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Cortaderia selloana - (Schult.&Schult.f.)Asch.&Graebn.

Common Name Pampas Grass
Family Poaceae or Gramineae
USDA hardiness 7-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Moist sandy soils[187] on river banks and mountains in Chile[139].
Range S. America - temperate areas. Sometimes persists in Britain as a garden throw-out[17].
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Cortaderia selloana Pampas Grass

Cortaderia selloana Pampas Grass
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Solipsist Corydalis ambigua


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Bloom Color: Pink, White. Main Bloom Time: Early fall, Late summer, Mid summer, Mid fall. Form: Irregular or sprawling.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Cortaderia selloana is an evergreen Perennial growing to 3 m (9ft) by 1.2 m (4ft in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from August to October, and the seeds ripen from October to November. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Wind. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


C. argentea. (Nees.)Stapf. Gynerium argenteum.

Plant Habitats


Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fibre  Paper

A fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making paper[46, 61, 74, 189]. The leaves are harvested in the autumn, they are cut into usable pieces and soaked for 24 hours in clear water. They are then cooked for 2 hours with lye and then beaten in a blender. The fibre makes a yellow paper[189]. The feathery flower head plumes, when dried, are widely used in flower arrangements and other ornamental displays.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Windbreak  Industrial Crop: Biomass  Management: Hay  Minor Global Crop

Landscape Uses:Container, Massing, Specimen. Succeeds in most soils, preferring a damp well-drained sandy or loamy soil[1]. Inclined to be intolerant of cold clay soils[162]. Succeeds in dry soils. Prefers a sunny sheltered position[1, 162, 200]. Very tolerant of maritime exposure[K]. This species is hardy to about -20°c[187] if the winter is not excessively wet, though it is intolerant of prolonged periods of cold weather. Pampas grass is occasionally cultivated in some areas for its fibre which is used in making paper. Plants grow well as a focal point in a lawn and they also succeed in quite coarse grass[1, 233]. A number of named forms have been selected for their ornamental value[187, 200]. The leaves have saw-toothed edges, it is best to wear gloves when working with the plant[200]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required[200]. The inflorescence on the male plant is rather erect whilst it has wide spreading branches on the female[187]. Special Features:Attracts birds, Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Windbreak  Linear plantings of trees and shrubs designed to enhance crop production, protect people and livestock and benefit soil and water conservation.
  • Industrial Crop: Biomass  Three broad categories: bamboos, resprouting woody plants, and giant grasses. uses include: protein, materials (paper, building materials, fibers, biochar etc.), chemicals (biobased chemicals), energy - biofuels
  • Management: Hay  Cut to the ground and harvested annually. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Minor Global Crop  These crops are already grown or traded around the world, but on a smaller scale than the global perennial staple and industrial crops, The annual value of a minor global crop is under $1 billion US. Examples include shea, carob, Brazil nuts and fibers such as ramie and sisal.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - surface sow March/April in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 weeks at 15°c. Keep the soil moist. The seed has a short viability[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in late spring[1]. It can be very difficult to obtain divisions from this plant because they tend to be very large and to be very close to the main clump. We have found it best to use a sharp spade to cut into the main clump and break off the divisions. These are then potted up in light shade in a cold frame and are planted out once they have rooted well and are in active growth.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

pampas grass; silver pampas grass; Uruguayan pampas grass. Spanish: cortadera; ginerio plumacho; hierba da las pampas; penacho. French: gynerion argente; herbe des pampas; roseau a plumes. Brazil: bardeira; capim-do-pampas; paina; pluma. Germany: Silberweisses Pampasgras. Portugal: paina; plumas capim-das-pampas; ponacho-blanco erva-das-pampas. Spain: carrizo de la pampa.

A native of temperate South America including Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay. Present in Ireland and the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. It also occurs in many Micronesian islands, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaiian islands and the Pacific coast of the USA.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive according. Listed as one of the worst invader taxa in Europe and as a noxious species in Western Australia. Invasive in Hawaii and California. In New Zealand and South Africa, the plant is banned from sale and propagation.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

david nicholls   Mon Mar 6 09:50:11 2000

Other useful Cortaderias. There are four species of Cortaderia native here in New Zealand, which I think might be of interest as they have similar landscaping uses:barriers and low windbreaks, look much the same and are similar in size. I think some of the following uses might also work with Cortaderia selloana The leaves were used by Maori for making mats ,kites, baskets and containers for steeping and boiling food in water The flower heads wre used for sieves or strainers ( this could be of use again when we run out of metal for kitchen utensils) The heads were also used to stop the flow of blood (from wounds I guess) The base of the leaf was chewed for diarrhoea and kidney problems.

Crow says he finds the base of the stem the most palatable part but says some have tried the apparantly hard roots as food.

I chewed on several leaf bases yesterday and found them to be good thirst quenchers, you have to chew and suck out the flesh from around inedible fibres, taste not bitter or sweet, perhaps mushy potato chip-ish. A cigarette substitute perhaps( the sucking).

Crow lists it in the back of his excellent book under somewhat uncertain edibles so care would be advised.

The main native species sold here are Cortaderi toe toe & C.fulvida, no idea if available overseas.


A field Guide to the native edilbe plants of new zealand- A. Crow, New Zealand Medicinal Plants-- broker,cambie,cooper Encylopaedea of New Zealand-Ed Mclintock Economic Plants of New Zealand

her8866   Wed Jun 29 14:45:29 2005

I want to ask an important question,can I?Have someone tried to test to propagate this beautiful ornamental plant by tissue culture?Have sb done such research?thanks for give me advise,thank a lot! welcome u to contact with me!:)

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