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  Pennisetum alopecuroides (L.) Spreng.
  Family Name : Poaceae (Gramineae)

  Synonyms : Panicum alopecuroides, Alopecurus hordeiformis, Pennisetum hordeiforme, Pennisetum compressum, Pennisetum japonicum

  Common Names : Chinese Fountain Grass, Swamp Foxtail Grass, Swamp Foxtail, Chinese Pennisetum

  Chinese Name : 狼尾草, 狗尾草, 大狗草, 狗仔尾, 小芒草, 油包草

Chinese Fountain Grass,Swamp Foxtail Grass,Swamp Foxtail,Chinese Pennisetum
  • Record Info
  • Life Stage & Characteristics
    • Plant Division :
      Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
      Plant Growth Form :
      Grass & Grass-like Plant (Tall Grass (Poaceae))
      Lifespan (in Singapore) :
      Mode of Nutrition :
      Plant Shape :
      Fountain (Palm-like)
      Maximum Height :
      0.6 m to 0.9 m
      Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width :
      0.5 m to 0.6 m
  • Biogeography
    • Native Distribution :
      India, China, Japan, Myanmar, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia
      Native Habitat :
      Terrestrial (Riverine; Grassland / Savannah/ Scrubland)
      Preferred Climate Zone :
      Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
  • Description & Ethnobotany
    • Plant Morphology :
      Growth Form: Perennial tufted grass that grows in slowly-expanding dense clumps, up to 1.5m height.
      Foliage: Green, narrow leaves are up to 1.2 cm wide. 
      Flowers: The cylindrical, foxtail-like inflorescence is classified as a raceme, but resembles a spike.  
      Habitat :
      Naturally occurs in open lowlands and grassy areas.
      Cultivation :
      Prefers sunny spots, tolerates partial shade but may not flower well. Withstands poorly-drained soils, able to grow in 10cm depth of water. Foliage may be cut back from time to time. Propagate by division. Plant tends to be open up in the centre with age -- divide the open clump to rejuvenate it. Not known to be aggressive or sucessfully self-seeding under local conditions. Does not spread by underground rhizomes. Slow-release phosphorus-rich fertilizer may be added to soil mix during planting, but fertilization is generally not necessary after establishment. Excess nutrients may suppress flower formation.
      Etymology :
      Genus epithet 'Pennisetum' means feather (penna) and bristle (seta) in Latin, a reference to the feathery bristle inflorescences. Species epithet 'alopecuroides' means similar to the Alopecurus genus, whose name is derived from the Greek terms for fox and tail, again alluding to the inflorescence shape.
      Ethnobotanical Uses :
      Edible Plant Parts (Edible Seeds)
      Edible Plant Parts (Edible Seeds), Cut / Dried Flower (The inflorescence is ideal for bouquets.)
      [Others]: Food: Seeds can be grounded into powder and used as flour. Used as famine food. 
  • Landscaping Features
    • Desirable Plant Features :
      Ornamental Flowers
      Plant & Rootzone Preference/Tolerance :
      Dry Soils / Drought, Well-Drained Soils, Poor Infertile Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils, Disease / Pest Resistant, Easy to Grow
      Landscape Uses :
      General, Coastal, Flowerbed / Border, Container Planting
      Thematic Landscaping :
      Silver Garden, Naturalistic Garden, Wildflower Garden, Water Garden
  • Fauna, Pollination & Dispersal
    • Pollination Method(s) :
      Abiotic (Wind)
      Seed / Spore Dispersal :
      Abiotic (Wind)
  • Plant Care & Propagation
    • Light Preference :
      Full Sun
      Water Preference :
      Lots of Water, Moderate Water
      Plant Growth Rate :
      Planting Distance :
      0.5 m to 0.9 m
      Maintenance Requirements :
      Pruning :
      Cut back old foliage by two-thirds of its length once a year during active growth.
      Fertilizing :
      Use low-phosphorus slow-release fertilizer in potting mix, or apply liquid fertilizer during cultivation. Once planted out, generally does not require fertilization as excessive nutrients may suppress inflorescence production.
      Propagation Method :
      Seed, Division
  • Foliar
    • Mature Foliage Colour(s) :
      Mature Foliage Texture(s) :
      Smooth, Scaly
      Foliar Type :
      Simple / Unifoliate
      Foliar Shape(s) :
      Non-Palm Foliage (Linear)
      Foliar Venation :
      Foliar Margin :
      Foliar Apex / Tip :
      Typical Foliar Area :
      Mesophyll ( 45cm2 - 182.25 cm2 )
      Leaf Area Index (LAI) * for Green Plot Ratio :
      3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)
  • Non-Foliar & Storage
    • Stem Type & Modification :
      Root Type :
      Underground (Fibrous Root)
  • Floral (Angiosperm)
    • Flower & Plant Sexuality :
      Bisexual Flowers
      Flower Colour(s) :
      Purple, White, Yellow / Golden
      Inflorescence Type :
      Flowering Period :
      Flower Lifespan On Plant :
      Several Weeks
      Flowering Habit :
  • Fruit, Seed & Spore
    • Mature Fruit Colour(s) [Angiosperms & Gymnosperms] :
      Cream / Off-White
      Fruit Classification :
      Simple Fruit
      Fruit Type :
      Indehiscent Dry Fruit (Caryopsis / Grain)
  • References
    • Darke, Rick. 2007. The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes. USA: Timber Press. 487pp.
The information given on this website has been compiled from reference works on medicinal plants and/or pron only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Reliance on this information is strictly at your own risk. You should always consult your physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.

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