Monday, May 25, 2020

Another year, another burst of Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stiltgrass)

Microstegium vimineum - Japanese stiltgrass
A carpet of M.vimineum surrounds a dead tree trunk 
The last time I had seen the invasive grass Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stiltgrass), it had been Fall 2019, and the grasses had already turned golden in color.

Before today, I had not seen the species during late Spring, but when we hiked the Watching Reservation in Watchung, NJ this afternoon, the invasive grass was already starting to show itself in force.

Microstegium vimineum - Japanese stiltgrass
M. vimineum carpet goes deep into the shaded canopy
Although each individual grass was still quite small and had only a few leaves, the ability of this species to dominate and overwhelm its environs is not in doubt. Carpets of the grass had already started forming along the sides of some parts of the trail, and some clumps had even formed deeper into the forest.

I even found a clump of large ferns facing what looked like an encroaching mass of the invaders!

Microstegium vimineum - Japanese stiltgrass
Ferns surrounded by M. vimineum
Sadly, I know that by the time winter comes rolling in, that lone group of ferns will probably be drowning in a sea of Japanese stiltgrass.

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