Fountain Grass ~ Pennisetum

trudi_dJanuary 1, 2013


Image by: wintersown
Black Moudry Grass Ornamental Grasses are becoming one of the most popular additions to home gardens. They are adaptable for xeriscapes, formal plantings or natural habitat gardens. Grasses are one of the largest food sources on our planet, providing seeds for wildlife (millet, corn), grain grasses are ground for flours (oats, rye, wheat) and others are processed for sweeteners (barley, sugarcane)....there are many more examples that I have not listed.

Grasses form their flowers in spikes called inflorescences. Seed collection is easy. Do not remove the flowering spikes, seeds will develop in the inflorescences. After a period of time you can notice a changing of color in the seed spike, usually it will lighten in color. Mature seeds can be brown to light tan depending on species.

It is important to note for collection that seeds will not come readily off the spike if they are immature. For collection grasp your hand around the base of the mature inflorescence and in a clasping motion pull upwards and strip the seeds from the spike. Ripe seeds come off very easily.

Allow the seeds to dry in a large open bowl for several days, small seeds will need a few days to dry, larger seeds may require more time, especially in damp weather. It is important to assure that the seeds are thoroughly dry before storing them.

Their will be a good amount of chaff with the seeds, it is not always easy to remove. Some seeds, such as pennisetum, have narrow catching/hooking spear-like protrusions attached. Their purpose is part of the dispersal means of the plant. As an animal passes close by and brushes against the infloresence the seeds are snagged onto the coat and can stay attached for some distance, the seed eventually breaks from its hooks and falls to the ground where it might germinate.

Seeds are usually traded with the chaff, for sowing rub both seeds and chaff into the surface of moist soil and press in well.

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