Pampas grass

Pampas grass

Cortaderia selloana (Poaceae)

Common Name:

Pampas grass

Scientific Name:

Cortaderia selloana (Poaceae)

Alternative common names:

Pampasgras; silwergras (Afrikaans)


Vigorous, tussock grass up to 3,5m in diameter, with flowering stalks up to 4m high. Greyish- or bluish-green leaves with rough margins. Silvery-white to pink or mauve, feathery inflorescences appear from February to April. This grass invades river banks and seasonally wet habitats

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

South America - Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and Chile

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

CARA 2002 - Category 1a; NEMBA - Category 1b. Sterile cultivars or hybrids are not listed.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng

How does it spread?

This grass spreads by seeds and rhizomes

Why is it a problem?

It forms large clumps which displace smaller indigenous species
All parts of this plant are deemed a Category 1b invasive species in South Africa
It is environmentally irresponsible and illegal...
- To sell the plumes of pampas grass - which are full of seeds
- To transport or use pampas grass plumes as a decor accessory for weddings, events or in shop fronts

What does it look like?

General description: A robust, tussock grass growing up to 3,5m in diameter with flowering stalks reaching 4m high.
Leaves: Long slender leaves with narrowly tapering tips and grey or bluish-green in colour, often v-shaped in cross-section with rough margins.
Flowers: Feathery silvery-white to pink or mauve flowers appearing from February-April.
Fruit/Seeds: Produces from an open panicle, containing a large number of seeds.

Does the plant have any uses?

Historically it was used as an ornamental and for mine dump stabilization

Leave a Reply