Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMON NAMES:

Japanese stiltgrass

Nepalese browntop

Chinese packing grass

Asian stilt grass

annual jewgrass

bamboograss

Nepal microstegium

eulalia

Mary's grass

 

SCIENTIFIC SYNONYMS:

Andropogon vimineum Trin.

Eulalia viminea (Trin.) Kuntze

 

TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name for Japanese

stiltgrass is Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) Camus.

 

NATIVE STATUS: Introduced, United States and Canada.

 

GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

Stiltgrass is a weak rooted and sprawling annual grass that can grow to

heights of 6 feet, though it is usually much shorter (usually 0.5 to 3 ft).

Taller plants typically lie flat along the ground or propped up against

other vegetation. Plants usually have multiple weak stems, with aerial

rootlets near the base, giving rise to the common name ‘stiltgrass’. Stilt-

grass often has multiple stems, branching near the base. The stems are

thin and somewhat fleshy when actively growing, but become wiry as

plant dies back. Stems smooth and may have some hair just below leaves

on leaf sheath. The longer stems tend to sprawl and root at nodes. The

leaves are 2-4 inches long and around ½ inch wide with both ends point-

ed and smooth edges. A silvery, off-center midrib often present. The

leaves are well-spaced along the stem (not from stem base). The flowers

are born on delicate stalks and may have 1, 2, or 3 spikes. The seed fruit

is awned and bristly. The roots are Thin and weak and pull out of the

ground easily. Rootlets (‘stilt’ roots) descend from nodes along lower sec-

tions of the stem.

 

REGENERATION PROCESS: Japanese stiltgrass propogates itself by

reseeding. Stilt grass reproduces exclusively by seed and one plant may

produce 100 to 1,000 seeds that typically fall close to the parent plant.

Seeds may be carried by water during heavy rains or move about in con-

taminated hay, soil or mud stuck in footwear. Stilt grass seeds remain vi-

able in the soil for five or more years and germinate readily.

 

HABITAT TYPES:  Preferred habitats include floodplain forests and

stream banks, river bluffs, forest edges, moist woodlands, early succes-

sional fields, uplands, thickets, road and trail edges, damp fields, ditches

and lawns, other shady areas prone to flooding, and gas and power-line

corridors.

 

SITE CHARACTERISTICS Japanese stiltgrass can be found in full

sun to deep shaded forest conditions and is associated with moist, rich

soils that are acidic, neutral or basic and high in nitrogen.

 

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Japanese stiltgrass flowers late sum-

mer through early fall.

 

GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Japanese stiltgrass is an aggressively in-

troduced species that occurs from Florida north to the lower New England

states and extends west to the Mississippi River and Ohio Valley regions.

It is more sparcely distributed in those states just west of the Mississippi

River (Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, and Oklahoma). It is antici-

pated that Japanese stiltgrass will continue to spread westward.

 

SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION:

 

Grass specimens can be found on trails marked in red.

 

       Bleak House
       Appalachian Trail/Old Trail
       South Ridge/North Ridge
       Gap Run
       Snowden
       Woodpecker Lane

       Sherman's Mill
       Rolling Meadows/ Lost Mountain
       Fish Pond

 

The specific distribution of Japanese stiltgrass has not been determined.

 

IMPORTANCES AND USES:  Japanese stiltgrass, is an aggressive in-

vader of forest lands throughout the eastern United States. Infestations

can impact the diversity of native species, reduce wildlife habitat, and

disrupt important ecosystem functions. Stiltgrass is considered one of the

most damaging invasive plant species in the United States. Infestations

spread rapidly and the seed can remain viable in the soil for up to five

years.

 

 

Back to Inventory of Grass Families and Species

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