Pennisetum macrourum

Plant of the month: October

Pennisetum macrourum

A spectacular South African grass, forming tussocks of pale green foliage with long, pale-coloured plumes arching elegantly upwards and catching the low Autumn light.

The Latin name Pennisetum has been allocated in response to such plumes, derived from penna, meaning ‘feather‘, and seta, meaning ‘bristle’ as the hairs attached to the flower plumes are feathered in some species. Though an exceptional ornamental for a sunny UK garden, in countries such as New Zealand it is considered a serious weed. Through its vigorous rhizome system it can form dense infestations, which completely eliminate all other plants.