Synonym(s): Andropogon vimineum, Eulalia viminea, Eulalia viminea var. variabilis, Microstegium vimineum var. imberbe
Family: Poaceae (Grass Family)
Duration and Habit: Annual Grass/Grasslike
Sprawling, annual grass, 0.5 to 3 feet (15 to 90 cm) in height. Flat short leaf blades, with off-center veins. Stems branching near the base and rooting at nodes to form dense and extensive infestations. Dried whitish-tan grass remains standing in winter.
Native Lookalikes: Currently no information available here yet, or there are no native Texas species that could be confused with Japanese stiltgrass.
Ecological Threat: Japanese stilt grass is especially well adapted to low light conditions. It threatens native plants and natural habitats in open to shady, and moist to dry locations. Stilt grass spreads to form extensive patches, displacing native species that are not able to compete with it. Where white-tail deer are over-abundant, they may facilitate its invasion by feeding on native plant species and avoiding stilt grass.
Biology & Spread: Japanese stilt grass is a colonial species that spreads by rooting at stem nodes that touch the ground. Stilt grass reproduces exclusively by seed. Individual plants may produce 100 to 1,000 seeds that fall close to the parent plant. Seed may be carried further by water currents during heavy rains or moved in contaminated hay, soil, or potted plants, and on footwear. Stilt grass seed remains viable in the soil for five or more years and germinates readily.
History: Native to temperate and tropical Asia, and first identified near Knoxville, TN, around 1919. Ground cover with little wildlife food value. Likely escaped as a result of its use as a packing material for porcelain.
U.S. Habitat: Flourishes on alluvial floodplains and streamsides, mostly colonizing flood-scoured banks, due to water dispersal of seed and flood tolerance. Also common at forest edges, roadsides, and trailsides, as well as damp fields, swamps, lawns, and along ditches. Occurs up to 4,000 feet (1200 m) elevation. Very shade tolerant. Consolidates occupation by prolific seeding, with each plant producing 100 to 1,000 seeds that can remain viable in the soil for 5 or more years. Spreads on trails and recreational areas by seeds hitchhiking on hikers? and visitors? shoes and clothes.
U.S. Nativity: Introduced to U.S.
Native Origin: Asia; temp. & trop. Asia (Germplasm Resources Information Network); NatureServe Explorer
U.S. Present: AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, PR, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV
Distribution in Texas: Japanese stilt grass has been reported to be invasive in natural areas in fourteen eastern states (Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia) and Washington, D.C.
List All Observations of Microstegium vimineum reported by Citizen Scientists
A variety of control methods are available for stilt grass, depending on the extent of the infestation, the type of habitat, and the availability of labor and other resources. Preventing the introduction of stilt grass into non-infested areas and out of infested areas should be a priority. Early control of new infestations will also reduce the likelihood of establishment.USE PESTICIDES WISELY: ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE LABEL CAREFULLY, FOLLOW ALL MIXING AND APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND WEAR ALL RECOMMENDED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR AND CLOTHING. CONTACT YOUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL PESTICIDE USE REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS. MENTION OF PESTICIDE PRODUCTS ON THIS WEB SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF ANY MATERIAL.
Trees of Central Texas, Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country, Nonnative Invasive Plants of Sourthern Forests
APWG WeedUS Database
Miller, J.H. 2003. Nonnative invasive plants of southern forests: a field guide for identification and control. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-62. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 93 pp (USDA SRS).
Google Search: Microstegium vimineum
Google Images: Microstegium vimineum
NatureServe Explorer: Microstegium vimineum
USDA Plants: Microstegium vimineum
Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States: Microstegium vimineum
Bugwood Network Images: Microstegium vimineum