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Pennisetum alopecuroides, the Chinese pennisetum, Chinese fountaingrass, dwarf fountain grass, foxtail fountain grass, or swamp foxtail grass, is a species of perennial grass native to Asia and Australia. Culms are erect, and 60–100 cm long; leaf-blades are erect or drooping; flat, or conduplicate, or involute; and from 10–45 cm long by 3–6 mm wide. Pronunciation: Pennisetum (pen-ih-SEE-tum) alopecuroides (al-oh-pek-yur-OY-deez)[1]

Pennisetum alopecuroides
Pennisetum alopecuroides - Berlin Botanical Garden - IMG 8624.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Pennisetum
P. alopecuroides
Binomial name
Pennisetum alopecuroides
(L.) Spreng.
Pennisetum alopecuroides


Ideal growing conditionsEdit

The plant generally needs full sun to light shade. Prefers moist, well-drained soil and will grow in any soil except those that are poorly drained. The best time of the year to grow one is between the months of August to Winter.[2]

Additional informationEdit

The plant is a warm season ornamental grass which typically grows in graceful, spreading clumps from 2-3' tall and as wide. Features narrow, medium to deep green leaves (to 1/2" wide) in summer, changing to golden yellow in fall and fading to beige in late fall. Foliage usually remains attractive throughout the winter. Showy, silvery to pinkish-white, bristly, bottle brush-like flower spikes arch outward from the clump in late summer like water spraying from a fountain (hence the common name). Flower spikes turn brownish as the seeds form, and spikes usually persist until late fall or early winter before shattering. Many excellent fountain grass cultivars are available in commerce, ranging in height from 1-5' and featuring a variety of different flower colors (purples, pinks or whites) and autumn foliage.[3]

Genus name comes from the Latin penna meaning feather and seta meaning bristle in reference to the flowers having long, feathery bristles.

Specific epithet means like a foxtail grass.


Pennisetum alopecuroides
  • Alopecurus hordeiformis L.
  • Panicum alopecuroides L. (basionym)
  • Pennisetum compressum R. Br.
  • Pennisetum hordeiforme (Thunb.) Spreng.
  • Pennisetum japonicum Trin. ex Spreng.


  1. ^ "Pennisetum alopecuroides - Fountain Grass". Bluestem. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Pennisetum alopecuroides - Fountain Grass". Bluestem. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Pennisetum alopecuroides". Missouri Botanical Gardens. Retrieved 10 November 2016.