Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ribbon Grass


Phalaris arundinacea ( Ribbon Grass )
Also called Reed Canary Grass. A rapid spreading, rhizomatous grass, reaching up to 6 x 10 ( rarely over 4 ) feet. Ribbon Grass grows most during spring and fall, often going semi-dormant during hot summer weather. It is native to northern North America ( from central Alaska to northwest Northwest Territories to Great Slave Lake, N.W.T. to central Manitoba to Winisk, Ontario to central Quebec to Newfoundland; south to southern California to Oklahoma to western North Carolina to central Maryland ). In the Windsor/Essex County region, it has never been abundant but is noted to occur in the marsh at Point Pelee, the Lake Erie Islands and the Ohio shore during the 1800s. It has been declared an invasive weed in Massachussetts and cannot be planted there, in some areas it is best planted where its rhizomes are contained. It is generally used for erosion control including stabilizing sand dunes.
The coarse, bamboo-like foliage consists of arching, flat leafblades up to 12 x 0.8 inches in size.
The yellow flower plumes up to 8 inches in length, are followed by black seeds.
Hardy zones 2 to 8 in full sun to partial shade. Tolerant of wet soil / shallow water but grows well with average moisture also. If foliage turns brown after drought, cut it back hard to 4 inches during mid summer to encourage vigorous new growth. Tolerant of seashore conditions and great for stabilizing sand dunes. Rapid growing and pollution tolerant, it is a great plant for establishing on for purposes of cleaning up polluted industrial sites. Deer resistant.
Pharmacology: leaves known to contain DMT & beta-Carboline

* photo taken by Sheri Hagwood @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

'Dwarf Garters'
Reaches up to 1 foot in height with white variegation.

'Luteopicta' ( Golden Variegated Ribbon Grass )
Reaches up to 2 feet with golden-yellow variegation. Makes an excellent groundcover.
Prefers full sun.

Forms a vigorous foliage clump, reaching a maximum height of 4 ( usually closer to 2 ) x 10 feet in height with broad, green foliage that are stripe variegated white.
Makes an excellent groundcover for large areas and is good for difficult areas and soil stabilization of slopes. Tolerant of wet sites and will even grow under water up to a few inches deep.
Cut back hard during mid summer to encourage fresh new growth.

* photos taken on June 15 2011 in Columbia, MD

* photo of unknown internet source

* photos taken on Aug 4 2013 in Bayfield, Ontario

* photo taken on June 1 2014 @ Maryland Horticulturalist Society garden tour, Ellicott City

* photos taken on June 25 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken @ Smithsonian Inst, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

'Strawberries and Cream'
Also called 'Feesey'. Reaches up to 3 x 10 feet with very showy foliage having pink variegation during spring that later fades to white. The foliage is finer textured than 'Picta'.
The flower plumes are borne late spring into early summer.

* photo taken on Sep 23 2013 in Burtonsville, MD

* photos taken on May 22 2014 in Howard Co., MD

Vigorous growing to invasive, reaching a maximum size of 3 ( 5 feet in bloom ) x 10 feet with very showy foliage having pink later fading to white variegation.
The flower plumes are borne late spring into early summer.

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