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Saccharum giganteum (Sugarcane plumegrass)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Saccharum giganteum

Saccharum giganteum (Walter) Pers.

Sugarcane Plumegrass, Giant Plumegrass

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Erianthus giganteus, Erianthus giganteus var. compactus, Erianthus laxus, Erianthus saccharoides


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Giant plume grass is a tall, coarse, erect grass growing 6-10 ft., with a large, fluffy, terminal panicle of reddish-peach seed heads.

A very showy, dramatically tall grass of moist areas, blooming in early fall in full sun.


From the Image Gallery

8 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Inflorescence: Panicle
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Flower: Flowers in 6 to 16 inch plume
Fruit: Peach to silver

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
Bloom Notes: Color ranges from rose to coppery.


USA: AL , AR , DC , DE , FL , GA , KY , LA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA
Native Distribution: NY to KY, s. to FL & e. TX; mostly absent from Appalachians
Native Habitat: Moist, open, sandy areas; bogs; swales

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium , High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Drought Tolerance: Low
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist, sandy soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: Clump will get bigger each year unless part of the roots are dug during the dormant period. Does best at the edge of ponds, streams, or water gardens.


Use Ornamental: Accent. Grows in clumps, bog, or pond area. Combine with moisture-loving, fall-blooming flowers and meadow grasses.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Propagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
Description: Propagate by seed or root division while the plant is dormant.
Seed Collection: Collect in late fall when seeds have turned brownish.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-1131 Collected 2007-02-11 in Liberty County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Saccharum giganteum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Saccharum giganteum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Saccharum giganteum


Record Modified: 2022-10-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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