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Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Pampas Grass

I'm sure most people are familiar with Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) with its tall fluffy plumes. It originates in South America but there is also one that comes from New Zealand and has the common name ToeToe.

They look similar and both generally get called Pampas Grass without realising they come from different parts of the world.

My photo shows the New Zealand species, which you can see has a graceful curved stem with a more delicate flower head than the large plumed Pampas grass. These tussocks are at the entrance to Todmorden park. There is also a good one in a garden by the roadside at Springs, Mytholm.

Both species came under the genus Cortaderia but the New Zealand grass has now been put into genus Austroderia, (specific name richardii,  named after Achille Richard a French botanist).

What is remarkable is the hardiness of the New Zealand grass. Whenever I go over Holme Moss (elevation 1719 feet) from Holmfirth towards Woodhead, I always remark on the incongruity of just one large tussock at the roadside just over the summit. It is wild and windswept with severe winters, yet this hardy grass grows and flowers well amongst the moorland vegetation.
Someone must have been determined to plant it there!

By the way, be careful handling them as the leaves will cut you to the bone.

                                            New Zealand 'Pampas' ToeToe grass

                                                       At entrance to Todmorden Park

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate you post Philip. Always very interesting.
    I recall your post on the Tulip Tree in Centre Vale Park. I noticed a nice young specimen recently at the middle of the turning circle on the main road in Hebden Bridge. You may have seen it ?