Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Tripsacum dactyloides (Eastern gamagrass)
Mathews, Ray

Tripsacum dactyloides

Tripsacum dactyloides (L.) L.

Eastern Gamagrass, Fakahatchee Grass

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Coix dactyloides, Tripsacum dactyloides var. occidentale

USDA Symbol: TRDA3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Usually 2-3 ft. in height, can grow 12 ft. tall. It is interesting primarily for its terminal inflorescences which have separate male and female flowers. Stigmas are purple; stamens orange. The plant is a perennial.

Deer eat the hard, yellow seeds of this plant.


From the Image Gallery

59 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Linear
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Caryopsis
Size Notes: Up to about 12 feet tall, often much shorter.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Brown
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NE , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
Native Distribution: MA to IA & KS, s. to FL, OK & TX, south through Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean to South America as far as Paraguay in southeastern South America
Native Habitat: Borders of salt marshes; stream banks; mesic, upland, tallgrass prairies, Frequent in scattered parts of the state, more common in the eastern half, rare in Plains Country

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Moist soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Calcareous, Acid-based
Conditions Comments: Eastern gamagrass is related to corn, and deer gobble up its seeds. This grass grows large and stately; it is a good idea to allocate plenty of room to it. Cut it back in winter, but carefully, the leaf blade edges are sharp!


Use Ornamental: Accent, Grows in clumps, Border, Ground cover, Can be mowed
Use Wildlife: Deer eat the hard, yellow seeds. Seeds-granivorous birds, Cover, Nesting site, Graze.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Bunchgrass Skipper
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Byssus Skipper
(Problema byssus)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

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:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

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

Research Literature

Reslit 33 - Aspects of the Germination Ecology and Biomass Production of Eastern Gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides L.) (1985) R. C. Anderson
Reslit 749 - A Method to Enhance Germination of Eastern Gamagrass (1994) B. Kindiger
Reslit 1173 - Enhancing germination of eastern gamagrass seed with stratification and gibberellic acid (2004) C. Rogis, L. R. Gibson, A. D. Knapp and R. Horton
Reslit 1203 - High-frequency callus induction and plant regeneration in Tripsacum dactyloides (L.) (2002) R. V. Sairam, C. Wilber, J. Franklin, B. Smith, J....
Reslit 1338 - Seed germination and dormancy in eastern gamagrass (2001) T. L. Springer, C. L. Dewald and G. E. Aiken
Reslit 1339 - How does plant population density affect the forage yield of eastern gamagrass? (2003) T. L. Springer, C. L. Dewald, P. L. Sims and R. L....
Reslit 1389 - Response of eastern gamagrass seed to gibberellic acid buffered below its pKa (2003) X. Tian, A. D. Knapp, L. R. Gibson, R. Struthers, ...
Reslit 1390 - Cupule removal and caryopsis scarification improves germination of eastern gamagrass seed (2002) X. Tian, A. D. Knapp, K. J. Moore, E. C. Brummer a...
Reslit 1688 - Growth and seed yield of three perennial grains within monocultures and mixed stands (1998) J. K. Piper
Reslit 1958 - Ecotypic Variation in Tripsacum dactyloides Evaluated in Texas (1983) T. G. Schliesing and B. E. Dahl

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1989 VOL. 6, NO.4 - Spring Climbs Rockies Slowly, Colorado Cooler, Conference of Wildflower and Nati...

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-07-03
Research By: TWC Staff, GAP

Go back