Native to Eurasia, but introduced to the United States as a forage grass and for range improvement. It has spread widely, and now can be found in many states across the U.S., as well as in Hawaii. It occurs from Oregon south to Arizona, and in Texas and several Gulf States to Virginia.
This is a perennial grass that reproduces from seeds, and with foliage that may persist through the winter months. Plants also spread by rhizomes. Plants are capable of forming thick, very tall clumps, and along with their common occurrence along roadsides and in disturbed sites they also can be a problem weed in cultivated crops.
Mature plants can be very tall, with stems and flowering spikes up to 6 feet in height. Numerous thick stems and wide leaves arise from the base of the plant, with underground spreading from rhizomes giving rise to dense clumps of the grass. The short rhizomes lead to very leafy bunches, and the leaves can be over an inch wide and up to 15 inches long. Where the leaf adjoins the stem the sheath is a lighter green, turning brownish as it matures, and there is a very long, papery ligule present that may be 1 inch long. The flowering spikes form at the ends of the very long stems, and these are dense clusters about ½ inch wide and up to 6 inches long.
Characteristicts Important to Control:
Due to the rhizomes, physical removal may not be successful, although the size of the plants may require their removal once they are killed. Control can be effective with a systemic herbicide, and pre-emergent control will be needed for the extensive seed production.