Japanese Stilt Grass (Microstegium vimineum)

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Japanese Stilt Grass
Low-growing, annual grass. Introduced to US as packing material in porcelain imports. First documented from environment in early part of last century but relative newcomer to Litchfield County.
Identification:

  • Silvery stripe in center of leaf is diagnostic.
  • Joints on stems produce roots which grow into new plants.
  • In fall changes from green to straw color, tinged with burgundy red.
  • Often grows w/native white grass (perennial) with which it is often confused. (White grass lacks silvery stripe on leaf and stems are encircled by ring of small hairs.)
The Problem:
Impedes forest regeneration due to sheer density of growth, by preventing native plant seedling development. Can also cause soil erosion, especially on stream banks as its roots, which would otherwise help stabilize soil, die in winter. Spreads rapidly due to prolific seed production; large colonies take time to eradicate due to vast number of seeds present in soil.