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Japanese stiltgrass

Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus

USDA PLANTS Symbol: MIVI
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Herb


Synonym(s): Japanese stilt grass, Japanese grass, Mary's grass, Nepalgrass, basketgrass, microstegium, Nepalese browntop, Chinese packing grass

Appearance
Microstegium vimineum is a delicate, sprawling, annual grass that is 0.5-3.5 ft. (0.2-1.1 m) in height. The stems can root at the nodes.
Foliage
The leaves are pale-green, alternate, lance-shaped, 1-3 in. (2.5-7.6 cm) long, asymmetrical with a shiny, off-center midrib. Upper and lower leaf surface is slightly pubescent. A silvery line runs down the center of the blade. Stems usually droop.
Flowers
Flowering begins in September, when delicate flower stalks develop in the axils of the leaves or at the top of the stems.
Fruit
Fruit is produced from late September through early October.
Ecological Threat
Most commonly a invader of forested floodplains, Microstegium vimineum is also found in ditches, forest edges, fields, and trails. It is very shade tolerant and can completely displace native vegetation. It is native to Asia and was accidentally introduced into North America sometime around 1920. It has previously been used as packing material for porcelain, possibly explaining its accidental introduction.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service
Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual - SE-EPPC
Element Stewardship Abstract - The Nature Conservancy
Weeds Gone Wild: Alien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas - Plant Conservation Alliance
Invasive Plant Atlas of New England - University of Connecticut
Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service
Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas - National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service