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Products > Pennisetum massaicum
Pennisetum massaicum - Red Bunny Tails Fountain Grass

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Grass
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae) (Grasses)
Origin: Africa, East (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [P. messiacum, Hort., Cenchrus massaicus]
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
Pennisetum massaicum (Red Bunny Tails Fountain Grass) - A well-behaved and very attractive evergreen (in mild climates) fountain grass that reaches to 18 to 24 inches tall by as wide with narrow mid green leaves that arch over gracefully and in late spring and summer arise the 2 foot tall flower stalks with tight, but fat, spikes of flowers, that are at first red and age to a nice tan, held above the foliage. Plant in full sun to light shade and give occasional to regular irrigation. Evergreen in mild climates and cold hardy but deciduous down to around 5 F (USDA 7) and tolerant of near coastal conditions. A very nice grass plant with flowers that dance about the foliage similar to the plant sold as Pennisetum spathiolatum, but with slightly shorter stems bearing heavier and redder flower clusters that, as John Greenlee says, are "just begging to be touched". This grass comes south Africa north through eastern tropical African north to Somalia where it grows in open savannas. It was first described from plants collected in Kenya by the Austrian born botanist Otto Spath, who later became director of the herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and was awarded the Linnean Medal in 1927. This plant is often erroneously listed (by some good sources) as Pennisetum messiacum but this spelling is incorrect. A name that may become valid is Cenchrus massaicus as some researchers have suggested that ALL Pennisetum should be combined and renamed as species of Cenchrus we will try to avoid doing this until I see that it is universally agreed upon.  Information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We also will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips would aid others in growing Pennisetum massaicum.