Plant Guide > Grasses > Broad Leaved Spike Grass

Broad Leaved Spike Grass

Broad Leaved Spike GrassUniola latifolia Michx.

So strikingly ornamental are the panicles of Broad-leaved Spike-grass that one assumes it to have been among the cherished plants removed from English homes and carefully cultivated in the walled gardens of long ago.

But instead this is distinctly an American grass, as are the several members of the genus. Blossoming in late summer, in the borders of moist woods and along winding streams, the large panicles call to mind those old-time bouquets of dried grasses that needed but a touch to start them trembling with faint intimations of the music that was theirs when the breeze, passing over the floweringheads, shook the ripening spikelets, one against another.

The rich green leaves are numerous and widely spreading, and above them the panicles rise like those of a giant Brome-grass, the long, slender pedicels drooping with the weight of the broad spikelets.

Broad-leaved Spike-grass. Uniola latifolia Michx.


Stem 2-5 ft. tall, stout, erect. Ligule very short. Leaves 4'-10' long, 4"-12" wide, flat, rough on margins, usually hairy at base.

Panicle 5'-12' long, branches slender, drooping. Spikelets broad, many-flowered, 9"-15" long, flat, oil hair-like, drooping pedicels. Outer scales stightly unequal, acute, much smaller than flowering scales; flowering scales acute, rough-hairy on their winged keels. Stamen 1.

Moist, shaded places. July to September.

Pennsylvania to Florida, west to Kansas and Texas.