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Products > Chasmanthium latifolium
Chasmanthium latifolium - Wild Oats
Image of Chasmanthium latifolium
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Grass
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae) (Grasses)
Origin: North America
Flower Color: Silver
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: < 0 F
Chasmanthium latifolium (Wild Oats) - A warm-season deciduous clumping grass that spreads slowly on short rhizomes with wide flat blue-green bamboo-like foliage rising up in late winter to around 2 feet tall and turning a lighter yellow-green by summer. By mid spring the foliage is topped with arching flowering stems to 3 feet tall that gracefully hold nodding silver green spikelets that resemble flattened clusters of oats that dance in the wind. These seedheads mature in fall to a rich pale bronze color and turn a not unattractive soft gray-brown during the winter. Plant in full sun along coast, partial shade inland and water occasionally. In shade the foliage remains a darker green and plants require more infrequent irrigation. It is quite cold tolerant and can be used in USDA Zones 3 and above. Cut back from late fall to mid winter to show of the fresh foliage that emerges in late winter. This is a really attractive grass in the garden or used in large pots. The flower stems are excellent in dried arrangements and the seed is eaten by birds and mammals. It can reseed in California gardens that are regularly irrigated, but not in a pesky way. We first got this attractive grass from John Greenlee (the "Grassman") in 1988 and grew crops from 1991 until 1997. We have plantings of it in the garden that were planted when we first got this plant and these have not spread out and the planting always charm visitors to the garden. This North American grass has an extensive native range from central Canada south through the central and eastern United State down to northeast Mexico where it is often found growing on shaded slopes, wooded areas and along streams. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'chasma' which mean "wide opening" and 'anthos' which means "flower". The specific epithet means "broad-leaved". The most frequently used common name, Northern Sea Oats, is a bit of a misnomer and should not be used since this plant does not grow along the seashore like true Sea Oats, Uniola paniculata. Other common names include Inland Sea Oats, Indian Wood Oats, River Oats, Flathead Oats, Upland Oats, Upland Sea Oats. Image on this page from the Kew Plants of the World Online website. 

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