The grasses provide infinite interest during the autumn months, including this one, which is growing on the Systematic Beds.
The Poaceae (grass family) is estimated to be the main component of 25% of the world’s vegetation cover, and it is also the single most valuable family for economic crops, comprising cereals, rice and maize. Members of the family are not only valued as a food source, but also for their horticultural value, as is demonstrated here on the Systematic Beds, and in mixed plantings throughout the Garden. One of the more familiar of the ornamental grasses is the South American pampas grass, Cortaderia selloana, which produces feathery panicles to 2.5 m in height. ‘Pumila’ is a smaller selection of this species, producing mounds of narrow, arching leaves, and erect stems of silvery-yellow plumes, which reach 1.8 m in height. These look their most impressive on a sunny autumn’s day, when the silky hairs of the spikelets are highlighted by the sun.