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Purple Top Grass - Tridens flavus
Grazing livestock enjoy munching on it, birds build nests with part of the plant and eat the seeds too, and its purple hue is attractive in large fields. Purple Top Grass is also eco-friendly, easy to grow and care for, and this perennial, warm season grass is excellent for both upland restoration as well as ornamental use on properties.
Purple Top Grass is considered a native grass found along roadsides, meadows, near railroads and open fields. It has several interesting features to it, including its curious shape and height. It can reach up to four feet tall, and its flat, green leaves with tufted hairs grow up to a foot long. The pyramid-shaped seed heads of this plant are purple, and when it blooms, the showy flowers are also purple to almost black in hue. Flowering season takes place from late summer into early autumn.
Purple Top Grass prefers wet soil with partial sun, say nursery experts. The plant can withstand full sun, but it needs a moist base to thrive. The warm season grass grows best in zones 7 through 10. When planted in mass, the purple seed heads create aesthetic beauty for one's rustic garden, pathway or meadow display, offering a languid elegance as its form bends gracefully in the breeze. It's recommended to to plant the grass in spacing of 12 to 16 inches.
The popular bunch grass is also called by another name, greasegrass. Its seeds are covered with an oily substance that attracts butterflies. It can be planted alone but does well in mixes with other warm season grasses. The grass is native to the East Coast and Southern Plains of the United States. The grass is even tolerant of road salt which is commonly seen during harsh winters in New England.