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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pampas Grass Cortaderia selloana

The iconic plant of the Uraguayan pampas, whose three metre-tall plumes of seeds are a wonderful sight on a bright autumn day in any garden, although they can be devastated by an October gale. It’s a fairly well-behaved plant in British gardens but in some parts of the world where it has been introduced – including southern Spain – it has self-seeded itself and invaded poor quality agricultural land. Maybe a plant to keep a wary eye on then, when the climate of southern England becomes warmer and drier as this century progresses? It’s a serious pest species in Australia and New Zealand and the Hawaiians are fighting a losing battle against it. You can read more about it at

When I was a kid we had a large pampas grass in the corner of our back garden and we were warned to leave the dangerously sharp-edged leaves alone. They didn’t deter frogs though, that often spent the day sheltering down amongst the leaf bases, where they were safe from predators.