Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Chionochloa Rubra

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Chionochloa rubra (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Chionochloa rubra (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Late summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 1m

Eventual Spread: 1m

Hardiness: 8a – 10a

Family: Poaceae

Chionochloa rubra is an evergreen, tufted, clump forming grass. Its leaves are green/ red and brown/ green and strap shaped. Its flowers appear as lax panicles on stems that are up to 1.5m high.

Chionochloa rubra, commonly known as Red Tussock or Snow Tussock, is native to New Zealand.

The etymological root of the binomial name Chionochloa is derived from the Greek chiono meaning ‘snow and khloe meaning ‘young green shooots’.  Rubra is from the Latin meaning ‘red’.

The landscape architect may find Chionochloa rubra useful as a ground cover grass when planted en mass.

Chionochloa rubra Detail (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Chionochloa rubra Detail (18/11/2012, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Chionochloa rubra seeds are attractive to some birds.

Chionochloa rubra prefers moist, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It will not tolerate wet soils during the winter months.

Chionochloa rubra requires little maintenance. Large clumps may be divided in spring.

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By Jenny Stawell
posted on 25 January at 08:03
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