Saturday, April 3, 2021

Flowering of Imperata cylindrica (Cogon grass)

I love seeing a grass flowering en masse, and this goes double for a species with a beautiful inflorescence.

Although Imperata cylindrica (Cogon grass) is an invasive, it has quite attractive flowerheads, which are white spikes that look fluffy as they mature (see image below).

A single flowerhead
A closer look at the seeds show silky hairs rising from the spikelet. The hairs aid in dispersing the seed by wind (see image below). 

Seeds of Cogon grass
When I visited Florida in March 2021, I managed to see some examples of mass flowering for this species. It is actively controlled as an invasive weed, but the fluffy flowerheads are so distinctive that I have repeatedly spotted even small clusters of this species along the roadside as I sped by in a car!

I'd like to share with you some photographs of the mass flowerings that I saw. Enjoy!

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