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North MS Fish Hatchery

 

Mississippi Native: River Oats

(Chasmanthium latifolium)

Downloadable Brochure: RIVER OATS

Other Name/s:

Wild Oats, Indian Wood Oats, Flathead Oats, Inland Sea Oats, and Upland Sea Oats

Description:

This woodland grass grows upright and forms clumps. It has bamboo-like green leaves that turn yellow/gold in the fall before changing to a brown color during the winter. The river oats plant has seed heads forming from slender arching branches. The seeds are heavier than the branches, which causes the seeds to dangle from drooping branches.

Size:

River Oats reach 24 to 48 inches in height, and clumps may grow 24 to 30 inches in width.   

Season:

This perennial has seed heads, which appear in the middle of the summer and ripen at the end of summer/beginning of fall (September – October). These stay on the plant through the winter months (December – January).  

Habitat:

River oats are frequently found along water edges.

Interesting Facts:

This plant attracts songbirds, and  it is used frequently in cut flower arrangements. It spreads quickly, thus is used for controlling soil erosion. When seed heads are brown, the wind through the seeds causes a “rustling” sound.  

Planting Tips:

Propagate with seeds or divide the roots. This plant needs moist soil (well-drained) and fairs well along the edges of water gardens and streams. This plant tolerates poor soil and grows well in partial sun/shade.

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