Fluff and curls

The other day when I finally got out into the garden and did my bamboo damage survey I had to photograph the fluffy Miscanthus grass seed heads too. To my eye these start out looking quite uninteresting in the late summer and fall when they emerge, but then really become attractive during the winter. They curl and fluff up, probably to facilitate their spread by the wind.


I'll be cursing these seeds in a couple of months when I'm cutting these grasses down, but for now I'm loving them.

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They're just so soft and inviting. They look good from afar, which is how I typically see them, but they're better up close.


When you get in close to these stalks of fluff, you can understand why these plants are so invasive in some parts of the country -- there are thousands of seeds on each plant.


I'm actually surprised that I only have a few seedlings pop up every year. It seems like I should have dozens!


The sparrows and other smaller seed-eating birds will often land on these stalks and nibble away (do birds really nibble?) which is always enjoyable to watch. I like seeing birds eating "wild" food instead of relying on what's in the bird feeder exclusively. Maybe the birds are eating more of the Miscanthus seeds than I realize, and that's why I don't see more seedling?



As I said earlier, it's the curls that I really love about these seed heads:




I've been thinking about these plants quite a bit this winter, as I have plans to remove one of the big ones this year, replacing it with a better cultivar. I'm not really looking forward to that task, but it will definitely be easier than removing a large bamboo. I'll be tackling it early in the season too, when I'm fresh and eager to do any sort of work in the garden that I can find.

For now though, I'll just enjoy the soft, fluffy curls these plants have provided.

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Gerhard Bock  – (January 17, 2011 at 11:50 AM)  

I've never seen such beautiful close-ups of miscanthus seeds! What cultivar is this?

Alan  – (January 17, 2011 at 1:15 PM)  

Moat of these shots are 'Gracillimus' (which I can never spell correctly without looking it up), although all of them I have seem to do this: Morning light, and the seedlings that came from Gracillumis.

Gerhard Bock  – (January 17, 2011 at 6:05 PM)  

The variegated cultivars we have (Silberpfeil, Dixieland, Rigoletto and Super Stripe) must be sterile because I've never seen any seedlings.

Life with Kaishon  – (January 19, 2011 at 9:55 PM)  

They are so beautiful. They photography magnificently. I am glad I could learn more about them today : ) Thank you!

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