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Pennisetum villosum is a species of flowering plant in the grass family Poaceae, known by the common name feathertop grass or just feathertop.[1] It is native to northeastern Africa and parts of the Arabian Peninsula, and it is grown elsewhere as an ornamental plant. It can sometimes be found growing wild where it has escaped cultivation. This is a perennial grass growing in rhizomatous clumps, producing erect stems up to about 75 centimeters tall. The inflorescence is a panicle of clustered spikelets surrounded by a cloudlike mass of plumose white bristles up to 5 centimeters long.

Pennisetum villosum
Pennisetum villosum 1.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Pennisetum
P. villosum
Binomial name
Pennisetum villosum

The Latin specific epithet villosum means “with soft hairs”.[2]

In temperate zones it is hardy in mild or coastal areas, where temperatures do not fall much below freezing. Alternatively it is often grown as an annual.[3]

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.[1][4]


  1. ^ a b "RHS Plantfinder - Pennisetum villosum". Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  2. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for Gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 184533731X.
  3. ^ "Pennisetum villosum". Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  4. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 75. Retrieved 22 April 2018.

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