorescences can develop from light green (immature) to tan or light buff in colour (mature) with little or no traces of pink. The slender (0.2-0.4 cm wide), arching leaves grow to 0.6 m. The flowers and seeds grow as dense, cylindrical, bristly panicles 8-35 cm long on stalks that can reach 1.2 m in height. Leaf sheaths are usually smooth but often have edges lined with white hairs.
Where does this species come from?
North Africa; introduced for ornamental purposes.
Why is it a problem?
By raising fuel loads, Fountain grass increases the intensity and frequency of fires (to which it is well adapted). This poses a threat to native species which are adapted to less extreme fire regimes. Dense stands can displace native vegetation.
Means of reproduction?
Fountain grass spreads by seed and pseudo-vivipary (where seeds produce young plants before dispersing).