Chasmanthium latifolium

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: northern sea oats 
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Native Range: Eastern United States, northern Mexico
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Black Walnut


Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of poor soils, but prefers moist, fertile soils. One of the more shade tolerant of the ornamental grasses. Self-seeds and may spread aggressively. Leaving foliage in place over winter adds interest to the landscape and helps protect crowns from the cold. Cut back to the ground in early spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Chasmanthium latifolium, a clump-forming, upright, ornamental grass, is a Missouri native plant which typically grows 2-5' and most often occurs in rich woods or rocky slopes along streams and on moist bluffs. This grass is perhaps most distinguished by the flat, drooping seed heads which hang in terminal clusters on thread-like pedicils from slightly arching stems. Seed heads will flutter when caressed by even the softest of breezes. Seed heads emerge green but turn purplish bronze by late summer. Bright green leaves (5-9" long) turn a coppery color after frost and eventually brown by winter. Excellent for dried flower arrangements. Common name of inland sea oats is in reference to the similarity of the seed heads to those of oats. This grass was once known as Uniola latifolia.

Genus name comes from the Greek chasme meaning gaping and anthemum meaning flower for the form of the flower.

Specific epithet means broad-leaved.


No serious insect or disease problems. May need staking or other support.


Provides excellent contrast and texture almost year-round to the border, shaded garden, native plant garden, naturalized area, along streams or on the periphery of the water garden. Naturalizing or large, mass plantings may be the best ways to use this plant in home landscapes due to its tendency to spread.