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A Floridata Plant Profile #519 Tripsacum dactyloides
Common Names: gamma grass, fakahatchee grass
Family: Poaceae/Gramineae (grass Family)
Wallpaper Gallery (2 images)

Grass  Fast Growing For Wet, Boggy Areas Easy to grow - great for beginners! Has Unusual or Interesting Foliage

gamma grass
When gramma grass blooms the most noticable parts are the wine-colored anthers that are held on fine filaments. These shimmer and dance at the slightest breeze like dingle-ball trim on a low-rider Chevy. Click to download a large version (800x600) of this image.
Description
This Southeast U.S. native grass is becoming increasingly popular among gardeners and it's easy to see why. Easy to grow and virtually pest-free, this grass is stunningly beautiful with its rich green foliage erupting from fountain-like clumps that will grow to 5 ft (1.5 m) in height and 4 ft (1.2 m) wide. The leaves are erect up to 6 ft (1.8 m) in length and about 1 in (2.5 cm) wide. Distinctive flowers appear in late spring (in the Deep South) to mid-summer and rise above the leaves on slender stems. Gamma grass is evergreen in sub-tropical areas. When exposed to frosts the leaves assume shades of red and bronze. Severe cold will clobber the leaves and cut the plant to the ground.

Location
Gamma grass is native to the eastern United States from New England to Michigan and Ohio then southward to Florida and westward to Texas. Its native habitats include moist areas around lakes and streams, boggy areas, ditches, etc.

Culture
Prefers fertile soils but is tolerant of many types as long as it is moist.
Light: Full sun to partial shade.
Moisture: Likes moisture. Can grow in wet areas like bogs and marshes.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 - 10. This plant is evergreen in frostfree areas. Freezes to the ground but returns in spring.
Propagation: Divide clumps in springtime.

gamma grass
Here in the deep south, the gamma grass is in full bloom down by Jack's Catfish Pond.
Usage
This is a great plant to add interest and mass to those problematic wet areas like ditches, drainage ponds and near small creeks and streams. I have several clumps growing at the edge of my pond where they shimmer in the dark water. They are invaluable in natural landscapes - I've planted several clumps in sinkholes on my property where they live happily with needle palms (Rhapidophyllum hystrix) and baldcypress trees (Taxodium distichum). Clumps of gamma grass look great erupting from pots and containers and are easy to maintain.

Features
Gamma grass is easy to grow, easy to propagate and tolerates flooding and standing water. It also is a great beginner plant, has beautiful rich green foliage and is (almost) pest free!

WARNING
May be invasive in warm climate areas, especially in moist soils but this is rarely a problem in the garden.

Jack Scheper 10/03/98; updated 5/29/03, 9/17/03




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