Briza media
Common Name: common quaking grass 
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Native Range: Eurasia
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Black Walnut


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerant of a wide range of soils. Cut back clumps immediately after seed heads disintegrate to encourage additional foliage growth. Clumps may be mowed on high setting in late fall or dead foliage can be cleared in late winter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Briza media, commonly called common quaking grass, is a rhizomatous, creeping, warm season ornamental grass which features a clump of narrow, erect, green leaves (1/4 to 1/2" wide) typically growing 12 to 15" tall. Tiny, greenish flowers appear in spring in loose, airy panicles atop stems rising well above the foliage clump to 24-36" tall. Flowers give way to flattened hop-like, purplish-maturing-to-tan seed heads which dangle on thread-like stems and quiver in the slightest breeze, thus giving rise to the common name.

Genus name comes from the Greek name for one of the food grains, possibly rye.

Specific epithet means medicinal.

Seed heads which dangle on thread-like stems and quiver in the slightest breeze has giving rise to the common name.


No serious insect or disease problems but is intolerant of hot summers.


Best when massed. Effective in borders, cottage gardens, naturalized areas and meadows. May be too weedy for borders.