Diarrhena americana

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: American beakgrain 
Type: Ornamental grass
Family: Poaceae
Native Range: Central and eastern United States
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Drought, Heavy Shade, Dry Soil, Black Walnut, Air Pollution


Easily grown in average, medium moisture soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist rich soils. Naturalizes by slender, creeping rhizomes and can form dense colonies in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Diarrhena americana is a Missouri native perennial grass which typically grows 2-3' tall and occurs in rich, moist woods, along streams and at the base of limestone bluffs in the southern part of the State. Features erect to arching, shiny, narrow, bright green blades (1/4 to 3/4" wide) which gradually turn golden in fall and then tan in winter. Flowers with insignificant greenish coloring (anthers are yellowish) appear in drooping, few-flowered panicles (4-12" long) on stems rising above the foliage in summer. Flowers give way in mid to late summer to hard, brown seed heads. Each seed is tapered to a blunt beak, thus giving rise to the sometimes used common names of American beakgrain or beak grass.

Genus name comes from the Greek words dis meaning twice and arren meaning male in reference to each flower having two stamens.

Specific epithet means of the Americas, North or South.


No serious insect or disease problems.


A tough, spreading ornamental grass for shady areas. Mass in woodland areas, shade gardens, slopes, naturalized areas or native plant gardens.