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Products > Pennisetum spathiolatum
Pennisetum spathiolatum - Slender Veldt Grass
Image of Pennisetum spathiolatum
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Grass
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae) (Grasses)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Tan
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [P. sphacelatum, Cenchrus sphacelatus]
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
Pennisetum spathiolatum (Slender Veldt Grass) - A evergreen to semi-evergreen plant that produces clumps of fine-textured dark-green narrow foliage that mounds to 18 inches tall. In late spring to late summer arise in abundance the vertical tall wirey flower stalks to 3 to 4 feet tall that terminate in tight elongated spikes of tan-colored flowers that seem to dance unattached high above the foliage. Plant in full to part sun in a fairly well-drained soil. Requires little irrigation but responds well to occaisonal watering. Hardy and mostly evergreen in mild climates and root hardy to USDA Zone 7 (0-10 F). Cut back in late winter to early spring prior to the first flush of growt. Great in a meadow planting with other plants - John Greenlee suggests combining it with Festuca mairei in The American Meadow Graden. Also nice grouped in a dry stream bed or silhouetted against a plain wall. This plant has not been known to reseed. Pennisetum spathiolatum is reported by some to be a native to South Africa but the name does not appear in any of the floras of this region, any other flora, nor in The International Plant Name Index so it seems that the name "Pennisetum spathiolatum" actually may not be a valid botanical name. The closest plant matching it in both name and description is Pennisetum sphacelatum (Nees) T. Duran & Schinz but until we can get confirmation on this name we will leave it as Pennisetum spathiolatum - whatever the name, it sure is nice! The genus name comes from the Latin words 'penna' meaning "feather" and 'seta' meaning a "bristle" or "hair" and alludes to the plumose bristles of some species. Though not yet listed as such in all nomenclatural databases, recent treatment of the genus Pennisetum has all species included in the genus Cenchrus with Pennisetum sphacelatum now called Cenchrus sphacelatus. Until such time as these new names become recognized in the horticultural trades, we have decided to continue to list this plant as Pennisetum spathiolatum. 

This information about Pennisetum spathiolatum displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.