Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Melica Uniflora

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Melica uniflora (27/07/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Melica uniflora (27/07/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Summer

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 60cm

Eventual Spread: 60cm

Hardiness: 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Poaceae

Melica uniflora is a deciduous herbaceous perennial grass with a clump forming lax habit. Its mid green leaves are lanceolate, up to 20cm long and 7mm wide. Its flowers appear as an open panicles which is up to 22cm long and 12cm broad. Its fruit are ellipsoid and up to 4mm long. Its roots are rhizomes.

Melica uniflora, commonly known as Wood Melick, is native to much of Europe (including the UK), south west Asia and North Africa. In its native habitat it grows in moist and dry forests and grasslands.

The etymological root of the binomial name Melica is believed to be derived from the Latin mellis menaing ‘honey’. Uniflora is derived from the Latin unum meaning single’ and flora ‘the goddess of flowers’.

Melica uniflora Flower (27/07/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Melica uniflora Flower (27/07/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

The landscape architect may find Melica uniflora useful as an effective ground cover. It may be planted as part of a herbaceous planting scheme. Once established this plant is drought tolerant.

Ecologically, Melica uniflora seeds are attractive to some species of birds.

Melica uniflora prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It dislikes wet soils in the winter months.

Melica uniflora requires little maintenance.

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