NC State University
House with native plants and animalsGoing Native: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants
Home > How to Go Native > Map Existing Site and Vegetation > Invasive, Exotic Plants of the Southeast > Cogongrass

Invasive, Exotic Plants of the Southeast




Common Name: Cogongrass, Japanese Blood Grass

Scientific Name: Imperata cylindrica

Identification: Cogongrass is an aggressive perennial grass reaching 1 to 5 feet in height.  Leaves are 1 to 4 feet long and pointed.  The stem is moderately stout.  The flowers are silky panicles, 1 to 8 inches long appearing from February to May.  Seeds are small, brown, with silver husks and mature from May to June.

Ecology: Cogongrass is adaptable to a variety of environmental conditions.  It grows rapidly and colonizes by rhizomes, wind dispersed seeds, and is promoted by burning.  Cogongrass invades right-of-ways, forests, fields, and pastures.  Few wildlife species use Cogongrass.

Plant Control: Cogongrass can be difficult to control. Dense patches can be treated with 5% glyphosate and surfactant solution in late summer. Monitor and re-treat annually until control is achieved. 
Alternative Native Species: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), Splitbeard Bluestem (Andropogon ternarius), Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

When using herbicides remember to follow label-recommendations.  Any mention of trade, products, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by North Carolina State University.

Back to top

NC Forest ServiceNC Cooperative Extension